Frankenstein Topic Tracking: Responsibility
Responsibility 1: Elizabeth felt responsible for William's murder because she loaned him the locket that was presumed to be the motive for the murder. Her feeling of responsibility was so great that it manifested itself in physical illness. Throughout the story Elizabeth, and even more so Frankenstein, have a sense of responsibility for things that they did not directly cause.
Responsibility 2: Frankenstein felt responsible for his younger brother's death when he realized that the monster he created murdered William. Frankenstein started to feel as if he himself had committed the murder because of his role in the monster's existence. Everything the monster did was Frankenstein's fault because he was the creator. Rather than blame the monster for his downfall, Frankenstein blamed himself because he created the monster's life.
Responsibility 3: Frankenstein felt as if he murdered Justine as well as William because she was executed for a crime the monster committed. Elizabeth was altered by the injustice of Justine's death, and Frankenstein felt responsible for that alteration as well. The chain of events that the monster set off with William's murder began not with the monster, but with Frankenstein's desire to create life.
Responsibility 4: The weight of remorse about his role in the deaths of William and Justine adversely affected Frankenstein's mental and physical health. His responsibility for their deaths and whatever other destruction the monster may have wreaked on humanity overwhelmed him.
Responsibility 5: When the monster came to Frankenstein to plead his case and tell his story, Frankenstein realized that he had some obligation to the monster because he created it, in the same way that he bore responsibility for the monster's actions. Frankenstein was no longer simply responsible to humanity for the monster's actions, but he was also responsible to the monster for his happiness. Being the creator of a life was more responsibility than Frankenstein planned for.
Responsibility 6: The monster called upon Frankenstein to fulfill his obligation of providing for his happiness by creating a female companion to keep him company. Out of his sense of obligation to his creation and out of fear for his family, Frankenstein agreed to make the female monster. His responsibility to his creation carried greater weight than the idea of his responsibility to humanity for the actions of the original monster and the new one he agreed to create. He hadn't yet realized the full weight of responsibility he would bear for the actions of both monsters.
Responsibility 7: Before Frankenstein could marry Elizabeth, he had to complete his obligation to the monster so that he could be completely rid of him and the responsibility for his actions. As a result, Frankenstein postponed the wedding and took a trip to England to work without the danger of being discovered by his family. His obligation to the monster was not only to ensure the monster's happiness, which Frankenstein felt obliged to do as the monster's creator, but also as a way to protect his family from the monster's vengeance.
Responsibility 8: Before he completed the female monster, Frankenstein realized the weight of responsibility he would bear if together the two monsters destroyed any other human life or reproduced, and the thought was just too much to bear. Rather than deal with the responsibility for two hideous, superhuman creatures, Frankenstein would rather deal with the wrath of one, so he destroyed his work on the female monster. So began the battle between Frankenstein and the monster.
Responsibility 9: Frankenstein was responsible for Henry's death at the hands of the monster, and this grief rendered him ill for a long time. Frankenstein is once again in the position he found himself with William and Justine's deaths. He didn't murder Henry, but his friendship with Frankenstein made Henry susceptible to the monster's wrath because he used Henry to get back at Frankenstein. Although the Irish magistrate acquitted him, Frankenstein knew that he was responsible for Henry's death because he had defied the monster's wishes and the monster repaid him by killing his friend.
Responsibility 10: Frankenstein, feeling responsible for Elizabeth's death as well as his father's, vowed vengeance. The only way to absolve his responsibility for the monster's actions was to kill him, so that's what Frankenstein set out to do. He was responsible for the monster's creation and its actions, and he planned to be responsible for the monster's destruction as well.
Social and Individual Responsibility in Frankenstein
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Social and Individual Responsibility in Frankenstein
Mary Shelly wrote Frankenstein in a time of wonder. A main wonder was whether you could put life back into the dead. Close to the topic of bringing life back into the dead was whether you could create your own being, like selective breeding but a bit more powerful.
