The human spirit is one of the most beautiful forces in the world, but it is also one of the most vulnerable.In the novels Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and The Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde, this idea of the human spirit is portrayed clearly.Both novels have similar aspects about the human spirit, but they also have their differences.Both novels have main characters who are influenced greatly by someone that they admire, and they are destroyed by that influence.The difference that these novels have is that in Frankenstein, the main character is influenced and destroyed by something he creates himself, while in The Picture of Dorian Grey, the main character is influenced and destroyed by his friend and mentor.Again, both novels portray the human spirit’s motivation and vulnerability.
In the novel Frankenstein, Victor, the main character, is driven to insanity and death by his motivation, his own creation.He dedicates all of his time and knowledge to create a living human being from dead tissue.This “monster” becomes his motivation and influence throughout the rest of the novel.Victor blames himself and feels guilt for all of the crimes that the monster commits, and becomes sick and sorrowful.For example, the monster kills Victor’s youngest brother William, and he takes the blame and feels the guilt for it.Another example from the novel is when the monster starts to become familiar with the little beauties and simplicities of life, but begins to realize that society rejects him because of his revolting appearance.This is due to Victor’s ignorance of the monster’s feelings and knowledge, because Victor never told the monster what he was, a hideous and revolting creature.Victor blames himself for these innocent crimes committed by the monster that he created and silently goes crazy, then dies from becoming very ill.Before his death, Victor asked his friend Walton to kill the monster, because he didn’t have the strength.His motivation, the monster, drove him to the brink of insanity and eventually death.
In the novel The Picture of Dorian Grey, Dorian, the novel’s main character, is influenced greatly by his friend and mentor, Lord Henry, and kills himself because he listens to everything that Lord Henry says and believes it.For example, Dorian explains to Lord Henry that he went out to the country and became a changed man, a good man.He had killed Basil and admitted to Lord Henry that he did so.Lord Henry mocks him and doesn’t believe him.Lord Henry tells him that a human cannot change no matter what.Dorian refuses to believe him but can’t help the fact that Lord Henry might be correct about it.But still, Dorian believes that he is a good man.Later on, Dorian looks at the picture that caused him to kill Basil, a picture of himself.He realizes that Lord Henry was right about the fact that a human cannot change, but still believes that he can end his guilt of the murder by destroying the horrid portrait of himself, so he stabs his own heart and dies, leaving the beautiful painting behind.Lord Henry, his friend and mentor, caused Dorian to believe that he will always be a bad person, thus causing him to kill himself.
Both of the novels portray the motivation and vulnerability of the human spirit but they do it in different ways.In Frankenstein Victor, being a very motivated scientist, basically creates his own doom, being that the monster became his infatuation and influence over everything that happens beyond the moment when the monster first opened his eyes.This aspect of influence is different from The Picture of Dorian Grey because, in the novel, Dorian is destroyed by someone that he believes and trusts, his friend and mentor.Throughout the novel, Dorian converses with Lord Henry, and takes everything that Lord Henry said seriously, even though not everything that Lord Henry said was right. Basically, the difference that these two novels have over the idea that the human spirit is a very strong, but vulnerable force is that a person’s motivation to do something great and his infatuation with that great thing will influence the spirit greatly, sometimes totally, and that believing in someone and somebody so much, no matter what they say, you will listen to them and let them have total control over you and your actions, even though that influence probably doesn’t know that.