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Freudianism in "Frankenstein": An Analysis of the Human Nature

Erin Erkocevic

eight December 2010

An Analysis of Human Nature in Frankenstein, As it Connects to Freudian Psychology

In her novel Frankenstein, Mary Shelley skillfully laces a chilling tale of horror with social commentary to produce an exploration of human nature that unfolds alongside with the story. The novel opens with Robert Walton and Victor Frankenstein’s mad quests for scientific glory. Each of these men are hell-bent on getting glory in the field of science. Both of these males are slaves to the fundamental human curiosity, particularly, the Id, which is the darkest portion of the human psyche. The Id represents the long list of a human being’s primal demands and demands quick satisfaction. For Victor, his curiosity, outcomes in his creation of the monster, the literal incarnation of his Id. The second aspect of this theme in Frankenstein is that there will often be a conflict in between the creator and the designed. In terms of Freudian Psychology, there will usually be a conflict between the Ego and the Id. The monster represents the purest form of Id, and Victor, the creator, has some duty to bestow some sense of conscience, or Ego, upon his creation. However, Freud describes the rooted conflict between the Ego and the Id, and the monster sooner or later repulses Victor’s Ego to the point that he can not stand the sight of his personal creation. Thirdly, Human Nature is the driving force of all human beings’ destructive behavior. The most simple part if human nature fails each creator and creation, due to the fact the Id is the fall of each. The Id is the driving force of Victor’s demise since of his mad quest to commence a new species. He indulges that want to the fullest, and the item of this want ruins his life and kills his closest buddies and family. The Monster is just an unfortunate item of 1 man’s insane drive for glory. The creature has no conscience, simply because he is not possible of possessing a single. Frankenstein tries and tries, nonetheless, he relapses into the position that he was born into, The incarnation of Id. Within the standard Ego of Man, Id is destined to be reviled for his concrete existence. The discussion of human nature in Frankenstein is well-connected to the thought of the human mind that Freud presents in his theories of Psychology. The three arguments presented correspond to the beginning, middle, and finish of the novel, and the developments of the plot that happen at the various points. Freud’s first point, which corresponds directly to the beginning of Frankenstein, is that there is a simple curiosity to human nature that is solely devoted to the Id, and that that curiosity, when overindulged, will unleash misfortune upon the a single in question. Secondly, Freud believes that there will usually be a conflict in between the Ego and the Id, which aligns with the plot in the middle portion of the novel. Third and lastly, the essences of human nature will sooner or later lead to the species’ encroaching demise, as occurs at the finish of the novel.

Curiosity, a natural component of human wish, drives us to explore the far reaches of our universe, open new doors, make spectacular new discoveries, and take turns into the new realms of expertise. This curiosity goes hand in hand with the need for glory. The need for glory is present in Victor’s hubristic want to have “a new species bless [him] as its creator and source” (Shelley 48). This supreme pride that has enveloped that believed is virtually Shakespearian in the way that it exposes the sordid pride of a tragic character. In this statement, Victor problems his objective and predicts his downfall. He was to generate a new species of getting so “many pleased and excellent natures would owe their existence to [him]” (Shelley, 48). This statement is ironic. He hopes his new race will have the most amiable qualities. Even so, he succeeds in creating an atrocity that is the fabrication of that which humanity was to revile, the Id.

According to Freud, the wish that is born of the Id is destined to give birth to the becoming of Id. First of all, the Id is the “dark, inaccessible element of human personality, striving to bring about satisfaction”. Victor’s quest for the forbidden knowledge of bestowing animation is firmly rooted in himself. He does not realize that there may possibly be ill effects of an imperfect man wielding the powers of a ideal God. The being that comes from these forbidden powers is the Id-ridden Monster. The monster is truly unfortunate because he is “born”, or “zapped” into life, and as Freud describes all newborns, entirely Id-ridden. Nonetheless, the monster cannot develop an Ego. As an alternative, he possesses the side of the Ego that will side with the Id against the Super Ego, which represents the wishes and guidelines of a society at large. What the monster does not have is a firm connection to the Super Ego, and this is the problem. Any connection the the monster could have had to the Super Ego, and consequently, humanity in basic, is shattered when the De Lacey household rejects him. This shocks his psyche. The total horror that he sees in the faces of the individuals that he loved and regarded as his “protectors” is also much for him to bear. His psyche snaps and all traces of the establishing Ego disappear. He vows to “seek that justice which [he] vainly attempted to obtain from any other getting that wore the human form” Shelley 124). The Monster wants to get revenge against Victor, who is the cause that he lives on Earth. From this want, the monster begins to kind a death instinct, an concept that Freud started to develop late into his psychological career. “The death instinct would as a result seem to express itself- as an instinct of destruction directed against the external globe and other organisms.” The thought that there is an instinct that is primarily based in the hatred of other beings living in the Id is a excellent explanation for the Monster’s behavior in the conflict between Victor and his creation.

