Presentation on theme: "Moral Ambiguity Jack Cowan, Hannah Gano, Kevin Markose, Neyam Narang, and Vannessa Le."— Presentation transcript:
Moral Ambiguity Jack Cowan, Hannah Gano, Kevin Markose, Neyam Narang, and Vannessa Le
What does moral ambiguity literally mean?? Being morally ambiguous depends on how an observer perceives a person’s actions, or how a character changes their morals to fit their own needs – Ex: "Is it OK to behave poorly, to lie for example, in order to protect someone from unnecessary pain?" Ambiguity is having multiple possible meanings or interpretations, in a sense not definite or concrete, depending on perception.
Relation to novel Throughout the novel, Victor Frankenstein and the creature displayed morally ambiguous behavior because their character was good however their actions sometimes contradicted their intentions. These characters make it difficult to identify them as purely evil or purely good.
Victor’s Ambiguous Actions Victor quote " I now also began to collect the materials necessary for my new creation, and this was to me like the torture of single drops of water continually falling on the head. Every thought that was devoted to it was an extreme anguish" (Shelly 115). Though Victor abhors his creation and has abandoned the creature mentally/physically. The creatures harsh past has led to Victor’s willingness to create a companion for him.
More examples of Victor’s Moral Ambiguity “A thousand times would I have shed my own blood, drop by drop, to have saved their lives; but I could not, my father, indeed I could not sacrifice the whole human race” (Shelly 137). This shows Victor’s benevolent side in which his morals and ethics are good where he is overwhelmed with guilt and takes responsibilities for the death of many because of the horrid monster he created.
The Creature’s Ambiguous Actions “For I am fearless, and therefore powerful. I will watch with the wiliness of a snake, that I may sting with its venom. Man, you shall repent of injuries you inflict” (Shelly 123) Here we are able to observe the fact that the creature is no longer the same creature who aided the impoverished family. Instead he is willing to kill and wreak havoc upon his creator and threaten him in order to coerce him into creating him a wife.
More Examples of the Creature’s Ambiguous Actions “I had been accustomed, during the night, to steal a part, to steal a part of their store for my own consumption; but when I found that in doing this I inflicted pain on the cottagers, I abstained, and satisfied myself with berries, nuts, and roots, which I gathered from a neighboring wood” (Shelley 78). He steals food from the family in the cottage, because he was starving, but he later regrets this when he learns of their impoverished conditions. Afterwards he shows benevolence by chopping down firewood for them.
Thesis 1.The decisions made 2.The questionable decisions repeatedly made 3.In Frankenstein, the questionable decisions repeatedly made by Frankenstein and his creation 4.In Frankenstein, the questionable decisions, such as Victor’s broken promise to create a mate for his creature and the creature’s murders of innocent people, repeatedly made by Frankenstein and his creation 5.In Frankenstein, the questionable decisions, such as Victor’s broken promise to create a mate for his creature and the creature’s murders of innocent people, repeatedly made by Frankenstein and his creation function to display the characters’ moral ambiguity
FINAL THESIS… 6. In Frankenstein, the questionable decisions, such as Victor’s broken promise to create a mate for his creature and the creature’s murders of innocent people, repeatedly made by Frankenstein and his creation function to display the characters’ moral ambiguity, as they are clearly contrasted with their good moral aspects, such as Victor’s love and respect for his family and the creature’s guilt over stealing and desire to learn.
Significant moment A significant moment in the novel where Victor displayed morally ambiguous behavior was when Victor created the creature. He violated the peaceful burial grounds of deceased people, but intended to use the amassed body parts to help further the studies of science. Victor believed that by being able to create life, he would be able to “drive away incipient disease[s]” (Shelley 34). The creation of the creature is important because it eventually teaches Victor to take responsibility for his actions.
Significant moment Victor’s contemplation of suicide and eventual departure from his family home is a hugely significant moment in the indication of his morally ambiguous character. He desires to stay because he doesn’t wish to cause his family more grief but at the same time he feels that he will only bring them more misfortune by his creation. His decision to leave can be seen as thoughtful or selfish, depending on an individual’s view. While he is saving them from being “hapless victims to [his] unhallowed arts”, he could potentially be leaving them “exposed and unprotected to the malice of the fiend [he] had let loose” (Shelley, 61-2).
POINT OF VIEW Shelley uses point of view in Frankenstein to highlight the concept of moral ambiguity. From Victor’s point of view he is a successful scientist and philosopher who mistakenly went to far. From the creature’s point of view, Frankenstein maliciously abandoned him and left him to the mercy of the world. Victor sees the creature as an unholy abomination of nature who has evilly murdered his loved ones in cold blood, whereas the creature sees it as justice for himself for the cruelty that has been shown to him. The changing point of view allows the reader to see both sides of the story and experience both opinions of the characters’ moralities.
Tragic Irony " I shall be with you on your wedding night" (Shelly 123) At this point of the novel, Frankenstein destroyed the creature he was creating for the wretch. His motives to destroy the creature because Frankenstein felt and imagined negative images of how another monster could be dangerous in various aspects. Frankenstein’s motives angered the creature, leading him to conclude revenge. When the creature conveys his threatening message to Frankenstein, Frankenstein alludes that the monster is after him. Later on the story, the audience realizes that the creature is not after Frankenstein but after Elizabeth (Frankenstein does not realize this until she is murdered by the creature).This quote shows the creatures evil side, seeking revenge and is an example of tragic irony.
ALLUSION “Did I request thee, Maker, from my clay To mould me Man, did I solicit thee From darkness to promote me?” (Milton, Paradise Lost – Book X) The quote at the beginning of the novel alludes to Adam cursing his state of being and his creator. By the use of this quote, Shelley likens the creature to Adam, associated with good, however, Frankenstein’s constant references to his creation as a “fiend” and “wretch” associate him alternatively with evil. The use of this allusion foreshadows the importance of the varying perceptions of good and evil. The creature uses Paradise Lost to compare himself to both Satan and Adam (contrasting moral figures), who both were created by God.
What do you think? Is Victor Frankenstein purely evil or purely good? Is the creature purely evil or purely good?
Works Cited http://www.wordsmyth.net/ http://www.ask.com/ blogs.voanews.com yubinrandy.edublogs.org comicsalliance.com bluejayblog.wordpress.com www.flickr.com