What are arguments for a compare/contrast essay on Macbeth and Frankenstein.  Re: one crime worse than the other, suffering is a good punishment for the evil committed Possible arguments (min2) to...

What are arguments for a compare/contrast essay on Macbeth and Frankenstein.


Re: one crime worse than the other, suffering is a good punishment for the evil committed

Possible arguments (min2) to for the following questions, rmb its a compare and contrast! :)
can provide quotes to help prove/explain. #1 use thematic factors to defend/challenge tht frankenstein's crime is worse than Macbeth. #2 do the authors of the 2 books agree that suffering is good enough punishment for the evil that human beings commit.


Expert Answers
lynnebh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I will leave your question in the "Literature" group because it refers to two different works.

You will probably get several opinions on this one, but here is mine. I say that Frankenstein's crime is worse than Macbeth's. Both Macbeth and the monster commit murders and cause murders to be committed, but Frankenstein's monster has the potential for committing continual murders. Plus, the reason I think Frankenstein's crime is worse is because Frankenstein tried to put himself in the place of God, and create life, and the results were much worse. Plus, he created a being that did not ask to be created. He is also cruel and unfeeling towards the monster, which makes matters worse for him.

See what happens when you mess with God? Not only did Victor Frankenstein try to play God, but afterwards, he put himself in another of God's roles besides that of creator - judge and accusor.

Both Macbeth and Frankenstein suffer on earth for the evil that they have done, but I believe both Shakespeare and Mary Shelley believed that this was only part of their penance. They must each face a heavenly judge who is really the only one that can punish them. Since God is the creator of life, only he can decide when that life is over. God created man in his image, so killing is sinful. Macbeth suffers the loss of his wife, his power, and his life. Victor suffers terribly, but the monster suffers more. Frankenstein, in a sense, created his creature in his own image, in a mockery of God, and that is why the creature turned out to be a monster. I believe that Shelley meant to show the evil nature of man, that is why Frankenstein's creation is a monster.

I read once that Mary Shelley believed that her husband's work, his poetry, was a monster that ultimately destroyed him. He drowned while still pretty young.

mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In concurrence with the remark that Frankenstein's creation of his monster is that of one who supercedes the role of a human being, in mockery of God, it can, however, be argued that Macbeth, too, supercedes the role of human as he aligns himself with the supernatural world of the witches and plays the role of one above the human level.  For, while he at first says,

If chance will have me King, why, chance may crown me,

Without my stir. (1.3.144-145)

he later admits that he acts as he does obeying only his "vaulting ambition" that incites him to act on the predictions of the three sisters and create his own "chance":

I have no spur

To prick the sides of my intent, but only

Vaulting ambition, which o'erleaps itself

And fall on th' other (1.7.25-28)

Still, Macbeth is responsible only for his crimes, whereas Frankenstein is responsible for his crime against Nature as well as the crimes of his creature.

As there seems little indication on the part of the authors as to whether Macbeth and Victor Frankenstein will suffer punishment after death, certainly they have both suffered on earth.  Macbeth, for instance, has lost his wife and has nothing other than power for its own sake as his motive for living. His "tomorrow and tomorrow" soliloquy that expresses the futility of life indicates his suffering.  On the part of Victor Frankenstein, his loss, too, of loved ones has, indeed, been great punishment.  Then, as an extension of himself, the creature prepares a "deadly torture" that will consume him as reparation for the sins of Victor and himself.


Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In my mind, both dramas help to reflect the fundamentally challenging condition of appropriating the world in accordance to one’s own subjectivity. Both protagonists seek to control and exert their own subjective state of being on the external consciousness with disastrous results. Macbeth covets and seeks political advancement. In his mind, he feels he has earned it and has proven worthy of such a distinction. It is this subjective belief, egged on by Lady Macbeth, that compels him to take action, to ensure that his “function will not be smothered by surmise.” His internal belief set is externalized. Victor Frankenstein is much the same. His compulsion to bring science to its logical consequence with the creation of reality reflects his subjective belief in the superiority of science. His internal belief set is also externalized. I would say that one primary point of comparison and convergence is within this idea that the subjective experience of each character is externalized into the world. The consequences prove to be disastrous as both fail to see the complete consequences of their actions.