Implications of Human Nature on Shelley’s Frankenstein

Mary Shelley lived during a period of political transformation and at a time when she also witnessed some of the most powerful monarchies of Europe. Those monarchies fought each other and sent soldiers to war. While the war was happening on the streets of Paris, philosophers Thomas Hobbes and John Locke described the nature of humankind. All the atrocities of war inspired them to define our nature. According to their ideologies, humans are born selfish and have an intuitive ability and capacity of being evil. They also believed, alongside Mary Shelley’s mother, that the evil side of mankind was the result of socialization.

Does Mary Shelley agree to this? Not exactly.

Through her novel, Shelley offers a chance to develop and explore these controversial claims about human nature. Even though her mother, Mary Wollstonecraft, believed in those claims, Mary Shelley argues that the evils of humankind are not innate traits. In fact, as Victor Frankenstein’s creature was raised by society in the novel, the evil and the desire of revenge are explained and described by Shelley as being learned, and not innate and intuitive habits.

“I am malicious because I am miserable. Am I not shunned and hated by all mankind?” (Page 104) – The Creature.

Late in the novel, the creature explains to his creator that all the kind and good gestures of his were returned with beatings, gunshots, and rejection of the people he tried to be kind with. He also explains that nobody likes him, that they reject and hate him. The creature then states that all the physical and mental wounds that covers his body and mind are important factors that led to his malice and rage.

With that, Mary Shelley seems to argue that the humans do not have innate traits of revenge and evil. She also argues for a society in which all humans, and even Frankenstein’s creation, have basic rights and are treated equally. That is a society that she would have wanted in her time, a society that was not even close to reach that point and she used Frankenstein to explain it.

 

Source:

https://my.vanderbilt.edu/robot/2015/09/the-implications-of-shellys-frankenstein-on-human-nature-and-government-2/

Picture credit: ww.iaacblog.com

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Is De Lacey Nice To the Creature Just Because He’s Blind?

De Lacey originated from France, he lives in a cottage with his son and daughter. He’s a kind aged being. P.144 “descended from a good family in France” , he’s the only person we read who treats the monster kindly. But is this only because he’s blind?

His vision isn’t clouded by prejudice of the creature’s ugliness. He doesn’t see the outside of the creature only, his true self. Compared to every other character, he encounters with. Even animals are seen keeping their distance from him. As an example, when he saves the girl from drowning he is “rewarded” with a bullet shot at him.

p.175 “But that cannot be; the human senses are insurmountable barriers to our union.” This is saying that the Creature can never be accepted for the sole reason of his looks. Are people so shallow as to instantly reject and judge him straight away without even considering his story? The creature never asked to be created.

 

 

Part 2: A Trend Setter for Science-Fiction

“Frankenstein is considered as one of the most subversive attacks on modern science.”

During the 19th century, Shelley published one of the most important works science fiction ever created. To do so, she spent a considerable amount of time on researches for her novel. She based her book on scientific theories, travels and places from several authors. Thus, she had an impressive reading list that included important works at this period as the work of extreme accounts of polar exploration in George Anson’s 1748 Voyage Round the World; the distinction between alchemy and chemistry in Davy’s 1812 Elements of Chemical Philosophy; the new concepts of brain development explored in Lawrence’s physiological lectures; and she encountered the psychology of guilt and abandonment; in John Milton’s 1667 Paradise Lost. All these works were the predecessors that help Shelley to push this genre to a new level. Moreover, she based the places of her book on several actual loci. For example, she inspired the location for the central confrontation between Victor Frankenstein and The Creature with the Mont Blanc, which is an important scene in the novel.
Another important reason Frankenstein is considered as one of the first real work of Sci-Fi is that she was one of the first to be able to create a story that was futuristic at the time compared with the scientific resources that she had. However, she was still able to include several human characteristics that everyone could relate to them. Thus, she had an incredible sense of creativity and created a story that included future issues that can happen in the future even though she did not have actual knowledge about these probable situations. It is quite impressive because Shelley started to write Frankenstein when she was only a teenager, which demonstrates that she had an outstanding mind.
Finally, Shelley’s work has influence society throughout different decades, which makes her one of the most influential Sci-Fi authors of all time. Even nowadays we can see similar patterns of Frankenstein in several novels and movies that has astonishing sales on the chart. We can say that Shelley has set the rules and standards for not only her generation but also for future generations that still nowadays view her work as a pioneer in this genre.

