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The Theme of Prejudice in Frankenstein

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Words: 591 |

Page: 1|

3 min read

Published: Mar 6, 2024

Words: 591|Page: 1|3 min read

Published: Mar 6, 2024

Prejudice is a recurring theme in Mary Shelley's novel, Frankenstein. Through the interactions and perceptions of various characters, Shelley explores the detrimental effects of prejudice on both the individual and society as a whole. This essay will analyze the presence and impact of prejudice in the novel, examining the different forms it takes and the consequences it brings.

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One of the most prominent instances of prejudice in Frankenstein is the mistreatment and rejection faced by the Creature. Created by Victor Frankenstein, the Creature is immediately subjected to prejudice due to his monstrous appearance. Throughout the novel, the Creature is ostracized from society, solely based on his physical appearance, without any consideration for his humanity or potential for goodness. Victor Frankenstein, the creator himself, demonstrates profound prejudice towards his own creation. Instead of accepting responsibility for his actions and offering guidance and nurturing, he recoils in horror and abandons the Creature, as he is unable to see past the Creature's external features. This initial act of prejudice serves as a catalyst for the Creature's subsequent feelings of anger and desire for revenge. The theme of prejudice is further explored through the response of other characters to the Creature. The villagers he encounters react with fear, hatred, and violence, driven solely by their prejudice against his grotesque appearance. Their prejudice blinds them to the Creature's inherent longing for companionship and his capability for compassion, leading to a tragic cycle of violence and isolation.

In addition to the prejudice endured by the Creature, Shelley also addresses the prejudice faced by Victor Frankenstein, the novel's protagonist. Despite his intelligence and accomplishments, Victor is frequently judged and ridiculed by his peers due to his unconventional scientific pursuits. His obsessive fascination with reanimation is deemed socially unacceptable, and he becomes an outcast within his academic community. This prejudice against Victor represents a broader theme of societal distrust and fear of the unknown. Society's disapproval of Victor's scientific experiments is rooted in prejudice and a lack of understanding. By portraying Victor as a misunderstood and marginalized figure, Shelley highlights the damaging consequences of prejudice on individual identity and personal growth.

The theme of prejudice in Frankenstein is not merely an exploration of its presence but also an examination of its consequences. Through the experiences of the Creature and Victor, Shelley underscores the destructive nature of prejudice and its ability to perpetuate a cycle of violence, isolation, and despair. For the Creature, the constant rejection and dehumanization he faces ultimately push him towards vengeance. Denied any opportunity for positive human interaction, the Creature resorts to violence as a means of asserting his existence and seeking justice for the injustices he has suffered. This cycle of violence perpetuates further prejudice and perpetuates the mistreatment of the Creature. Similarly, Victor's experiences with prejudice lead to his own downfall. The societal rejection he faces as a result of his scientific pursuits isolates him emotionally, mentally, and morally. Victor's obsession with his creation and his subsequent refusal to take responsibility for it, driven by the fear of being further marginalized, drives him to ruin.

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Prejudice serves as a powerful and central theme in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Through the characters of the Creature and Victor Frankenstein, Shelley portrays the destructive consequences of prejudice on both individuals and society. The mistreatment, marginalization, and violence that arise from prejudice ultimately lead to the characters' downfall and perpetuate a cycle of despair and isolation. By highlighting the presence and impacts of prejudice, Shelley prompts readers to reflect on their own biases and the potential for a more inclusive and empathetic society.

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Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

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The Theme of Prejudice in Frankenstein. (2024, March 06). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 23, 2024, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-theme-of-prejudice-in-frankenstein/
“The Theme of Prejudice in Frankenstein.” GradesFixer, 06 Mar. 2024, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-theme-of-prejudice-in-frankenstein/
The Theme of Prejudice in Frankenstein. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-theme-of-prejudice-in-frankenstein/> [Accessed 23 Jun. 2024].
The Theme of Prejudice in Frankenstein [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Mar 06 [cited 2024 Jun 23]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-theme-of-prejudice-in-frankenstein/
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