A common debate about the book ‘Frankenstein’ by Mary Shelley is whether the monster was born evil or if he turned to violence because of his past experiences. The main character, Victor, decides that he wants to bring creatures back to life from the dead. He successfully does this but is frightened by the appearance of his creation. The creature begs him to build a female being like him, but Victor refuses. The creature claims that all he craves in life is for people or another being to be kind and sympathize with him. He never achieves this goal in his life. He starts very thoughtful and generous to those around him before he realizes that no one enjoys his company. The lack of these friendships causes him to turn to violence and destruction. Through characters such as Robert Walton, Victor, and his creature, Mary Shelley emphasizes throughout the book the importance of relationships. Strong human connections greatly contribute to creating a full and satisfying life, free from feelings of isolation and violence.
The longing for a human being to connect with on a personal level can impact the amount of happiness in someone’s life. Walton and the creature of Victor both wish to build a friendship with anyone. Before Robert Walton begins his journey to the North Pole, he writes letters to his sister Margaret. He confesses to her that he feels lonely and “deeply desire[s] the company of a man who would sympathize with [him]” (Shelley, pg.4). All that this man wants is a friend with whom he can share his successes and disappointments. The absence of this reality greatly lessens his joy in life. The closest companion that Walton has is his sister, but she is not physically with him on this journey. Her letters keep his spirits high and help rekindle the hope that he will be able to find a friend on this journey. The creature also struggles with finding someone to connect with. When the creature realizes his inability to make human friends, he begs Victor to “create a female for [him] with whom [he] can live in the interchange of those sympathies necessary for [his] being” (Shelley, pg.134). This being only wants to be loved by some people, but when he realizes that his outward appearance continues to frighten everyone in his path, he demands his creator to give him this connection. The whole world was created to be in a community with each other, not to live in separation. Walton and the creature understand this but cannot find a way to make it happen, so they are forced to live a less satisfying life.
The loss of loved ones can lead to depression, isolation, and sometimes violence. The creature suffers from loneliness, so he turns to violence and kills many of Victor’s closest companions, which causes Victor to fall into a state of deep depression. After the creature reveals himself to the cottagers that he has been watching for several months and gets forced to go away, he vows to declare “everlasting war against the species, and more than all, against him who had formed [him] and sent [him] forth to this insupportable misery” (Shelley, pg.126). As the creature realizes that he will never be loved and accepted by any human being because of his outward appearance, he decides to curse his creator. The creature starts as a friendly, moral being, but because of his lack of relationships, he turns evil and begins to tear other people down. This violence causes Victor to feel isolated. After his creator dies, the monster arrives at his body to mourn over him. He admits that he has “devoted [his] creator, the select specimen of all that is worthy of love and admiration among men, to misery” (Shelley, pg.212). Since the monster kills everyone whom Victor loves, Victor is forced to feel the same pain that his creation endured. Relationships are vital for feelings of acceptance, which has a big impact on avoiding depression. In order to stay moral and avoid jealousy, close friendships need to be formed.
Victor, the only main character in the book who has many friends, refuses to provide deep relationships with Walton and the creature who are friendless because he does not realize the importance of it. As soon as Walton discovers Victor, they begin talking which is a sign of a new relationship blooming. Walton has been dreaming of someone to just talk to, and now he has found him. After Victor dies, Walton realizes that he may “have gained him only to know his value and lose him. [He] would reconcile him to life, but [Victor] repulses the idea” (Shelley, pg.202). Victor clearly does not understand the power of relationships because he wanted to die after all his close friends were killed by his creation, but he never considered how that would impact those around him. As soon as Walton finds someone to connect with, he is taken away from him, leaving Walton in the same position as before lonely. Victor could have fought for his life harder if he realized how much he could have impacted Walton’s happiness, but he was focused solely on himself. Victor also keeps the creature from having friends. He voices that he “never will create another like [the creature], equal in deformity and wickedness”, even if that means that he breaks his promise (Shelley, pg.157). Victor fails to understand the power of relationships because if he would have just created another being, he could have freed himself from all the suffering that he would endure as a result of the monster’s loneliness. Victor also could have become friends with his creation, which also could have avoided all the violence between them, but he was too scared of what others would think about his science project. By providing relationships for the other people around him, Victor could have greatly increased not only their happiness but also his own.
Close relationships have a powerful influence on whether or not someone has a happy and satisfying life. While the creature started as a kindhearted being, the absence of the sense of feeling loved by others greatly impacted his life and made him heartless and murderous to those around him. Connections are a necessity to live a joyful life. Victor prevents his creation from having a normal life by refusing to care for him and designing another being like him. This results in unhappy lives for both characters. Clearly, the creature turned violent on account of his past experiences with the inability to form relationships.