Frankenstein by Mary Shelley


Explain how the characters of the monster develop throughout the novel. How does Mary Shelley use features such as language and structure to create and destroy sympathy for the monster?


In this essay, I am going to examine Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. When the novel was written in 1817, the world was unbalanced. In England the industrial revolution was about to start. This meant that hundreds of workers were out of work. I think that Mary Shelley was trying to give the message that people should not be treated unfairly because of his different appearance.


When the book was written Mary Shelley was only 21. Her mother, Mary Wollstonecraft was also a writer, which was considered to be unusual at that time. Mary Wollstonecraft heavily influenced Mary Shelley as a writer. When Mary Shelley wrote the novel, she was staying in Lake Geneva. In the novel all the characters and their home is located in Geneva.


The monster as a character develops many skills after he is re-born. After the monster is born it can not stand up. This shows us a weakness. At this point Victor is portrayed as the master and the monster the slave. The monster changes throughout the novel. This is also shown in his ability to develop his speech. The monster took months to develop this skill. He did this by watching and listening to the De lacy family who live in a quiet cottage in the countryside. The monster observes them and copies them to develop this skill. During his time with the De lacys, he also develops his reading skills. He did this by finding three books, which belonged to Victor. The books included a diary of Victor’s experiment. Slowly he developed this skill of reading and found out about his creator


Our feelings towards the monster change dramatically during the novel. At first when the monster leaves Victors lab, the public hates him. He is severally abused by the society. He is then forced to hide in the forest. During this sequence of events we feel sympathy for the monster because of the way he is treated. However, our feeling quickly change when he meets the De lacy family. The reader feels like the monster has a home even though he does not have his own home as he lives in the barn. Later in the novel, our feelings do change when he kills Elizabeth and Victor’s little son.


The reader’s opinion changes from good to bad during the novel. The monster’s actions affect our opinions. A key element was the murder of Elizabeth and her son. This is true because we think the monster is an evil killing machine that has to be stopped. This opinion is reversed later in the novel when he asks for a partner. The reader feels sympathy and believes the monster is lonely.


The setting of the novel affects the characters and the scenes at which are set. In chapter 12, the monster is telling his feelings about life to Victor. At this point, the weather changes to become cloudy, stormy and rainy. This tells us that the scene is negative and that the monster will proclaim his feelings about being bought into this cruel world.


Later in the play, Victor had been chasing the monster in revenge for his losses. This scene is set in the cold arctic. This makes the reader feel sympathy and


that isolation is a problem for the monster. It also tells the reader that something bad is about to happen.



However, later in the novel we do feel happy for the monster when he is living with the De Lacy family. The De Lacy family are happy because the monster has helped them with all the chores around the farm. During this time, the weather is bright sunshine and the monster feels happy. This feeling is renewed when the monster completes his weekly deed of the chores that have to be done in the farm.


The plot of the novel is very well told and it contains twists and turns at every corner. The plot refines the storyline as when the monster is chasing Victor. When the monster is chasing Victor, he appears at different times to create cliffhangers.