Frankenstein’s Nature vs. Nurture
Nature vs. Nurture is a prevalent theme throughout this novel. “Nature (our genes) and nurture (our environment) affect our individual differences in behavior, mental processes, and personality. Together, they define what makes distinguishes us from one another.” In this essay I will draw parallel to how Victor Frankenstein and the monster grew up in order to explain how nature and nurture both play a prominent role in the creation of their identities. Both nature and nurture play a prominent role in the novel in two unique ways. Although Victor grew up in a nurturing family, his nature is responsible for the actions he commits in the novel untimely leading to his fall; compared to the monster who has an opposite relationship to nature and nurture because he is born pure and good, but the way he was nurtured makes him evil. Victor’s rich ancestral history is part of Victor’s nature; it is imbedded in his DNA, something he cannot escape, which ultimately makes him evil. Compared to the monster that was shaped by the way he was nurtured; he was not born evil but the experiences he had during his life made him evil.
Victor’s thirst for power is part of his nature, a genetic trait he has inherited. Victor was born to one of the most distinguished families in all of Geneva, Switzerland. Victor’s family was known to have "honor" and "integrity". Victor is ultimately a product of his prestigious heritage. Victor’s thirst for power is similar to the power that succeeded before him, which is ultimately too much for him to bare leading to his mental decline. Victor wants to have a power similar to god. The god like action in this novel occurs when Victor tries to create a creature of his own, something that belongs to him and exists only because of him and his actions. (Similar to a god who creates life.) Victor wanted to create something he has absolute power over " I will pioneer a new way, explore unknown powers, and unfold to the world the deeper mysteries of creation.” (p.47) "I became myself capable of bestowing animation upon lifeless matter.”(p.51) Mary Shelley makes it evident to the reader that Victor was brought up in a very nurturing situation. Early on in the novel Victor states that his father devoted himself to the education of his children. An important line that displays Victor’s fathers’ love is when author states, "no creature could have more tender parents than his own"(p.19). Victor’s family gave him “'inexhaustible stores of affection from a very mine of love”. Victor evidently grew up privileged with parents but mainly his father who were devoted to ensuring Victor's prosperity. Although Victor came from a privileged family his nurture could not compensate for his natural desire to hold a position of power resulting in the creation of the monster. Victor starts going against his father’s advice, at the young age of thirteen when his father tells him that the work of Cornelius Agrippa is pure trash. Nurture obviously played a prominent role in Victor’s life, but Victors desire to discover secretes behind creation is too strong and his nature overruns the nurture he receives as a child. “I had worked…for the sole purpose of infusing life into an inanimate body… I had desired it with ardor that far exceeded moderation,” This quote clearly displays that Victor believed he has to test the limitations of man even if they are not suppose to be tested. Victor is truly a self-centered person because he doesn’t factor in the negative outcome that can result from his creation. Victor does not create the monster in order to benefit society; Victor creates the monster on principles of self-glory.
Victor's creation has a completely opposite relationship with nature and nurture. Victor creates a “child” through the use of science, although ugly and unloved by Victor a "child" nonetheless. Victor ultimately ends up abandoning his