The Creation of a Natural Monster Leigh Gunter EN 103 C 19 November 2018
Gunter 1 Mary Shelley’s gothic novel Frankenstein is set in eighteenth-century Europe. The main character, a scientist named Victor Frankenstein, has the ambition to break the boundaries between life and death. When Victor reaches his goal, he is immediately filled with regret because the end result does not match what he has hoped. Victor sets out to destroy and run from his monstrous creation for the rest of his life. Frankenstein is of pastoral nature because of its use of pastoral motifs. Three motifs are the human attempt to control nature ending in disaster, nature versus nurture, and the use of nature as a refuge. Through these motifs, Shelley is able to develop the characters of Victor and his monster in complexity as well as the theme of perfection being unattainable to humans. The attempt to control nature and play God is a prominent motif in modern pastoral writings. This often ends with disastrous effects. Victor tries to play God by creating a living creature with dead body parts. The results do not go as Victor envisioned. The audience is shown Victor’s dismay when Victor states that he, “had desired it with an ardour that far exceeded moderation; but now that [he] had finished, the beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled [his] heart” (Shelley 51). Victor’s disgust causes him to spurn his creation. His reason to pursue this experiment was to create a new species that would bless him as its creator, and the species would owe their entire being to him. However, as Maurice Hindle points out, Victor forgets “what he owes to the first of his new species,” which “brings reprisal on his own family and friends, extinguishing the lives of all but one of the ‘fated house’ of Frankenstein” (Hindle 136). Victor is so caught up in what the new species will owe him that he does not even process that he owes his first creation anything at all. When the monster makes a singular request, Victor denies the monster of his desire for a female of his own species. Hindle points out the difference this shows between Victor and God in Paradise Lost by John Milton in
Gunter 2 stating, “Milton’s God creates a female partner for Adam,” (138) yet Victor does not give his creation a female. This is the crux of the monster’s argument as to why Frankenstein should make a female for him. However, because Frankenstein refuses to give the monster his request, the monster murders Henry Clerval. Much before the monster murders Clerval, he curses Frankenstein bitterly, saying, “Accursed creator! Why did you form a monster so hideous that even you turned from me in disgust? God, in pity, made man beautiful and alluring, after his own image; but my form is a filthy type of yours, more horrid even from the very resemblance” (Shelley 116). He later declares war against the whole human race, and specifically against Frankenstein because, “none among the myriads of men that existed…would pity or assist [him]…” (Shelley 121). The
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