Frankenstein as Shelley's critique of narcissism, egoism and misogyny of the romantic hero?Frankenstein as Shelley's critique of narcissism, egoism and misogyny of the romantic hero?

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missy575 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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The Romantic hero is a literary archetype referring to a character that rejects established norms and conventions, has been rejected by society, and has the self as the center of his or her own existence.

Narcissism is easily identified in Frankenstein as Victor's character does not really accept responsibility for the wrongs he commits on society at large. First, with the creation of the monster, Victor does not consider that once the monster has life, it may choose to use its life in a destructive fashion. He was just proud of his ability to be the first man to accomplish such a scientific feat. This mirrors the classical character of Narcissus, who was more concerned about his image. Secondly, as Justine goes through her trial, Victor has the power and ability to make an absurb claim that is actually true and confess what he created and that it killed William. But he watches Justine be put to death because he would not humble himself or humiliate himself enough to tell the society the truth. He remains as a caring and compassionate member of the family in their eyes as the story continues. This view of him is not fair, but it is Narcissistic.

Egotism is defined by Narcissism. 

Misogyny is the hatred of women. This occurs as females are portrayed as incapable. Although the character Elizabeth plays is enduring and ever-giving, she does not ultimately face success. Her efforts are in vain. We also see this as Justine takes the original fall for the monster's sin.

A Romantic hero, particularly a gothic Romantic hero will regularly struggle as a protagonist with these elements of society.

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