Why is Justine important for plot development in Frankenstein?A few things:
- I'm having some trouble deciding wether or not my intro paragraph is strong. Any comments would be great.
- I would also like to know if my supporting arguments make sense. I'm hoping that they are not too vague or all over the place.
The concept of human nature is unique and different human experiences drive humans to do dreadful things. In Mary Shelly's Frankenstein, her goal was to bring some ideas concerning the weakness of humanity into light: Frankenstein and the Creature illustrate our inner evils. Justine is important for plot development because her circumstances show that the Creature is a reflection of the dark side of Frankenstein's consciousness, revealing that the both characters are monsters.
It is rather ironic that Frankenstein, being a human being, showed almost inhumane characteristics. When Justine was wrongfully convicted for William Frankenstein's murder, Frankenstein made an interesting transition from being self-centered to self-loathing. "Justine died; she rested; I was alive. The blood flowed freely through my veins, but a weight of despair and remorse pressed on my heart, which nothing could remove it" ( ). In spite of his feelings of grief, he did not end up confessing that he knew his brother's murderer. This questions whether or not he felt guilty for the right reasons. He may have ran away because of the guilt he felt in creating such a monster - the guilt of making humanity's instincts manifest. It may also have been because he was too concerned about being seen in a negative light that he let Justine die for a crime that she did not commit. Frankenstein perfectly illustrates the human flaw of selfishness.
For a majority of the novel, Victor escapes from taking ethical responsibility. "I felt as if I had committed some great crime, the consciousness of which haunted me. I was guiltless, but I had indeed drawn a horrible curse upon my head, as mortal as that of crime" ( 167). He is unable to take full blame for Justine's death. This may make it difficult for readers to sympathize with this character as he does not want accept the blame for his actions.
Frankenstein creates this creature that is originally filled with the honorable human characteristics: the instinct to love and to be kind. Similar to a newborn child, it gained knowledge from its experiences from the world around it. "I was benevolent; my soul glowed with love and humanity; but am I not alone, miserably alone? You, my creator, abhor me..." ( 103 ). Because its creator or "father" abandoned it, it soon began to experience feelings of anger and hatred towards the world. Once the creature learned that humans would always treat him terribly, it replicated the immoral behaviour of its creator. Specifically, the monster chose to frame a woman that had never mistreated him.
Frankenstein stole the ability to create a human being from God. Forming a comparison between God and Victor, it says, "I remembered Adam's supplication to his Creator. But where was mine? He had abandoned me, and in the bitterness of my heart I cursed him" ( 134). The Creature was mistreated but, on the other hand, the Creature was devious enough to murder William and frame Justine for it. Like Frankenstein, the Creature brings about the issue of whether or not the Creature deserves sympathy. The creature asks its Creator to make a mate for him and promises to runaway. "...one as deformed and as horrible as myself would not deny herself to me. My companion must be of the same species, and have the same defects. This being you must create" ( 146). It is almost a form of manipulation as the Creature essentially professes its benevolence and longing to be accepted by humans and yet, kills innocent people. Frankenstein creates this monster that in a way, emulates the negative parts of his character.
Even without life, Justine's serves an importance to the further development of the plot. With the intention of using Justine's body, Frankenstein changes his mind about creating a mate for the Creature. "Shall I create another like yourself, whose joint wickedness might desolate the world ... I will never consent" ( ) . Frankenstein continues to treat the Creature in an undignified way, serving as a driving force for the Creature's outrage.
Although Justine is a minor character, her connection to the two characters reveals that they are both flawed. All the Creature's vices stem directly from being abandoned by its creator. Frankenstein's greatest weakness is that he declined the responsibilities that came with the act of creation. Justine is a powerful character as she played a crucial role in the progression of immorality in the two characters. It leaves us wondering who the true hero in the novel is.