In Mary Shelley’s debut novel she uses the character Frankenstein, and his failure of social expectations in his creation of his creature to criticize society on many different levels. In my opinion this was Shelley’s main aim in the writing of such an original and cunning novel. Therefor the way Shelly portrays Frankenstein outside the social expectations in his creation of the creature is extremely important, in class we have looked at this issue closely and in this essay I will further explore just how Shelley does this.
Shelley represents the character Frankenstein as a very poor parent. Shelly tells us about how he leaves the creature, this is his first main failure of the social expectations. It is important to take care of anything you choose to take responsibility for or create. His departure of his quarters to the streets alone is not near to being level with the social expectations towards a parent or creator.
Comments such as “I issued into the streets, pacing them with quick steps, as if I sought to avoid the wretch whom I feared every turning of the street would present to my view” are not the comments of someone who is facing up to responsibility and caring for the living being he had just created. He quite clearly does not have any intentions of showing any affection or parenting for his creation, this is clear to anyone that Shelley is telling her readers that Frankenstein is falling outside its social expectations in the early stages of her novel.
Shelly goes on to describe how matters get worse when Frankenstein meets his old friend Cleval and forgets any existence of the creature for a moment, once again Walton dictates a very selfish and what will become a familiar comment “and in a moment forgot my horror and misfortune”. Shelly goes on to mention nothing of Frankenstein teaching, caring or even acknowledging it creature’s existence. This once again falls very short of the expectations society has for a satisfactory creator. Responsibly to his already exiting family is another major point how Shelley keeps Frankenstein falling outside social expectations.
One of the most tragic events in the novel is when William is murdered, this is a key pint in the novel as it is where Frankenstein falls way out of his depth, before this point Frankenstein could put things right but now he can only improve the already very tragic situation. From whichever way you look at it Frankenstein has a responsibility to be honest with his family. Yet Shelley chooses to make the character more to blame and in some ways more interesting by him holding the truth away from his family.
He has a personal and social responsibility to admit at least some fault in Williams’s death, consequently saving Justine’s life. At one point Frankenstein almost comes clean ” You are all mistaken. I know the murderer. Justine, poor, good Justine is innocent” at this point Shelly lead’s the reader into the thoughts that maybe her Character is going to fulfill his responsibility’s and act the way society expects him to act be honest. Alas he does not and justice proceeds on Justine.
Shelley persists in representing Frankenstein as feeling genuine heartfelt remorse, ” A thousand times rather would I have confessed myself guilty of the crime ascribed to Justine” but this is not as genuine as it may seem as Shelley dose not proceed to describe Frankenstein’s sorry with a confession. Instead he goes on with more lies and deceits. I think Shelley meant These chain of events to be the worse behavior of Victor Frankenstein, although more people go on to die and in arguably a worse fashion, on this occasion he lies to his friends, family, the court and just about fails on every social expectation that lies upon him.