What is the importance of the monster in the novel?

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The monster is crucial in Frankenstein for several reasons:

  • He symbolizes the scientific achievements of Frankenstein. Victor Frankenstein has a brilliant mind and spends about two years in scientific quests to achieve this great vision he's generated. And he's successful—and then immediately regrets his work. Once he truly sees the monster come to life, he finds it hideous. Frankenstein desires to prove that he can pass the limits of scientific knowledge yet fails to consider the consequences of doing so. The monster is a walking, living reminder of his regret.

  • The monster is Frankenstein's primary source of conflict. Because he is abandoned, he longs for company and tries unsuccessfully to get Frankenstein to interact with him. Later he tries to get Frankenstein to create a second monster, a female companion for him. When Frankenstein agrees and then rips this creation to pieces right in front of the monster, a new vengeance settles upon the monster; he vows revenge and particularly on Frankenstein's wedding night. Consider all the people who die as a result of the monster's anger toward Frankenstein.

  • Although the book was written about 200 years ago, the monster represents many failings and conflicts of our modern society. In some ways, we can see the effects of failing to give children adequate nurturing in their early years. We can see the effects of failing to consider the full implications of advancing scientific knowledge. We can see the effects of totally ostracizing people for circumstances (such as physical deformities) beyond their control. The monster therefore makes us reconsider these conflicts because of the devastation of both the monster and his creator.
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