Frankenstein: The perceived self

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I was thinking a lot lately about what we consider “good” or “bad” in this society, what are the standards, the privileges and the possibilities a person can attain in his/her life. It again raises the question of who are we to decide what a person is capable of doing, who are we to determine whether the behavior of a person is acceptable or not and who are we to indicate all those things in our life and create all those categories?

I have a lot of principles tagging along my entire life; there are things that cannot be understood, there are things that cannot be told. However, I sometimes see myself contradicting my own beliefs and self-reflections. As I was reading “Frankenstein” again, I saw things that I wasn’t able to see years ago, I acknowledged that I have changed over time and I’m scared of the fact that I was changed in a way that I didn’t even see myself practicing it.

Mary Shelly’s “Frankenstein” has touched upon many different factors in our way of viewing the world and challenged the opposites that existed in every sense of a human being. I feel empathy for the creature, the monster, the murderer, even though I cannot deny how terrible the crimes were for everybody else. People would think that it is understandable to feel that way for the creature since he was built to draw that inner sympathy out of readers, that kind of “guilty pleasure” in perceiving an anti-hero. But, what I’m referring to is the fact that I totally shut down it comes to Victor Frankenstein. Victor had everything growing up: family, education and friendship, but he was never satisfied with what he had, never understood how meaningful it was to be raised in such loving environment. Victor was selfish, childish and irresponsible the whole time and he didn’t grow at all even in the end, no matter what happened, no matter how many people sacrificed because he couldn’t take the duty towards a thing that was made by him. It bugs me so much to see the isolation the creature had to face his entire life. How does it feel to be abandoned by your creator, your “God”, your “father”? How does it feel to be different and to not be accepted by a society? How does it feel to be alone? All those questions were floating around as I was reading the book, thinking of how important it was to be loved and to be taken care of. I always say that the past doesn’t tell you everything about a person, but also, I don’t take “the past” as an excuse for anything that a person has done wrong. But once again, “Frankenstein” has challenged this principle of mine, has questioned my attitudes along side with so many other things and has made me think of how the society perceives a person and how skeptical we are when we judge other people.

Victor Frankenstein was playing the “God” role in the creature’s life, but instead of loving it and taking care of it, all Victor did was trying to kill it just because it didn’t meet the expectation of what he thought it should have been. The creature didn’t ask to be born, didn’t want to be brought into this world and receive all the unreasonable disgusts from its own creator. The creature was being hated ever since: he didn’t have a name nor a place to stay nor a person to tell him what to do with his life. He had to figure out everything on his own, and even though he tried his best to fit in, he was always an outsider. But why? Because he was ugly, he was abnormal, because nobody gave him a chance to prove himself that he was just like any other person, wanting to love and be loved. The fact that he never actually had a family, and all he ever wanted was to find somebody that would accept him for him was something I found so disturbing while reading this; especially when comparing to Victor Frankenstein and all the love he received from his family. I was frustrated thinking about what if Victor was a better father, what if he actually knew that he was getting into, what if he understood his duty and responsibility; but then again, Victor never learnt anything, even after all that time. He was still that same ignorant young man from the beginning until the end, didn’t bother listening and figuring things out, didn’t give the creature and himself a chance to prevent all the misfortunes that could have been prevented. I blame the creature for the crimes, but I blame Victor even more for his incapability of taking responsibility: he was always running away from reality, using science as an excuse for everything and blaming the creature for everything that happened. But then, would all these things bring back his loved ones? Would all these things make the creature a better “creature”? Would all these things help him to find his own happiness? The moment he decided to run away from his duty toward the creature, that when everything started and he couldn’t fix it anymore (not mentioned the fact that he didn’t even bother fixing it). He already knew what would happen if he continued ignoring the creature, but he still did. He already acknowledged the consequences of playing with the devil, but he still didn’t care. He already witnessed the deaths of so many innocent people just because of his ignorance, but he still didn’t learn and grow.

That just leads me to a question of how ignorance can destroy a constructed society: If you decide just to live for yourself and yourself only, then what is the point of having a thing called “society”? What does it mean to have a family? Why does it matter to listen to other people and put yourself in their shoes? If everything you do is just for yourself, then in the end, will it be you hurting other people?

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