Frankenstein Nature vs. Nurture
Society tends to view those who are good looking in a positive way; those who are less pleasant to the eye are immediately judged in a negative way. This is the mistake Victor Frankenstein and those around him make upon witnessing the creature created by Frankenstein. The question here is, why does the monster react the way he does to humans? He was not raised to learn how to act in a proper society and he is constantly rejected by people that actually mean something to him. In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Shelley uses the monster’s constant rejection from society to show that a person’s traits are affected more by environment than by nature. Early on in the monster’s story we begin to understand that he is not “evil” in the sense that Victor describes him in the first volume of the story. Though he has committed unforgivable crimes, following his story, we learn that his most innate desire is the same as any human’s – to be loved and accepted by others. It is only when he is rejected by those he cares for most (the De Lacey family) that he begins to identify with the darker side of human nature. His nature is shaped by the perceptions of the humans around him, more than any “good” or “evil” force that is within him. He discovers Victor’s letters and learns how much his creator detested him; the De Lacey children and Safie are horrified at the sight of him. However, even after the hurt of these rejections, he continues to display a desire to be helpful to humans, saving the young girl from drowning (suggesting that there is good in him) only to then be shot by her protector. Even though he has grown increasingly conscious of humans’ negative feelings towards him and has been hurt and reproached repeatedly, he has not, up until this point, enacted violence towards the humans. Is a child the product of his/her natural genetic material or the nurture he/she receives from his/her parents’ upbringing? Victor Frankenstein as the...
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