The second Freudian point that arises mid-novel is that there will often be a conflict between the creator and the produced. The Monster is like Victor’s abandoned kid. Victor’s revulsion and eventual desertion of the Monster are predictable. He had hoped that the “new species” he would generate would be a very good species, superior to humanity, and what he got was a wretch produced from hacked limbs and electrically charged. Victor’s abandonment tends to make the monster seek vengeance against his creator, telling him, “Remember that I am thy creature, I ought to by thy Adam, but rather I am the fallen angel,” (Shelley 89). The Monster is comparing himself to Adam to make the point that God made Adam, and even by means of his indiscretions, God did not fully abandon Adam, like Victor left the Monster to his own devices. The Monster is telling Victor that he has created him into the Devil, “whom thou (Victor) drivest from joy for no misdeed.” (Shelley 89). Victor drives the Monster away for the easy fact that he is extremely hideous. He derived that the monster was going to be a beast born into brutality, just due to the fact of the way that he looked, which, technically, was Victor’s personal fault. This created the Monster bitter and hateful towards the whole human species. He says, “what hope can I gather from your fellow creatures, who owe me absolutely nothing? They spurn and hate me.” (Shelley 89). He has gleaned that he will locate no sympathy from humanity, so he decides to destroy the man that stuck him with it. He promises to take down, “Not only [Victor] and [his] family, but thousands of other folks, shall be swallowed up in the whirlwinds of [my] rage” (Shelley 90).

Victor’s fundamental nature causes him to revile the Monster. According to Freud, a creature with a completely functioning Ego that has connected to the Super Ego, would discover a creature produced of pure Id to be extremely repulsive. Most individuals do not want to see the most negative elements of themselves, so when these aspects incarnate appear ahead of them, encased in some thing that they as soon as idealized, Freud believes that the person will leave behind those cemented examples of his or her personal psyche. Victor’s abandonment of the Monster is just a defense mechanism of his ego, denial and suppression. If he can forget that he has designed something atrocious, then he can reside his life as he originally saw it and become the analogy of the Clockmaker to his Monster- “Create it and Leave it”. Even so, it is very challenging for the denial principle to take its effect when the issue he is trying to ignore is stalking him across Europe, leaving a trail of dead loved ones in its wake. After Victor’s abandonment, the Monster sinks his instinct of destruction into Freud. This concept is that there is an instinct that causes a human becoming to turn out to be openly hostile towards organic matter and other beings. This explains the ever-developing pile of dead bodies that the monster leaves behind in retaliation to his creator’s cruel abandonment.

The third and final Freudian aspect of human nature evident in Frankenstein is that human nature will lead to the eminent and eventual downfall of the species. Victor’s hubris of Victor led him to develop the Monster, who then succeeds in ruining his life. The mental injuries that Victor inflicts on his creation are the root of all this. He leaves his own creation to live in a world where he does not know about with individuals he knows nothing of, speaking a language he doesn’t realize. This abandonment leaves such a scar on the monster’s psyche that decides to torture the man that is responsible for his existence, and therefore, his discomfort.

In Freudian terms, Victor’s Id was demanding the satisfaction of his curiosity about re-animating dead tissues. He indulges this curiosity, and Id provides birth to Id, in the kind of the Monster. The Monster actually has an Ego in his possession, but it was not connected to the Powers that Be that make up the Super Ego, and so he could by no means turn out to be a functioning component of society. The Monster blames his lack of human qualities on his creator, Victor, since he designed him to be hideous and disfigured and then abandoned him. The product of these feelings is the Monster’s destruction instinct, which causes his Id to run rampant on his European killing spree. This murderous tear kills off most of Victor’s friends and loved ones, and so the product of his Id ruined the existence that his own Id was striving to cling to.

As a result of a dare, Mary Shelley wove a story that would come to encompass the darker reaches of the human imagination. Frankenstein is a story of life and death, and of the aspects of human nature that contribute to the endangerment of our fragile existence. The beginning of the novel exposes the reality that man is naturally curious, and upon closer examination, this curiosity is rooted in the Id. The Id is the part of human nature, which, according to Freud, holds all of our standard and instinctual needs and desires. The middle of the novel shows that there is always conflict among the creator and his creation. Freudian suggestions connect this conflict to the Ego and whether or not or not the Ego sides with the Id or Super Ego. The finish of the novel signifies Freud’s belief that human nature will contribute tremendously to the tale of the species’ demise.
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