Close to where Mary lived there was a man named Vultair was experimenting putting electricity through Frogs to see if they could come back to life. With that going on close to her as well as the fear of a revolution and the pressure on her to think of a ghost story it is not surprising she thought of a horror story that would still be popular in the 21st Century.
Now I have explained where the story came from and why it is as it is I will explain the social responsibility it brings up and how it is still important today.
Looking after something you create is one point it brings up. Frankenstein created his creature so he should have looked after it but instead just because he didn't like the way it looked he ran away. He never taught his creature anything so for all the creature knew it could have been okay to kill people and suchlike. That relates to today as some children who were not taught right from wrong by their parents watch films like Scream and I know what you did last summer where murdering seems cool as it involves Jennifer Love Hewit, Sarah Michelle Geller and Neve Cambell getting killed. The children watch these and think "I want to be like that scary guy with the mask" and they go and try to kill someone. If they do they get charged for the offence but many people think that the children's parents should be blamed as they never taught the child right from wrong and they didn't stop the child (sometimes as young as eight or nine) from watching the video which is rated eighteen or fifteen. When the filmmakers hear about how their film was responsible for a death they never (except for once) take the film away from the public and what they usually do is make a less violent sequel, which isn't really helping anyone and less violence still is some violence.
Teaching a child right from wrong is another point it brings up but I feel I have covered this point in the section above.
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Responsibility towards family is another point Frankenstein brings up. This point can be taken in two ways that Frankenstein was irresponsible to his creature or that the creature was irresponsible to Frankenstein. Frankenstein was irresponsible to his creature by running away and to his creature Frankenstein was his family and Frankenstein was responsible for teaching him right from wrong, how to ride a bike etc. Instead he ran away. The creature was irresponsible to Frankenstein as when Frankenstein left he should have done his best to fend for himself as a lot of animals do, they just lay their eggs and go away and when they hatch it is their responsibility to find food and shelter. The Creature should not of killed William and so caused the death of Justine. Also Frankenstein was not responsible to his real family, as when William was murdered he should have said something rather than letting the family maid be killed for his murder. This relates to today as when family members run away i.e. divorced parents and the father runs away, they still have a responsibility to visit regularly (every week) and send lots of money so the mother can feed and cloth her children. Many people don't visit regularly and they don't send money but instead stay away and pretend they never had any children. Some people trying to raise them selves on the social ladder but being kept back because they have common parents dump their parents and when asked say that their parents are dead or are rich and live in Madagascar. That is not being responsible as their parents would feel bad and also they might need their money.
An individual's responsibility for their deeds to society is another point made. Frankenstein knows it was his creature that killed William and he didn't say anything, which led to the death of Justine who was accused of the murder. If Frankenstein had said " it was not Justine who killed William but it was a creature I made which I don't know where it is" Frankenstein would probably have been killed but Justine would be saved and there would be a big operation to find Frankenstein's creature which would stop the creature from killing anybody else. That links to today as if somebody made a child break into a house and the child was caught by the police the child would be arrested and everyone would think that they were bad, but if the person who had asked the child to break into the house came along then the child would not get in any trouble. It is the same kind of thing for people who create a diversion whilst some body else breaks into a house.
Responsibility for other lower beings is one of the final points made in Frankenstein. You can argue about whether Frankenstein or his creature is the lower being as Frankenstein is cleverer but the creature is bigger and stronger, so I think that the creature is the lower being. Frankenstein sees his creature as a big ugly lower being and as you have to be responsible for lower beings Frankenstein runs away and leaves his creature with no knowledge and no skills. This links to today as many people leave their pets (lower beings) in boxes in the street or in alleyways whereas they should keep them at home and feed them, wash them, walk them and enter them for shows but they don't.
The Final point Frankenstein brings up is that you have to look after your child or creature however it may look. Frankenstein just runs away from his creature as it is big and ugly (he designed it!) where as he should have stayed with it and taught it things but he didn't that links to today as some parents throw their children away just because they are ugly and that is cruel to the child, it shouldn't matter what someone looks like or how they smell but whether they are healthy and how their personality and attitude is.