Perception in society has a huge effect on the way people treat one another. In most cases, that perception is usually flawed. It is greatly affected by looks, height, weight, and other physical traits. An example would be a student categorizing his teacher as strict and aggressive because of his height or because of the tone of his voice. Also an overweight person is usually classified as a non athletic individual. Flawed perception had an enormous effect on the monster’s behaviour throughout his experience as a living being. Many examples of flawed perception are evident in Mary Shelley’s novel, Frankenstein.
Stereotypes and fear are examples of flawed perception. The consequence of those flawed perceptions can be seen through the monster’s act of vengeance towards his creator and mankind. First of all, immediate judgment was caused due to the horrible physical features of the monster. This is what is considered stereotyping. Stereotyping is when certain negative or positive characteristics are assigned to an individual. This is caused by the lack of information about that individual therefore the human brain tries to clarify that perceived target by committing errors.
In the case of the monster, everyone that came in contact with him including his creator categorized him as being a danger to society just because of his monstrous appearance. “Monster! Ugly wretch! You wish to eat me and tear me to pieces. You are an ogre. Let me go, or I will tell my papa” (Shelley 131). This quotation is an example of physical judgement. The monster was clearly trying to befriend the child. He had absolutely no intention of hurting him. However, due to his enormous size, his ugliness and his bizarre voice, the little boy placed his hands before his eyes and uttered a shrill scream.
The monster’s size is intimidating and unusual. He is taller and bigger than most humans. This feature is frightening to the majority, including the boy. In consequence, the monster is instantly categorized as evil and dangerous. In other words, he is perceived as being a threat to humanity. Also, the fiend’s ugliness and deformity adds to his negative and noticeable features. It builds a repulsive force between him and the others which causes him to be rejected by everyone around him. Furthermore, those negative characteristics bury the positive qualities of the monster.
His beautiful and charming personality will not be noticeable to anyone’s eyes due to his outrageous appearance. Moreover, the monster’s voice does not help him gain the acceptance of others. His deep and frightening tone unintentionally creates assertiveness and fierceness. This feature however does not have as much effect as the others but it certainly adds to the terrible judgement that is inflicted towards him. That being said, all of those negative features produce harmful stereotypes towards the monster. The consequences of all judgements cause the fiend to act accordingly to those prejudices.
This clearly represents what happens in real life where people are categorized by their looks and discriminated against accordingly. An example for that would be terrorists. Most likely, everyone assumes that all Middle Eastern habitants are terrorists. One would think that wearing the “Hijab” or having a big beard would mean that they possibly possess a bomb somewhere on them. At airports, Arabs are usually stopped and searched longer than the white ethnicity. That is due to the stereotype that has spread around the world. Many other different stereotypes exist in the human race.
Fortunately, there can be something done to stop all this insane discrimination. However, this type of act existed throughout history and will maintain its existence if proceeded the same way. Second of all, fear was caused in consequence of those stereotypes. Everyone including Frankenstein was fearful of his appearance. The fact that he is different from others excluded him from any human relations. At one point in the book, Mary Shelley makes the monster ask Dr Frankenstein for another creation but of a female version of himself. The goal of this situation is to let the monster live in peace and to live his own life.
Frankenstein’s rejection to this offer was due to the fear that haunted him. “Even if they were to leave Europe and inhabit the deserts of the new world, yet one of the first results of those sympathies for which the demon thirsted would be children, and a race of devils would be propagated upon the earth who might make the very existence of the species of man a condition precarious and full of terror” (Shelley 155-156). This clearly states that Dr Frankenstein was scared of not only the creation of another hideous monster but of a whole new generation of monsters.
If such a horrible situation should occur, not only would his own creator suffer but all of mankind as well. He was also fearful that she as well might turn with disgust from him to the superior beauty of man. If she might leave him, he will once again remain unaccompanied and exasperated by the fresh provocation of being deserted by one of his own species. Another example of fear would be the time when the monster rescued the little girl from the streaming water. As everyone would imagine, there should be a positive outcome of such nice gesture.
However, this did not occur. As soon as the person whom the little girl was playing with saw the monster, he immediately darted towards him, took the girl from his arms, fled into the woods, took a gun and fired it at him. The man immediately feared the monster as soon as he saw him. His conscious mind instantly controlled him and ordered him to act violently. The person did not stop and think. He did not appreciate the monster’s bravery and daring act. The monster felt at this point hatred towards mankind.
