Social Sensitivity

In a tale of a murderous and revengeful monster, there are, of course, scenes of violence and terror; three murders, an execution and a cottage burned by arson, as well as three more deaths. Like classical Greek dramatists, Shelley to some extent mitigates the horror of these scenes by having the violence take place “offstage.” That is, she never directly presents the monster strangling his victims. In each case she describes how the body is found and the sorrow the family members, friends, and community feel at the death. She emphasizes the grief rather than the grisly details of the murder or the horrible condition of the body. In no sense does she linger over gory details. The monster’s victims are all innocent. If the monster had killed only his creator for cruelly abandoning him, the reader’s judgment of the monster might be less harsh. The impact of the violence is further diminished because Frankenstein is reporting to Walton each murder long after the deed was done.

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