Does our sympathy lie with Frankenstein or the monster? support with quotes
In an influential essay, the Romantic scholar and critic Harold Bllom wrote that the reader's sympathy lies with the Creature, but in his book The Romantic Conflict(1963) Allan Rodways says the reader's sympathy lies with Victor Frankenstein. What do you think?
The fact that this question has provided some intense discussion within the academic community only indicates how much of a challenge it is to address. In the final analysis, I would think that individual perception plays a large role in determining the answer to such a question. In my mind, I agree with Bloom that the creature evokes the most amount of sympathy. I think this because of the foundational premise that the creature did not ask to be born. He is the result of Victor's obsession with science and his desire to appropriate the world in accordance to his own subjectivity. The monster did not will his way into existence, and thus required more than Victor gave. When Victor is confronted with the hideousness of the monster, he runs and flees from him in horror at what he has done. While this could be an understandable reaction to an extent, it is a negation of responsibility, both moral and professional, to his creation. The monster, shunned and denied any notion of love, observes life and gains a consciousness that makes him aware of needing companionship. Victor receives credit in recognizing his folly, but still must account for the fact that the monster was denied any notion of nurturing and caring in place of self serving realities. I think that my sympathy lies with the monster for this.
I agree with Bloom: our sympathies lie with the Monster.
Ironically, the Monster is more human than Victor. We see the Monster born, educated, and rejected. He is presented in all pathos (emotional situations and language). He is Adam, the first of his kind. He is alone, in search of a father and mate, much like mankind is. His search for Victor is analogous to man's search for God, his creator. His anger toward Victor's rejecting him is an early form of existentialism. The Monster is born to suffer, and we pity him. Also, he suffers from an Oedipal complex in that he wants to kill his father.
We desperately want the Monster to find not only a mate, but a mother. His search is not unlike ours. We identify with the psychological trauma caused by fathers against Bastard sons, and we root for the Monster to find a warm bosom to nurture him.
Most disturbingly, we root for the Monster to enact his revenge on Victor. The Monster in this case represents our Id, our rash and base desire. We, like Victor, have been so cut off from nature that we want the Victor to be on the run from the city to the remote areas of the earth. We want the Monster (doppelganger) to find and kill Victor in the land of ice because it is a perfect archetypal end to a story that began with fire.
It is interesting to note that Frankenstein, the name, has over time come to be identified with the Monster, not the scientist. It's metonymy. The creature has replaced his master in our hearts and minds.
Victor Frankenstein created the creature with little thought about the creature's own needs. Victor was ambitious and sought gain in his profession. He attempted to play God. Once the creature is alive Victor is horrified by his creation. He wants it out of his life. The creature has been rejected by his creator. He is left to fend for himself.
Victor's statement: "But I possessed a coolness of judgement that fitted me for illustrious achievements."(194)
The reader thinks about how it would be to exist as the creature had to. The creature is lonely, rejected, and isolated from others. He craves human contact and even begs for it. He demands to have a mate. Victor has realized that a mate for the creature would also be a monstrosity, but far too late. The creature betters himself through books, but can never have the love that he needs. We sympathize with the creature.
Creatures words: " But where were my friends and relations? No father had watched my infant days, no mother had blessed me with smiles and caresses;"(109)