The Value of an Individuals Life in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein
- Date:Jul 28, 2019
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is a surprisingly interesting novel that enables each reader to reflect on the value of an individuals life and death. The protagonist of the novel is a monster that was created by Victor Frankenstein. Victor wanted to be a great scientist, and the idea of creating a living being from parts of dead bodies was of particular interest to him. However, Victor has ignored the scientific responsibility when he created a being capable of love and hate like humans. The monster’s soul is similar to a human soul and is capable of having such feelings as affection, loneliness, etc. However, his disgusting appearance scares people. People despise the monster and demonstrate complete indifference to his spiritual qualities. The author of the novel clearly shows that an individuals life has its value only if it belongs to those who are considered human beings. The monster is not considered a human being and therefore his life has no value for other people. In many respects, this situation causes the monster’s thinking about committing suicide, since as argued by various researchers suicide is associated with the level of social adaptation of the individual (Bearman 501).
Victor Frankenstein is a young Swiss scientist, endowed with remarkable talent and an insatiable thirst for enlightenment. He creates the being with extraordinary strength and endurance, but the monster’s appearance makes the scientist reject his creature. As a result, the demon, or the monster, as the author calls him, is faced with the complexity to become a member of human society. The monster begins to hate his creator and kills his brother, friend, and even his bride. The reader has the opportunity to see the psychological development of the monster, in whose soul love for people is replaced by a fierce hatred for them. From the very beginning of his creation, the monster was full of love for people and did everything possible so they could love him. Nevertheless, no one saw a human being into the monster. For all he was only a terrible monster. The author focuses on the fact that being a member of the human society means that one should have human appearance. In this regard, the monster could not become a member of society. Even his noble efforts to help people were not appreciated. Moreover, not only the life of the monster is of no interest to the people. The life of his lover also had no value to people just because both creatures are not considered to be human beings and accordingly the value of their lives is being ignored. There is every reason to believe that the author deliberately argues the idea that society will never accept such creatures because they will always be seen as monsters. Moreover, the society would never forgive the monster for his terrible crime.
At the end of the novel, the monster regrets his actions but no one shows understanding for his behavior and no one wants to find out the real reasons for his actions. The monster remains a monster. In this respect, the monster’s desire to commit suicide is not accidental. An analysis of the phenomenon of suicide shows that it is a social phenomenon. In particular, Durkheims theory of suicide “demonstrates the coercive influence of social organization on our morality and behavior both by describing what we are born into, and by describing what an individual will face if he or she tries to resist” (Bolden, Bowman, Kaufman, & Lindemann 1). The monster is living in conditions, which reject his essence. Victor has created a living being not thinking about the difficulties he would face in the human society. Not having the right to defend his own place in human society, after the death of his creator, the monster loses the only thread that linked him with the human society. The monster is aware of the tragedy of his life, while others are completely indifferent to his fate: “I shall ascend my funeral pile triumphantly and exult in the agony of the torturing flames” (Shelley).
Thus, the author indicates that the value of an individuals life may be recognized only if it belongs to a human being. The monster has killed many people and all the people consider him a monster. No one wants to understand the reasons for his terrible deeds, and no one will forgive him. The tragedy of the monster is that that he was endowed with the human soul but in spite of this human society rejects him.
Bearman, Peter S. “The Social Structure of Suicide.” Sociological Forum 6.3 (1991): 501-524. Print.
Bolden, Leslie-Ann, Michela Bowman, Sarah Kaufman, and Danielle Lindemann. “Emile Durkheim: Suicide as Social Fact.” New York University. n.d. Web. 17 June 2015.
Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. n.d. Web. 17 June 2015.