Defense of the Creature: Frankenstien
Justice is a universal concept instilled in every human being at a young age. The fundamental laws of society are shown to us and we become aware of the consequences for breaking those laws. The idea of Justice is a human creation, but is it based on the laws of nature. In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, many of these fundamental laws of not just human society but of nature, are broken. Creation is the most basic of all laws found in nature. In the Christian faith, creation is a marvel that only one being has the right to control. However, Victor Frankenstein decides to play the role of creator and bring an unnatural life into the world, the Creature. This life would bring misery and despair to its creator. It would burn down a house, set up an innocent person for murder and kill three others. The obvious opinion of the Creature seems to be that he is wrong and should be condemned considering what he has done. We can judge this Creature; see him as either innocent or guilty, but this would be similar to judging a child or even a dog. I believe it can be proven that Frankenstein’s creature is not guilty. He was brought into this world with a child-like innocence, never progressed past the emotional state of a child and was rejected throughout his whole life causing him to take the lives of innocent people.
Although the Creature later went on to commit crimes, he was not instinctively bad. Victor’s Creature was brought into this world with a child-like innocence. He was abandoned at birth and left to learn about life on his own. After first seeing his creation, Victor, “Unable to endure the aspect of the being I had created, I rushed out of the room…” (Shelley 58). A creator has the duty to teach his creation about life, as well as to love and nurture him. However, Victor did not do either of these; he did not take responsibility for what he had brought into the world. One of the first things that the Creature speaks of is that he is a “poor, helpless, miserable wretch; I knew, and could distinguish, nothing; but feeling pain invade me on all sides, I sat down and wept,” (Shelley 106). The Creature knew nothing when he was born. He could not distinguish right from wrong. The only thing that he could feel was pain from being rejected by his own creator. Victor was the first to force the Creature’s child-like innocence away from him.
It is hard to refute the fact that the creature did not know right from wrong when he was first created. One can certainly not refute that the only role model the Creature had left him the moment he laid eyes on him. However, it is arguable that even though the Creature was abandoned by his creator and left in a child-like state, this did not directly lead him to commit murder. It did, on the other hand, significantly contribute to his eventual evil tendencies. Even after being educated by the DeLacey family his child-like innocence shines through. He was reading books while he stumbled upon a story of bloodshed and he “could not conceive how one man could go forth to murder his fellow… I turned away with disgust and loathing,” (Shelley 122). He was innocent in not being able to perceive why one would want to kill another and the thought of it sickened him.
Although the Creature was educated by the DeLacey family, he never learned anything about emotions; he never progressed passed the emotional state of a child. After being ‘virtually educated’ by the DeLacey family, he found that he cared deeply for them. When he finally got the courage to share his love with the family, he was immediately rejected. After speaking with the Creature, the grandfather exclaims, “Great God!”, “Who are you?” (Shelley 137). As the rest of the family enters the cottage, “Agatha fainted, and Safie…rushed out of the cottage…Felix darted forward…dashed me to the ground and struck me violently with a stick,” (Shelley 137). Although the family beat him and broke his heart, he did not fight back. He stated that he “could have torn him limb from limb…. But my heart sunk within me as with bitter sickness, and I refrained,” (Shelley, 137). The Creature never learned what it was like to be loved back. The rejection from his ‘virtual’ family tore him into pieces and encouraged him to become emotionally insane.
Even though he was rejected by his ‘family’, the creature learns about human nature and what it is to love. Through the books he reads the Creature learns some distinction of right and wrong. This would allow one to argue towards the Creature’s guilt; however, even though he may understand right and wrong, he does not feel it. The DeLacey family never loved him back and violently threw him out of their house. This retarded and crippled his emotions. At the end of his time with the DeLaceys he still does not understand human ¬emotions.
The Creature was rejected throughout his whole life. First, he was rejected at the moment of his creation by Victor, his own creator. After Victor escaped, he listened carefully, “fearing each sound as if it were to announce the approach of the demoniacal corpse to which I had so miserably given life,” (Shelley 59). To Victor, the Creature was just a mistake that he had to run away from. Victor judged him at the brief moment that he saw him, calling him demon-like and regretting that he ever created him. He did not see him as any sort of living being despite the fact that the Creature saw Victor as his father, or even possibly as his God. The Creature realizes what his creator has done to him as he says, “Accursed creator! Why did you form a monster so hideous that even you turned from me in disgust?” (Shelley 133). The Creature realizes how ugly he is and how he is so different from everyone else. A second rejection comes when he has an encounter with a man he meets along his journey. When the man saw him he “shrieked loudly and quitting the hut, ran across the fields with a speed of which his debilitated form hardly appeared capable,” (Shelley 108). People ran at the sight of the creature, leaving him alone and deserted. The next rejection comes from the family that he saw as his adopted family, the DeLacey’s, who also rejected him as described earlier. After the incident at the cottage, the creature later overhears Felix’s voice trembling as he speaks of the encounter with the creature. “My wife and sister will never recover from the horror,” (Shelley 140). The Creature hears this and he is heartbroken. All of these rejections have made him feel as if he is all alone in this world, as he was.
This consistent rejection from the beginning of the Creature’s life does not justify his actions. Just because one is not accepted by society does not give him/her permission to kill people. Taking a human life is unacceptable in Frankenstein’s society and there is no exception to that standard that allows a person to do so because people were horrified by their presence. It was not solely the constant rejection that drove him to violence, but the combination with his underdeveloped understanding of societal values and human emotions.
The Creature is innocent due to emotional instability caused throughout his lifetime. He was rejected by not just from society, but from his creator. Due to these constant rejections and lack of guidance, the creature never fully developed an understanding of human nature and committed crimes he wouldn’t have otherwise committed.
Article name: Defense of the Creature: Frankenstien essay, research paper, dissertation