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In Frankenstein, does the monster’s eloquence make it easier for the reader to...

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zllucy | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 9, 2011 at 11:16 PM via web

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In Frankenstein, does the monster’s eloquence make it easier for the reader to sympathize with him?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted April 10, 2011 at 8:04 PM (Answer #1)

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One of the crucial aspects of this excellent novel, which relates to its status as a Gothic classic, is the way in which Shelley is very careful to create the creature as both a man and a monster, which is a particularly Gothic dichotomy in Gothic fiction. In his appearance, he is obviously a monster. His acts, too, point towards a monstrous character. Yet, and crucially, we are never allowed to merely dismiss it as a monster outright. Throughout the novel, it shows a capacity for thought and eloquence that allow it to reflect upon its position and allow us to feel sympathy for him, particularly in the way that he was made to have human feelings and intellect, but at the same time his physical appearance makes any meaningful relationship with human's impossible. For me, one of the creature's most eloquent moments comes at the end of the novel when he speaks of his own end:

Soon these burning miseries will be extinct. I shall ascend my funeral pile triumphantly and exult in the agony of the torturing flames. The light of that conflagration will face away. My ashes will be swept into the sea by the winds. My spirit will sleep in peace or if it thinks it will not surely think thus. Farewell.

Surely this speech points towards a dignity of mind and a level of thought worthy of the most noble of humans. Throughout the novel, therefore, Shelley is careful to create a balance between viewing Frankenstein's creation as both a monster and a man.

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