Frankenstein Nature vs. Nurture
Table of Contents
Frankenstein narrates the story of Victor Frankenstein, a smart scientist who successfully gave life to a complete being of his creation. However, the creature’s appearance turned so horrifying that Victor decided to confine and abandon him, hoping he would disappear forever (Allen, 2008). Contrary to Victor’s hopes, the creature breaks out of the confines to explore his surrounding, but the human characters around him assume that he is dangerous based on his horrifying appearance. Consequently, the monster is hurt by the rejection and isolation and turns to revenge on those who caused his suffering, especially his creator, Victor. Inwardly, the creature has a warm and open heart, but the human characters are unable to realize it because they cannot see past their prejudices. According to Frankenstein, the monster developed his cruel traits based on lack of proper nurture since he was abandoned soon after creation. Human intelligence, feelings, behavior, and personality are either learned from the environment and experience or acquired through biological inheritance (Allen, 2008). Therefore, since the monster was not nurtured, it developed into a dangerous creature because of the assault, attacks, and rejection he received from the villages and families, despite his attempts to convey benevolent intentions. In this light, the monster developed his kindness and warm-heartedness from his nature but involved in evil acts because he was exposed to cruelty and was not nurtured.
Isolation, Prejudice, and Lack of Nurture
Frankenstein demonstrates that murder, despair, and all tragedies occur because of the lack of connection to society or family. The main evil in Frankenstein is not Victor or the monster but isolation from society and lack of nurture (Shelley & Bolton, 2018). Notably, both Victor and the creature suffer because they are detached and isolated from the society. Victor lacks domestic affection when he gets lost in his studies and separates himself from society, making him lose sight of the consequences of his inventions, and he becomes irresponsible. Similarly, the monster is consumed by the desire for vengeance and dangerous traits not because he is evil but due to the isolation which fills him with hate and anger. This is demonstrated when the monster plots to kill people related to Victor to make Victor equally isolated. In addition, the monster suffers isolation and lack of nurture from Victor. In abandonment, the creature seeks nurture desperately, finding the De Laceys family to watch from afar. The monster believes that he needs sympathy and kindness and tries to converse with the De Laceys in hoping to receive nurture, but instead, he gets “dashed to the ground and struck violently with a stick,” demonstrating the cruelty of the human characters around him (Shelley, 2001). Consequently, the violence, rejection, and abandonment inspired the creature to develop a hostile attitude to hurt Victor and “declare everlasting war against human species.” (Shelley, 2001). Therefore, Victor did not nurture and teach the creature to function properly in human society, the creature gets rejected by everyone, leading to his transformation into a vengeful, ruthless monster. This demonstrates that nurture and experience shape personality, behavior, and thinking.
Nature and Innocence
The creature begins life with a kind, warm and open heart, trying to demonstrate his benevolent intentions to human characters. The monster revealed his nature in his assertion that “this trait of kindness moved me sensibly. I had been accustomed, during the night, to steal a part of their store for my consumption, but when I found in doing this I inflicted pain on the cottagers, I abstained and satisfied myself with berries, nuts and roots which I gathered from the neighboring wood.” (Shelley, 2001). This quote demonstrates the creature’s innocence and desire to do good to humans. Additionally, the quote demonstrates nature as a healer and a restorative agent as the monster turned to nature to find food and seek refuge when rejected by humans.
The novel demonstrates that nature and nurture are intertwined in shaping human personality, character, and behavior. The author suggests that inadequate nurturing causes bad behavioral traits and deficiencies, leading to violence and vengeance, as demonstrated by the monster. In addition, the novel portrays nature as a restorative agent for the characters. Nature heals Victor when he is disturbed and restores the monster’s true nature after being rejected by the society. Readers get to understand the monster’s kindness and benevolent actions through nature.
- Allen, G. (2008). Shelley’s Frankenstein. A&C Black.
- Shelley, M. (2001). Frankenstein . New York: Oxford.
- Shelley, M., & Bolton, G. (2018). frankenstein. In Medicine and Literature (pp. 35-52). CRC Press.