Frankenstein: Society's Creation of Monsters

Contributor: Emily Love. Lesson ID: 10913

Monsters don't just live under your bed when you are a child; they are still around today. People commit unthinkable deeds, and you will examine, with videos and handouts, factors that influence them!

categories

Literary Studies

subject
Reading
learning style
Auditory, Visual
personality style
Lion, Beaver
Grade Level
High School (9-12)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!

Audio:

When you hear the term "monster," you may think of mythical creatures like dragons and the Loch Ness monster. However, this term is frequently applied to people. What qualities would a person need to possess to be described as a monster? Write your answer down, and include an example of someone matching your description.

In "Toward a Definition of Romanticism," Steven Kreis states, “One of the fundamentals of Romanticism is the belief in the natural goodness of man, the idea that man in a state of nature would behave well but is hindered by civilization."

Throughout Shelley's novel, she portrays the downward spiral of both Victor and his creation. Ultimately, both men are portrayed as monstrous villains, because each one is determined to bring about the destruction of the other.

Victor was raised in a loving home and given every advantage in life; however, he goes down a dark path. His refusal to take responsibility for his foolish actions leads to the destruction of those he loves most.

The creature is abandoned from the moment of its "birth" and never receives acceptance or love. His natural curiosity and kindness are quickly squashed as he becomes cruel and murderous.

Their character transformations are an essential part of Shelley's attempt to explore the question of whether a person's character is shaped more by his nature or his nurture.

In 2011, the Royal National Theatre put on a stage production of the novel Frankenstein, adapted for the stage by the playwright Nick Dear. During its production, the National Theatre conducted behind-the-scenes interviews about various aspects of the production and the story.

Watch this Victor Frankenstein: a character study clip and answer the following questions:

  • How could society's emphasis on success and fame have influenced Victor's desire to "create" life?
  • How does Victor's isolation from his family and loved ones have a negative influence on him? Specifically, how do you think the loss of his mother affected him?

 

Watch this The Creature: a character study clip and answer the following questions:

  • What does Shelley indicate about society based on its treatment of the Creature?
  • Why is it so significant that Shelley gives the Creature a voice throughout the novel?

 

Discuss your answers with your parent or teacher. Talk about whether Shelley seems to argue that one's nature or one's nurture (or lack thereof) has a more significant impact on one's character. Do you think Victor and the Creature were born cruel monsters, or were they transformed into cruel monsters as a result of their environment?

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