If his nice gesture did not build a connection between him and the humans, nothing would. Fear is installed in all of us. Different people fear different things. For example some are scared of heights and several can be terrified of scary movies. Once humans fear something, they lose control of their emotions and their subconscious mind takes over. They start to panic and act in an unintentional way which can provoke several bad consequences. In the monster’s case, everyone was frightened of him. He did not have anyone who accepted him as a hideous creature.
They all ignored his positive attributes and let fear take them over to the point where they acted differently from their usual state. Third of all, the outcome of those flawed perceptions can be seen through the monster’s act of vengeance towards his creator and mankind. The monster got to the point where nothing stood in his way. Vengeance was his first option. “The feelings of kindness and gentleness which I had entertained but a few moments before gave place to hellish rage and gnashing of teeth. Inflamed by pain, I vowed eternal hatred and vengeance to all mankind” (Shelley 130).
Frankenstein’s flawed perception towards his creation angered the monster. In order to seek revenge, he decided to murder all of Frankenstein’s friends and relatives. The author wanted to demonstrate that the monster committed these acts of retaliation in order to make Victor Frankenstein feel miserable and alone. Now the monster is outcast from society and has no one to lean on. This makes the monster not only lonely and is search of affection but also very mad. He takes out all that anger on Victor, but he doesn’t do what most people would think he would do.
The monster is also self educated and he is smarter than that. So instead of taking his anger out on his directly he takes it out on all his loved ones. William, Frankenstein’s little brother was strangled to death by the hands of Victor’s creation. The cause of this act was the reveal of the father of that little boy. As soon as the monster heard William say that his father was M. Frankenstein, he killed him. This proves the fact that William’s death was only an act of revenge by the monster. In addition, Clerval’s death was due to his friendship with Frankenstein.
The monster knew that they were close and that Henry’s death would have an enormous effect on Victor. As well, in order to cause even more pain to Frankenstein, he tormented his mind by telling him that he will accompany him on his wedding-night. His promise was not broken and the monster murdered his new wife Elizabeth that same day. One could imagine the pain Victor Frankenstein had to endure during this whole horrific course. Also, the rejection of being accepted by the monster’s fellow cottagers filled him with vengeance. He destroyed and burnt the cottage which they used to inhabit.
The monster was not treated well by anyone all through the story. This made him a brutal killer because he learned to ignore remorse because of how people reacted with disgust and fear to his appearance. The monster created by Frankenstein was actually created/born good, hence the allusions to how little the monster knew about the world. His first experience from whom he looked up to as a father figure spurned him and name-called him. The monster desired agony and depression for his creator. His wish was to make him go through excruciating pain and suffer the way he did throughout the whole book.
However, at the end of the book, Walton was having a discussion with the monster concerning his actions and Victor’s death. As soon as Frankenstein’s body lay before the monster’s eyes, he immediately regretted his horrific acts of violence. “Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honourable. Do your part to live in peace with everyone, as much as possible” (Shelly). This quote is written by Rubel Shelly. It states that an act of evil should not be avenged by another act of evil.
However, it should be resolved by a nice manner in order to prove yourself m honourable. In her article, she explains her experience in her attempt to seek vengeance on her boyfriend who was found with another woman. She describes the agony that she felt throughout that period. She decided to seek vengeance by slamming her car into his vehicle. After having done the deed, she realises her mistake. It was not her former boyfriend but an individual driving the same type of car. In Frankenstein, Mary Shelley also tries to prove her point by having the monster regret his actions after having done them.
An enormous outcome was produced after the regret. The monster had only one deed left. And that deed was to murder one more, himself. In conclusion, Perception in society has a huge effect on the way people treat one another. In most cases, that perception is usually flawed. Looks, height, weight, and other physical traits affect those flawed perceptions. The monster’s behaviour throughout his experience as a living being was affected by flawed perception. Stereotypes and fear are examples of flawed perception.
The consequence of those flawed perceptions can be seen through the monster’s act of vengeance towards his creator and mankind. As the novel progresses, the monster grows in several ways, one of which is becoming knowledgeable of those around him and of language and books; the other is the way in which he becomes progressively evil, seeking only revenge. In humanity, are humans able to stop all the discrimination and the stereotypes in the world? Can they not judge each other by just looks? Can they finally create peace with one another? Those are questions that are still waiting to be answered.