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Is the monster in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein good or evil?Is the monster in Mary...

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deescott | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 12, 2008 at 4:44 AM via web

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Is the monster in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein good or evil?

Is the monster in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein good or evil? 

I have to write an essay with this as a title. I'm finding this novel hard to get into and only have a few days until deadline. Help!!!!

thanks

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allyson | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Assistant Educator

Posted February 12, 2008 at 7:16 AM (Answer #2)

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The creature is born like a fully grown newborn; despite its size, it knows nothing of the world. It can be argued that the creature's mind is like a "blank slate" and that it only learns to be good or bad from its experiences. Therefore it is not born good or bad, but learns the bad behavior we see in the novel from those around him. When Dr. Frankenstein abandoned the creature, it became angry and vengeful. Also, the encounters the creature has with people that he meets reinterate his self-hatred and need for vengeance because they react to his grotesque appearance with fear and detest.

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mejwestut | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted February 12, 2008 at 8:02 AM (Answer #3)

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Frankenstein is a wonderful story of man's attempt at playing creator. In the beginning of the novel Mary Shelley references several books Victor is reading. Look them up. You'll find they deal in "magical" and ominous thoughts, very relevant to your question. Is the monster good or evil...he is created without malice and has a tabula rasa (blank slate) view on life. The monster is lonely. He wants a companion just like anyone else. When denied,he retaliates. Is he good or evil? What would you do? Also look at Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Where is Victor and where is the monster on the pyramid? Analyze who is more advanced than whom.

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linda-allen | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted February 12, 2008 at 8:04 AM (Answer #4)

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Since your question is the basis of an essay that you have been assigned to write, you need to decide for yourself whether the monster is good or evil. I presume that you are supposed to write a persuasive essay. In that case, you need to choose a side and make your best argument for it, giving examples from the book to back yourself up.

For instance, if you decide that the monster is evil, your essay will be all about trying to prove that to your reader. Find examples in the story where he does something that can be considered evil. Perhaps just the fact that he's made of parts of dead people can be considered evil by some people. The same things goes if you decide that the monster is good; find examples from the book to illustrate your point.

What might be more interesting would be to argue that the monster is neither good nor evil but a victim of Dr. Frankenstein's desire to resurrect dead bodies.

Decide which side to argue from, find your examples, and good luck with your essay!

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 12, 2008 at 12:41 PM (Answer #5)

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You have to decide whether you think the creature is good or evil. There is plenty in the novel to support either side.  If it were me, I would lean toward good.  The creature smiled benevolently at Victor through his bed curtains.  He suffers from abandonment.  He learns the hard way that fire burns and that he is ugly.  He is tormented and targeted because of his displeasing appearance.  However, even while Felix is beating the creature to save his blind father, the creature does not strike back.  He never kills anyone out of spite UNTIL he discovers the nature of his creation and how Victor just left him.  His anger toward Victor is justified.  He does not mean to kill William...or you could suggest this...the creature is just so much stronger than feeble human bodies.  He is a creature who thinks, feels, suffers, desires, and reasons.  He is unfairly judged by his appearance (this happens all the time...obese people, too skinny people, tattooed people, etc.).  Focus on the beginning chapters and the chapters the creature tells us his story (11-13 or 14) for your info if you are proving he is a good creature who resorts to revenge after dealing too long with undeserved torment (think the kids at Colombine who killed all their classmates and a teacher for ridiculing them).  You can't agree with what he did, but you can understand his reasons.

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rooksar | Student , Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 24, 2008 at 2:53 AM (Answer #7)

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Hey ppl, i really need help as fast as possible cause i have to submit this work tomor.so i have to write ans essay on characterization on elizabeth,victor and the monster i have to write only one essay but include all of the points in one so cud u ppl pls give me sum characterization of victor,elizabeth or the monster gor eg:the monster was bad looking?????

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x-sxc-x | Student , Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 12, 2009 at 8:06 AM (Answer #8)

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i also hav to do this essay :( its rly hard!!

i think it was victors fault tho cuz he didnt teach the 'monster' how to be good, he didnt hav any morals. i also hav to take quotes from the book...but i dnno wat to do :(

good luck x

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marry-me-bury-me | Student , Grade 11 | eNoter

Posted May 30, 2010 at 5:25 PM (Answer #9)

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This is a pretty controversial question. First of all, the creature was, in fact, 'born' with the basic qualities of love and compassion that one would expect to find in the average human being. However, Victor couldn't see this due to the creature's hideous exterior. As well, it seemed that the rest of humanity would shun him too, without even giving him a chance to prove himself to them. Up to this point, the creature, safe to say, was certainly not evil. However, after being thrown into misery from being an outcast, the creature fell into a haze of hatred towards his creator, and he became possessed with a sense of vengeance. This is where he starts torturing Victor by killing off his loved ones one by one. I think that this is what makes the creature evil. Yes, Victor was wrong and irresponsible to neglect his creation, but he certainly did not deserve all of the agony that the monster made him endure. So, he could have been good, but because he was unable to deal with his emotions properly, chose to be evil instead.

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

Posted March 18, 2011 at 7:29 AM (Answer #10)

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This is a massive question and a favourite one for assessments of this novel. It is key to realise how in Gothic fiction the binary opposition of man/monster is played wth and manipulated to not give us any definite answers. It would be very easy to consign the creature to the category of monster, as Frankenstein seems to do, but to do this ignores the way that he shows himself to be capable of the same kind of independent creative thought and emotions as humans. Indeed, some argue that he shows himself to be more of a 'man' than mankind itself, that is characterised in the novel as a bloodthirsty pack of hounds hungering for the unjust execution of Justine and expelling the creature. He himself suggests that he commits evil crimes as a direct result of the way that he is treated by mankind, forcing us to ask hard questions about whether mankind is the real monster in this novel.

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metallica101 | Student , Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 25, 2012 at 8:37 AM (Answer #12)

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Is the monster in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein good or evil?

Is the monster in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein good or evil? 

I have to write an essay with this as a title. I'm finding this novel hard to get into and only have a few days until deadline. Help!!!!

thanks

if you have an essay, just read the book. trust me it is a really good book. i have to do a project that is due possibly next week. i am freaking out. all i need are 40 sticky notes of examples from that book. it really sucks. i haven't even started on the stupid project. so your not the only one that has something due soon. my theme is Good/Evil. i have to show good and evil examples.

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furnadno | Student , Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 9, 2012 at 3:29 PM (Answer #13)

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It really depends on whos story you believe the most. Frankenstein or the monster. If you believe in Frankenstein then the monster is evil and is full of lies and deciet. If you believe in the monster's story then you would think that it is Frankenstein's fault for not educating him.

 

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