Over the first half of the term we have been studying Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” and Graham Greene’s “The Destructors”. The object of this coursework is to compare the two stories: what their perception of the nature of evil is and the ways they turn them into fiction. The main contrast between the texts concerning “where evil comes from? ” is that Mary Shelley’s reason for the fiend becoming evil is that several times during his life, he was mistreated: Victor Frankenstein in the early days neglected and abandoned him when he was tying to be friendly.
This caused the fiend to be lonely and sad because he had no one. After this, the creature tried to be sociable to a family living in a cottage; he helped with their chores and looked up to them. When he confronted them however they didn’t want to know and violently turned him away. The creature now becomes evil and hates all humans. Mary Shelley believes that humans are not born evil but it is how they are brought up and what they experience that causes them to be evil.
This is shown by the fact that the fiend was mistreated and therefore turned evil. Graham Greene on the other hand sees evil in another way: “T” the leader is also evil but in the story, we are given several reasons to why he is evil. These are that he is unhappy, jealous of the occupant of the house, crazy, he has a talent for destruction or he is gaining revenge on architecture because his father was dismissed from that job. Graham Greene’s view is that evil is very mysterious by the fact there is no clear motive for “T’s” actions.
In “Frankenstein” the fiend’s life allows Marry Shelley to dramatize her ideas about evil; this is because the creature began his life as a charitable and affectionate character. However Victor Frankenstein didn’t want anything to do with him and left. Also Mary Shelley deceives us into thinking that the fiend Victor Frankenstein has created is evil when he in fact tried to be friendly but “turned bad” due to ill treatment. She makes the creature seem evil outside Geneva and the way she does this is by associating the fiend with harsh conditions.
For example he meets him on a stormy night when it is raining hard and very cold; Mary Shelley uses “dismally” to describe the weather to emphasize the dullness. Also the background to this scene is the mountains which connects the creature with hostile conditions. Mary Shelley uses a lot of strong emotive language that doesn’t provide us with a visual image but tells us that he is too hideous to look at. Some examples of this are “ugly”, “horrid”, and “hideous”. Also “Depraved wretch”, which suggests that he lacks any decency and completely immoral is used.
“Filthy daemon”, is used to provide a strong connection with hell and evil. During the book we find out that Mary Shelley has deceived us, by the revelation that the fiend in fact was a kind person but turned evil due to certain incidences, he experienced, where he was mistreated. This is a big surprise because up to that point in the book Victor Frankenstein leads us to believe that the fiend was morally wrong, for example he says “demoniacal corpse” and “monster” which make us think that he is evil. Also we found out, after that he murdered Victor’s sister which makes us think he is even more evil.
However we are told that he in fact started out life as a kind and caring person but because of Victor and other peoples’ actions turned against humanity. Mary Shelley did this to make us think that all beings start out good but may become bad if ill-treated and not to look at things at face value. In “The Destructors” the main character “T” who instigates the demolition of “Old Misery’s” house has no principal motives. However we are given hints of certain motives to why he longs to do this. These are that on Page 168, it says, “His father, a former architect and present clerk, had “come down in the world””.