What tone does Shelley take toward the characters in Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus?

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Shelley's tone throughout Frankenstein is rather neutral, but many scenes involving the creature are full of pathos and emotion, while many scenes focusing on Victor emphasize his ambition and his dangerous single-mindedness. Her neutrality allows readers to decide for themselves who the real villain is, and still, to this day, that is a debatable point.

Shelley presents the turmoil of the creature, for example, with clear detail; for example, when the creature reaches for Victor after he, the creature, has been animated, much like a baby might reach for its parent, she describes Victor's horror precisely as well as the actions of the creature and the outcome of the encounter. Shelley does not mention whether or not the creature deserved such rejection; she only describes the rejection. This example of a neutral tone allows the reader to feel either sorrow and pity for the creature, who is frightened and alone, or fear on behalf of Victor, who has created something he does not understand. It is entirely up to the reader how to respond to this scenario.

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In Frankenstien, Mary Shelley's take on the two characters of Victor and the monster he creates are very different, and they demonstrate the way she feels about men who try to play god with the world. She is seems to be expressing dislike for Victor, a man with a brilliant mind who cannot take responsibility for the thing he unleashes on the world. Her tone with the monster, on the other hand, is somewhat sympathetic. The monster is behaving exactly as he was created to behave; he is ignorant of the consequences of his actions, whereas Victor knows exactly what he is doing. Victor knows better; he should behave better. The monster did not ask to be created; in fact, he is lonely and miserable and only wants contact with others. He does not even perceive his ugliness until mirrored in the eyes of those he approaches. Victor's ugliness is on the inside, and one could argue that Shelley makes it clear to the reader that she has no respect for him, and neither should we.

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What author tone or attitude does Shelley take towards the characters and the readers themselves in Frankenstein; or, the Modern Promtheus?

I think that one of the strongest positions Shelley takes right to the reader is in their assessment of Victor and the Monster.  I don't feel that Shelley makes an absolute distinction as to who possesses a greater morally inferior configuration.  She leaves it up to the reader to assess which character possesses greater moral responsibility for what happens.  I think this is rather powerful in that a case can be made for each one being possessing greater moral responsibility for what transpires.  The reader must make their own judgment and assessment.  Shelley does not make this call for them.  Even here on enotes, you can see a fairly strong division as to people making the call on who is more guilty of transgression, Victor or the Monster.  The fact that such a question still inspires a debate is testament to the idea that Shelley treats the reader with a sense of intelligence and insight to be able to make this decision on their own without the author's absolutism guiding them.

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