Within the novel Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley, the protagonist, Victor Frankenstein, embarks on an experiment of creating a human being. With success, he created the The Creature, yet is so astonished by his unbelievable success that he abandons his creation. In combination with the abandonment of The Creature and his already strange origins, a monster is created. Shelley brings the reader along on The Creature’s through the use of character development to show how a character’s strange origins shape them. Through the said character development, Shelley exemplifies the Nature Vs. Nurture conflict by proving that it is not the origin itself that shapes oneself, it is the acceptance and treatment of the origins by society that truly impact the holder.
In the beginning of the book, the side of nature holds present. Victor Frankenstein has the fascination of bringing mortality back, yet when he actually does it, and the creature is created, Frankenstein’s first instinct is to run in fear. During the time period of which this was written, a philosopher was present named Jean-Jacques Rousseau. He believed that all humans are innately good and that society is the thing that ruins them. Shelley proves that Frankenstein’s human creation was born good, but instantly in life is knocked down by his creator due to the strange origins of the creature’s life. In many instances, all he longs for is companionship and someone to love him. He watches the citizens of the town from afar because he knows how people will see him and how his physicality can instantly scare, but longs for being part of the community and being loved. He sees himself as all sunshine and light, but the reality of how people do and will treat him, starts to take over. Through the presentation of the monster in the early stages of his life, we can see he is good and by nature he is good, but how people treat him will change him. This aides the idea that not only is it society that impacts a person, but the impact of one’s creator, one’s family, is the greatest connection and impact. As we travel through the creature’s journey, we can see how his origins begin to take a bigger toll on his actions. Earlier in the story, he never entered society because he was scared that people would react to him the same way his creator did. If the person who brought him life could fear and abandon him, the people who aren’t connected to him could do so much worse. Although, he later runs into instances that involve interactions with the community, and those who will change him forever. The most impactful incident was when the creature rescued the drowning girl, which is a heroic act, yet the people thought he was trying to murder her. After this point, the creature’s mindset has completely changed and realizes how he looks and how his origins present him as. He also understands society and the disgust within it. He casts vengeance on society and now a real monster is created. Through this character development, Shelley proves the impact on the good to the creation of the evil. As a society, we receive the monsters we deserve. Those with strange origins, appearances, or behaviors are automatically cast out and treated as if they are nothing, leading them to become inhuman and evil. I wonder how the creature would have turned out if the people would have treated him as if he came from just where they did.