Frankenstein, Morally Ambiguous

A mock Paper Two Exam for the (International Baccalaureate program) A very short essay on the being in Frankenstein being morally ambiguous. (not exactly great but good for a foundation idea)

The being in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is a morally ambiguous character. His actions can be perceived as neither purely good nor purely evil. The being is characterized by events that can be justified in one way but seen as a horribly cruel act in another. He plays a pivotal role in the novel because he is the product of Dr. Frankenstein’s knowledge. He is Dr. Frankenstein’s life and much of Frankenstein’s time was spent creating the being therefore the being plays a pivotal role as an ambiguous character. The being is a physical being that Frankenstein has to battle with both in his mind and through words and fears. For a character, such as the being, to be morally ambiguous there has to be characteristics and qualities that are good and evil within a character.

            The being can be seen as good because he was completely deserted by his own creator, rejected by all people (including the villagers who were his “teachers”), and did not have any other creature to coincide with him. The being (in this view point) had sufficient justification to be unhappy and vengeful towards his creator and humanity itself. His own creator left him in fear and disgust leaving him with feelings that were sufficient enough to create anger. The public did not accept the being either, throwing things at him and attacking him without hearing him speak to them or giving him a chance for anything. These encounters gave him the ability to become a morally ambiguous character because one feels sympathy for someone or something that is cast aside and forced out of the social realm. By the being not being accepted it shows the flaws of humanity. The being is morally ambiguous because it suggests that humans are the evil while the being is merely a victim of the acts of violence and discrimination. 

            The being can also be seen as evil because he allowed himself to voluntarily murder his own creator’s family because he wasn’t getting the results to problems that he wanted. He had knowledge of right vs. wrong, still he threatened many people. The being had knowledge of “good and evil” therefore he wasn’t blinded by rage, in that case he can be seen as a real monster because he had no remorse for the crimes that he committed, he felt completely justified, in this sense he could not be purely good.

            The being’s moral ambiguity is significant to the work as a whole because he not only shows how the being, completely human or not, can not be purely good or evil but also shows how the product of greed and advancement has its pros and cons. The being, who is morally ambiguous also provides the reader the opportunity to analyze the actions of the being, one cannot dislike the product of knowledge without viewing the possible justifications that the being had for his actions.

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1 Comment
  1. Posted April 6, 2011 at 10:11 pm

    I wanted to go this year, but I missed them. Great article, congrats!
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