Frankenstein: Self Education of the Monster
Q. “Self education plays a vital function in forming the subjectivity of Victor Frankenstein’s monster”. Do you agree? Talk about. Rousseau believed that human beings were intrinsically excellent when in their natural state (before civilization). According to him, humans were damaged by society. Frankenstein’s creature is a case in point. So, calling him a monster in itself is a problematic view. Joyce Carol Oates concentrates on the benevolent nature of the creature in his essay entitled, ‘Frankenstein’s Fallen Angel’.
According to him, the devil is human consciousness-in-the-making, naturally humane as Milton’s Satan is not, and gotten with scary and contempt solely because of his physical appearance. To corroborate his point, he gives an example of the good nature showed by the creature even after he has been declined by his Creator himself. Joyce says, “When Frankenstein is tracking the devil into the arctic areas, for instance, it is clearly the devil who is assisting him in his search, and even leaving food for him; however Frankenstein is so blind– in reality so comically blind– he believes that “spirits” are responsible,” who direct “my steps”.
Here, I wish to link the dots. The very idea of the “noble savage” is linked to the romantic understanding of looking at things from the point of view of the marginalised, rebellious and disobedient. Mary Shelley provides a voice to the limited animal to explain his misery, discomfort and injury of exclusion, isolation and alienation through his tale. In doing so, education of the beast plays a crucial role which imparts in him a sense of reason to question the society and his creator.
This paper will take a look at the process of education of the beast after he can be found in contact with the De Lacey household: concentrating on learning through observation. Afterwards, I will question the sense of identity that the critics feel is imparted to the beast through his reading of particular texts. Finally, the impact of the experiences he has had when he can be found in touch with the civil society will form the core of this essay. Loneliness of the animal tortures him and he wants to become a part of the De Lacey family which he admires for its consistency and wants to belong of their happiness at first.
Therefore, it became important for him to find out to communicate with them. For this function, he takes the first step to integrate within the society as an entire by observing the De Lacey household. He discovers emotions and language from them. Peter Brooks says, “His [the animal’s] discovery of language indicates Rousseau’s argument, in the Essai sur I’origine des langues, that language springs from enthusiasm rather than need … Passion … brings guys together.” He observes how to reveal one’s feelings through their expressions. “The boy and his companion typically went apart, and appeared to weep. I saw no cause … ut I was deeply impacted by it.” He does not comprehend their grief and thus, strives to connect to their feelings. His observation skills help him discover a lot of their excellent qualities like helping others by means of the “undetectable hand” (he puts fuel for them and clears the snow from the roadway without letting them understand about his presence). Apart from emotion, he discovers French and calls it “godlike science”. The “science of letters” helps him later on in the book in 2 methods. He is able to check out which assists in shaping his identity. It likewise assists him in reading Frankenstein’s diary that includes the details of the act of development.
Therefore, language ends up being a crucial tool in informing the monster in the sense that it makes him knowledgeable about the process of his entering being by checking out that journal and associating with the texts that he checks out (Paradise Lost: major influence); if he wouldn’t have equipped himself to the language, he would have stayed unidentified about the knowledge of the self. Understanding provides discontent in addition to a relief to the creature. Volney’s Ruins of Empires created a sense of identity crisis in him. He begins questioning himself, “And what was I? … When I looked around, I saw and heard of none like me. Martin Tropp in his essay entitled ‘The Monster’ says, “The recitation of guy’s history [from Ruins of Empires] and culture teaches the beast the degree of its seclusion; from here emerges its requirement for a counterpart like it.” In addition, it teaches him the art of deceiving when he plans to put the blame of William’s death on Justine by placing the portrait of Frankenstein’s mother in the pocket of her dress, “… thanks to the lessons of Felix and the sanguinary laws of male, I have actually found out how to work mischief.” He checks out 3 books apart from Ruins of Empires-Goethe’s Sorrows of Werter, Plutarch’s Lives and Milton’s Paradise Lost.
In the hero of Werter, it sees “a more magnificent being that I ever beheld or envisioned,” but the book leads him once again to feel a sense of alienation; “I discovered myself comparable, yet at the exact same time strangely unlike to the beings worrying whom I read … Who was I? What was I?” In Plutarch it finds “high ideas” however no answer to its concern. However, Paradise Lost, which it reads as a “real history” consists of the solution, “Like Adam, I was obviously joined by no link to any other remaining in existence; but … He had actually emerged from the hands of God an ideal animal, pleased and thriving, secured by the especial care of his Creator … ut I was wretched, defenseless and alone. Many times I considered Satan as the fitter emblem of my condition …” Martin Tropp states, “Milton, for that reason, provides the beast with an identity.” In my viewpoint, it is worth noting that the creature though strong does not use his force rather he persuades Frankenstein to listen to his tale by using reason and this factor comes from reading, “Listen to my tale: when you have heard that, desert or commiserate me, as you will judge that I deserve … The guilty are permitted, by human laws, bloody as they might be, to speak in their own defence prior to they are condemned. In that sense, he really appears to be the Satan as portrayed in Paradise Lost who also uses reason to convince Eve to consume the forbidden fruit. But the situation gets problematical when the animal alienates itself from the figure of Satan too. He feels, “Satan had his companions … however I am solitary …” Because situation, it’s for us, the readers to determine if the creature gets a sense of identity at all. While having a hard time to find an identity for himself, the animal’s empathy takes the type of revenge. This shift as P. B. Shelley mentions is due to the fact that of the experiences he has had.
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Individuals literally “stone” him, “attack” him and once he is shot while attempting to save a lady. The household he cares for the most also doesn’t understand his emotions rather he is rejected by them as well since of his appearance. He is harmed, “This was the benefit of my altruism! “, “Should I feel compassion towards my opponents?” P. B Shelley reflects the romanticists’ point of view when he states that the criminal offenses committed by the animal are not “the offspring of any unaccountable tendency to evil, but flow irresistibly from certain causes fully appropriate to their production. They are the children as it were of Necessity and Humanity …
In this the direct moral of the book consists … Deal with a person wicked and he will become wicked.” These lines also reflect Rousseau’s theory about the “worthy savage”. According to him, the 2 essential traits that can be credited to the human animal in a precivilized state are self preservation and empathy. The creature wants empathy from other human beings. He helps them and attempts to live in harmony with them. In spite of that the society is evil to him and beats him up. Considering that, the beast is continually exposed to the unfavorable side of human relations, he tends to assault males else they may strike him.
In addition, there is an urge for revenge which comes from his traumatic experience when in human contact. This implies that it’s not his “ugly” kind that makes him a beast, however his “wretched” experiences that make him look like one. In truth, one can state that the society transfers its monstrosity to the creature and paradoxically, the monstrous society calls him the “monster”. To summarize, Frankenstein is a journey of a marginalised animal which turns out to be a monster and self education plays an essential role in making him what he is.
It is important to keep in mind that Mary Shelley was not imparted formal education rather she educated herself in her father’s research study. The education of the monster/marginalised can be viewed as the education of the women/marginalised. The society does not allow either of them any ways to education for the fear of being questioned. Mary Shelley, therefore, enables the beast to inform himself and offers him a voice to raise the concerns and challenge the authority of the society. Because sense, the beast can be viewed as a metaphor for the women of the time-being marginalised and not comprehended.