Internal conflict is a central theme in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Throughout the novel, Frankenstein struggles with his conflicting desires to create life and to destroy it, ultimately leading to his own downfall. Whether he is dealing with the creature he has brought to life or his own inner demons, Frankenstein finds himself constantly battling against forces that threaten to consume him. Despite his best efforts, however, Frankenstein is unable to escape the consequences of his actions, and must ultimately pay the price for playing God.
At its core, Frankenstein is a story about the internal conflict that many of us face in our own lives – the struggle between wanting to create and wanting to destroy. Frankenstein, who spends years trying to perfect his creation and bring it to life, ultimately finds himself consumed by guilt, remorse, and self-doubt when his creation turns against him. Similarly, Frankenstein’s own inner demons threaten to consume him as he wrestles with feelings of regret over his actions and an overwhelming sense of loneliness.
Ultimately, Frankenstein’s greatest enemy is himself. He cannot escape the consequences of his actions, no matter how hard he tries. But perhaps what is most tragic about Frankenstein’s story is that it reminds us all that we are each responsible for our own actions, and that we alone must live with the consequences. Frankenstein is a cautionary tale about the dangers of playing God, and a reminder that we should be careful what we wish for, lest we end up destroying ourselves in the process.
Frankenstein’s Monster is forced to develop his own morality as he tries to find companionship and a sense of belonging in an unforgiving world. Frankenstein and the Creature experience different types of internal conflict, but both search for answers to the same question: what does it mean to be human?
Frankenstein’s desire to create life originates from his fascination with death and decay. In Walton’s letters to Frankenstein, Victor describes his younger self as “wholly wrapped up in my occupation” (Shelley 36). He was determined to discover the “secret of life” so that he “might not fail in others which had been already so successful” (36). Frankenstein becomes obsessed with his experiments and his quest for knowledge. He even states that he would “sacrifice human feelings” in order to achieve his goals (37).
Frankenstein’s ambition leads him to create a Monster, but his intentions are unclear. He could be motivated by the desire to help humanity or driven by his need for fame and recognition. In an interview with the creature, Frankenstein says that he initially wanted to share his discovery with the world, but he was afraid of being ridiculed: “I thought, at first, that I should make myself famous by my discoveries, and that might render my life happy” (Shelley 84).
Frankenstein is worried about what other people will think of him and his work. He is more concerned with being perceived as a genius than he is with the morality of his experiments. Frankenstein’s internal conflict lies in his divided motives, whether it be for selfish or noble reasons.
The Creature also experiences an internal conflict throughout Frankenstein. From the very beginning of his life, he searches for answers about who he is and where he came from. At first, he looks to Frankenstein for guidance: “You are my creator, but I am your master – obey!” (Shelley 100).
The Creature questions Frankenstein about why he was created and what purpose there is to his existence. Frankenstein refuses to answer these questions, which only fuels the creature’s rage and hatred towards his creator. As Frankenstein rejects him over and over again, the Creature learns to develop his own moral code.
He comes to realize that Frankenstein has not given him life for a reason and he decides that he needs to create a new purpose for himself: “I was dependent on none and related to none” (174). The Creature becomes self-reliant and independent from Frankenstein, but he still struggles with emotions of anger and alienation. Frankenstein’s Monster is searching for similar answers about who he is as a person and how he fits in this world.
While Frankenstein and his Monster experience different internal conflicts, their search for meaning ultimately leads them both to the same conclusion: what does it mean to be human? This question drives Frankenstein’s desire to create life, while
He considers if he is, in fact, a monster. The Creature has all of the traits of a human being. He only transforms into a beast when society rejects him. The Creature is tormented by whether or not he is naturally a monster or if humans made him that way.
On the night Victor Frankenstein creates his monster, he flees in terror after seeing its revolting, enormous form. He bolts out of there leaving the Monster alone and ignorant as an infant. The Creature leaves Victor Frankenstein’s home to explore the woods frightened and perplexed.
As he begins to understand the world around him, he realizes that he is different from everyone else and that no one will ever accept him. Frankenstein’s abandonment of the Creature leads to his own destruction. Frankenstein is consumed by guilt and dedicates the rest of his life to finding and destroying his creation. Frankenstein’s obsession with destroying the Creature mirrors the Creature’s own obsession with Frankenstein.
Although Frankenstein is partly responsible for the creature’s misery, the creature is also partly responsible for Frankenstein’s. If the Creature had not killed Frankenstein’s loved ones, Frankenstein would not have been driven to such extremes. The novel Frankenstein can be interpreted as a cautionary tale about the dangers of science exceeding its bounds.
The Creature stumbles upon a town, where the people scream and throw rocks at him while running away. The Monster didn’t comprehend their reactions, so he ran to seek refuge in a hovel at a cottage. He begins to lurk in the vicinity of the family who resides in the cottage and is intrigued by their beauty, occupations, and gentleness. Immediately he becomes desirous of belonging to them. “I was particularly struck by these folks’ courteous behavior; and I yearned to be one of them but was afraid to try.
The Creature’s internal conflict is one of loneliness and isolation. He is rejected by the villagers because of his appearance, which in turn makes him become more withdrawn and isolated from others. His strong desire to be accepted and loved is contrasted with his fear of being hurt or harmed yet again, leading to feelings of internal turmoil as he tries to find a way to resolve this conflict.
Ultimately, despite facing many hardships that come with being an outsider in society, the Creature manages to overcome this struggle by learning to accept himself for who he is and forging relationships with others along the way.
This serves as a powerful lesson about how we can all find ways to deal with our own inner struggles through self-reflection and reaching out to others. Frankenstein provides a timeless story about the importance of understanding and accepting our own flaws, as well as the value of seeking companionship and connection with others despite our differences.
The monster craved the cottagers’ love, yet he was petrified of rejection. He loathed his isolation that much that he decided to come out and reveal himself to his adoptive family for the first time. “I imagined a thousand images in which I showed myself to them, and their reaction to me. Imagine if they were disgusted until, with my kind manner and conciliatory words, I won their respect before winning their affection.”
Deeply wounded by rejection, the Creature retreats and vows revenge on Frankenstein. This tragic internal conflict is a major theme in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, as the Creature struggles with his desire for companionship and acceptance, while facing the very real threat of rejection and violence from others. Ultimately, this internal conflict drives much of Frankenstein’s plot and character development, as Frankenstein must grapple with the consequences of his actions and attempt to resolve this painful struggle within himself.
Frankenstein is a representation of the dangers of unchecked ambition and the importance of considering the ethical implications of one’s actions. Frankenstein also highlights the importance of empathy and compassion, as these qualities are ultimately what allow Frankenstein to find redemption and peace.