Society is inevitable. It will always be there as a pleasure and a burden. Society puts labels on everything as good or bad, rich or
poor, normal or aberrant. Although some of these stamps are accurate,
most of them are misconceptions. In the novel Frankenstein by Mary
Shelley this act of erring by society is extremely evident.
One example of this judgment is the way the family is looked upon.
They are seen by society as the lower-class. They work every day on
their garden to make food for meals because they do not have enough
money to be able to buy food. They are viewed as poor and unfortunate,
but are actually rich… in spirit. They are good people. They do not
complain with the status quo but enjoy what they have, which is an
admirable trait for people in any standing. The old blind man sings
songs to the others, plays a musical instrument, and adds a sense of
experience and content to the family. The children do their daily work
without griping as well. Just because they are looked down upon by
society that still does not stop them from enjoying what has been
provided for them.
Society itself which is supposed to be good is actually ignorant.
They wrongly treat the monster on the assumption that he actually is a
monster. They scorn, attack, and shun the monster just because of his
outward appearance. This is not justified by anything except his
demeanor. They are also afraid of it because they are afraid of things
about which they no nothing. Society also unjustly kills Justine
because she is the only person that could have possibly have done such
an evil act. They again wrongly label Justine as the killer. They do
not look into the facts but instead find a quick and easy answer to
the problem. This again shows the ignorance of society in this novel.
Two of the most inaccurate assumptions of society revolve around
the central characters of Dr. Frankenstein and the monster. Society’s
labels for these two extremely different characters are on the exact
opposite side of the scale from where they are supposed to be. Dr.
Frankenstein is more of a monster while the monster is the more decent
of the characters.
Dr. Frankenstein, the so labeled decent, no-fault man, is actually
irresponsible, stubborn, and extreme in his actions throughout the
novel’s plot. His irresponsibility shows through many times in his
feelings toward his creation. While he was in the process of shaping
his creation, Frankenstein is so caught up in his work and his
yearning to be remembered for all time that he does not ponder about
what will happen after life is breathed into this being. He is so
consumed by his work he does not sleep for days on end, go outside,
eat meals, or write to his family with such frequency as he had before
he commenced. After his creation comes to life, he refuses to accept
his obligation as the creator to his creation. He does not care for
it, shelter it, provide it with food or love, nor teaches the
creation. Eventually all the monster wants from the doctor is a
companion like himself. Frankenstein even refuses to accept the
responsibility of providing a source of companionship for the creation
since he does not allow for any connection between himself and the
monster. The doctor is intensely set in his ways. Even after the
monster kills his son and frames Justine, Frankenstein still will not
change his attitude toward the monster. He still does not want any
association between himself and the monster even after what has
happened. Frankenstein is so convinced that he monster will kill him
next, he does not stop and think about what else the monster could
have meant by, “I will be with you on your wedding night.” The thought
does not enter his head that the monster is foreshadowing the death of
his bride. Then after the monster has taken this action, Frankenstein
is wrathful towards his creation for not killing him. Frankenstein
again shows his persistence when he tries to kill the creation. The
monster leads his creator through all kinds of rough terrain, and then
into the snow covered arctic. Frankenstein does not care that the
monster is vastly superior in physique compared to himself, and that
he will never be able to seize the monster unless the creation allows
the doctor to catch him. His thick skull does not let any of this
affect his thirst for revenge. The doctor has opinions at different
points in this novel that are the exact opposite of his opinions
later in the story. At the beginning, Dr. Frankenstein lives for the
monster. He cares about only that. He forgets everybody and
everything that he had before his infatuation with creating began. He
puts so much time and effort into making this thing live that he gets
only the best of each part, and makes him anatomically correct to
every finger, toe, and nerve. This concentration in making the monster
live is direct contrast to his later wish to kill the beast. He
travels to all extents to hunt and destroy this monster, going through
forests, mountains, and glaciers, and depriving himself of people,
food, and sleep. There is no gray area in Dr. Frankenstein’s head.
There is only black and white. He either loves the monster totally or
wants to slay it. He has to fully devote himself or not do his task.
There is no just liking the monster, or doing a task half-heartedly.
The monster on the other hand has gotten the worse end of the
deal. The creation, or as society has labeled the monster, is
actually one of the only characters in the novel that actually has
rationale behind his thinking. Society has mislabeled this creature as
dumb, savage, and brutal, whereas he is actually intelligent, kind,
and humane. This creation knows absolutely nothing when he first
begins to exist and yet in a very short amount of time (compared to
human learning) can walk, talk, read, write, and think logically. He
learns to read, write, and talk from the family. Proof to his logical
thinking is throughout the novel but especially in his plan to make
Frankenstein feel his solitude and misery. Also in the creation’s
flashback, the reader sees the organized thought process of his mind.
The creation does not skip from one time to another randomly but
narrates his story in chronological fashion. Anyone who can remember
such a long story with as vivid details would be labeled a prodigy.
The creation’s supplying of wood and helping in the familial chores
indicates the kindness of this being. He feels obligated to help the
family in some way considering he is using their house as shelter. He
even stops taking their food because he sees that it causes them to
suffer. The creation is also humane despite the fact the he actually
kills in the book. He saves a girl from drowning in a river while in
the forest. This concern for human life in addition to his feelings of
love toward the family is evidence to his kindheartedness. He does not
even mean to kill the boy at first. If any character in this tale
should be labeled as a monster it is not this one.
Society has the most influence in a person’s point of view on a
given point. Mostly society causes misconceptions about people based
on appearance and the unknown. This is especially evident in the novel
Frankenstein, where labels placed on the main characters by society