Credits: http://www.bachelorandmaster.com/britishandamericanfiction/frankenstein-as-a-science-fiction.html#.WQuj1dLyuUk
http://knarf.english.upenn.edu/Articles/stable.htm
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v535/n7613/full/535490a.html

Part 1: Evolution of Science-Fiction

Science-Fiction has a lot of history. The first antecedents from this genre were found out by Historians from the 2nd century. In this era, they were using speculation and storytelling to understand the world and creating a dividing line between the mythological and historical tends. Thus, they were trying to make the difference between actual situations that happened and others that were only based on beliefs and had not enough possible facts to happen.
After a while, Science-Fiction continued to evolve after the 2nd century, but its bigger development occurred in the 19th century with the arrival of the first science fictions novels. This development occurred mostly because of the arrival of some significant technological advances such as electricity, telegraph and so on, in modern societies, which ultimately change science. An excellent example of the use of these new technologies was in Frankenstein. Moreover, the genre continued to evolve and became what we are used to seeing nowadays, which is mostly works that demonstrate potential innovation and new technologies.
Furthermore, the genre nowadays mostly consists of speculative fiction, which is a narrative based on supernatural and futuristic elements. It also deals with original concepts such as futuristic science, technology and extra-terrestrial existence that are most of them based on science and theory, instead of only creative thoughts.
Finally, the genre became so popular and so diversify that Sci-Fi needed to include sub-genre. Thus, it was divided into two significant sub-genres: Hard Science Fiction and Soft Fiction. Their primary differences are that hard science fiction usually includes attention to detail in the natural sciences like physics, astrophysics, and chemistry. On the other hand, soft science fiction is based on social sciences such as psychology and economics.

Here’s the link for PART 2:
Credits: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science_fiction

http://www.sfcenter.ku.edu/SF-Defined.htm

The first true work of Sci-Fi

The outstanding piece of work that Mary Shelley created with her novel Frankenstein is still a significant influence on several writings and movies that we can see in the industry. It is particularly the case in the genre of Sci-fi where we can see some great similitudes with Shelley’s work. However, even though the genre called Science-Fiction became immensely popularized throughout the last years and had become an important part of the novel and film industry, we often forget where its origin came from and who are the pioneer that influenced this genre. Thus, I would like to dedicate an article divided into two parts that will first start by explaining the characteristics and origins of Sci-Fi and in the second part talked about how Frankenstein was the first true work of this genre.

 Part 1: Evolution of Science-Fiction

Part 2: A Trend Setter for Science-Fiction

The creature IS Bigfoot!

There is a mythical creature that is said to live in the Americas called Bigfoot and also known as Sasquatch. This is the same creature as the one made by Victor Frankenstein because the creature told Victor his plan for when he would be done with him.

“I will go to the vast wilds of South America. My food is not that of man; I do not destroy the lamb and the kid to glut my appetite; acorns and berries afford me sufficient nourishment.” He said this on page 176 of the novel. At the end of the story, the creature says it will make a pyre and burn itself to death but we have no way of knowing if the creature really does this as he “was soon borne away by the waves and lost in darkness and distance.” Since the creature struggles to stay alive for the whole story, we have no reason to think it will actually kill itself but instead it most probably went south to the New World (the Americas). As for it surviving all these years, the answer is simple: the creature can’t die from old age because it is already dead.

Bigfoot is said to be around 8 feet tall, have a pronounced brow ridge, have black hair and a strong unpleasant smell. It is also said that Bigfoot is omnivorous and nocturnal. All of these things are true for Frankenstein’s creature as well. This is why Frankenstein’s creature is still alive and is no other than the mythical Bigfoot.

The Monster’s Creation: A Different Presentation

As we all know, the 1931 Frankenstein movie is an horror and Science Fiction classic. It is also being considered as one of the best movie of all time, genres for genres.

The creation of the monster and the “It’s alive! It’s alive!” line are pure classics that will still be instilled in pop culture for a long time. The line itself was ranked as the 49th greatest movie quote in american cinema history.


Here is a movie clip of the creation of the monster:

After looking at this scene, which presentation of the creation you prefer? Is the passage of the novel more powerful than this classic scene? Let us know in the comments!

Video credit: Movieclips.

SparkNotes’ Summary Video

Hello guys! Today I give you the best summary video on Mary Shelley’s novel that I have been able to find on the Internet.

The SparkNotes team has done an impressing work producing this summary video. The video covers the important parts of the novel while offering a quick synopsis, analysis, and discussions about the major themes and characters of the novel.

I hope you guys enjoy the video and may it help you understand the novel even more!

Credit: SparkNotes, channel: VideoSparkNotes