Many say the ‘creature’ in Frankenstein is one we can sympathise with. How can I explore this view?Many say the ‘creature’ in Frankenstein is one with whom we can sympathise. How can I...

Many say the ‘creature’ in Frankenstein is one we can sympathise with. How can I explore this view?

Many say the ‘creature’ in Frankenstein is one with whom we can sympathise. How can I explore this view?

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mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Since the creature is immediately repelled by his maker, Victor Frankenstein, he is left on his own to learn human behavior.  By observing the DeLacey family, the creature finds a beautiful example of familial love.  He imitates this by doing kind acts such as finding firewood and cutting it. But, when his desire for love takes him inside the DeLacey cottage and he is repulsed by the son, the creature is again the victim of rejection.  Having been treated only with cruelty, this cruelty is a real behavior that the creature can imitate without fear of reprisal; so, he does.  Like the abused child, the creature becomes abusive himself.  It is a pitiable condition, but one with which the reader can, indeed, sympathize.

accessteacher's profile pic

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

Posted on

The question of whether we can regard the creature created by Frankenstein as a man or a monster is one that is particularly relevant to this Gothic novel. Certainly there is ample evidence to indicate that the creature is someone who we can feel sympathy for. Consider the way that he is rejected by his maker, who shuns him and treats him with fear and loathing. Likewise you need to think about the way that he craves human affection and companionship, only to be constantly disappointed and hated because of the appearance that Frankenstein has given him. You might find it helpful to consider comments that the creature makes in his narrative of what he is done after he was created that he gives to Frankenstein, especially with the family that he 'adopts':

What chiefly struck me was the gentle manners of these people and I longed to join them, but dared not. I remembered too well the treatment I had suffered the night before from the barbarous villagers, and resolved, whatever course of conduct I might hereafter think it right to pursue, that for the present I would remain quietly in my hovel...

Notice his desire for friendship, but also his recognition of the way that he has been made in such a way as to make achieving his desire impossible. As he later goes on to say, he commits hideous acts of murder and evil because of the way he is treated by mankind. We can see him as a creature that sincerely desired the love and affection of his maker, and having been spurned, he himself is free to spurn humanity. Note that while he does kill Elizabeth, this only parallels the 'murder' of his companion by Frankenstein.

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