Power in Frankenstein
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Most people agree that Victor Frankenstein holds the most power in the text. In creating the monster, he not only has the power to create life but also the power to, indirectly, save or destroy others lives. Critics of his character speculate that Justine could have been saved had be only confessed his actions in Ingolstadt.
However, the creature also holds considerable power. For example, he held power over Justine’,s fate when he incriminated her with the necklace. He holds some power over the De Lacy family, as it is his actions in collecting firewood that decide whether or not Felix must work as heavily during the day.
In turn, the De Lacy family hold power, unbeknownst to them, over the creature, so much so that he commits himself to living in what is little more than a wooden box for a year. The creature’,s hopes for the future lie entirely on this family, and power of this nature is perhaps the strongest type of power anybody could exert over another being. This is due to the fact that the one who is controlled, ie, the creature, does not realize this and so will never attempt to free themselves from the hierarchy they find themselves in.
But it is also evident that someone, or something, exerted great control over the De Lacy family, as they are living an impoverished, isolated lifestyle. The creature’,s account of the family’,s history discovers this fact to the readers, that was in fact the French government. Given the time period, 17--, this is presumably patriarchal to the extreme. While for a while it could be supposed that Felix held power over the government, as he assisted in Safie’,s father’,s jail break, but the latter caught up with him and ultimately ruined him and his family.
On this train of thought, Felix’,s family hold power over Safie’,s father, but only while he is imprisoned. Once he is freed, the tables turn, and he breaks his promise to Felix of his daughters hand in marriage. Coming form an Eastern society that is suggested to be even more patriarchal than the Western European culture, a power struggle ensues between Safie, who wishes to marry Felix, and her father, who wants her to return home with him. What is most interesting is the fact that it is Safie, with the assistance of another woman, who eventually gets her own way.
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In the entire text, Safie is the only character who is able to break free from her boundaries, both psychologically and psychically, and self determine. This places Safie in a position to be considered the most powerful character in the text. In addition to this, the type of power Safie demonstrates is power over the self as opposed to power over others. She does to some extent hold power over Felix, but recognises this and acts accordingly. This is something Frankenstein never does in regard to his creature.
In conclusion, power in the novel is volatile and fragile. No one character in the novel holds ultimate power, although some certainly do hold more than others. Within this web of power relations, there is certainly enough evidence to suggest that Safie, a woman, is the most powerful character in the text. Whether this alone is enough to classify is as a feminist novel is left to the reader.
Essay Victor's Destruction in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
940 Words4 Pages
Victor's Destruction in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
Mary Shelley, in her book Frankenstein, makes several allusions to the fact that Victor Frankenstein is usurping the role of God in bringing his creature to life. The point of the book seems to be that a human who attempts to usurp the role of God will be heavily punished. Victor Frankenstein is severely punished. He loses everyone he loves before perishing himself in the arctic wastes. But did he really "play God" or did he merely unleash his own id and destroy himself?
Allusions to Frankenstein's identification with God are sprinkled liberally throughout the book. From an early age Frankenstein identifies himself with God through his study of metaphysics. "It was the secrets…show more content…
Remember that I am thy creature; I ought to be thy Adam, but I am rather the fallen angel, whom thou drivest from joy for no misdeed. Everywhere I see bliss, from which I alone am irrevocably excluded. I was benevolent and good; misery made me a fiend. Make me happy, and I shall again be virtuous (84).
It is this ambition to be Adam rather than a fallen angel that leads the creature to extort a promise to create a mate for him from Frankenstein. It is partly because Frankenstein made the creature larger and stronger than himself that he is vulnerable to the threats of the monster. This is not all of the story, however. Frankenstein, although he resolves more than once to kill the creature and be done with it, never attempts to harm the creature in any way.
First, on Montanvert, he is moved by the creatures entreaties, even though he knows that the creature is a murderer, and promises to create a mate for him, locking himself into a kind of slavery to the creature. This relationship is made clear when the creature says:
Slave, I before reasoned with you, but you have proved yourself unworthy of my condescension. Remember that I have power; you believe yourself miserable, but I can make you so wretched that the light of day will be hateful to you. You are my creator, but I am your master; obey (152)!
Frankenstein revolts against this role of slave to his creation, by destroying