In Edmund Burke’s construct of society, the behavior of the Man is fundamental to how that society functions. Burke claims that imitation, ambition, and sympathy are the driving forces behind human communication, which in itself is the foundation for society. Sympathy is particularly important because it is the act of directly identifying with another person. Sympathy thus is the most integral of the three, as it extends beyond both ambition and imitation, which are both often limited to the person themselves. Thus, it can be argued that the emotion of sympathy is the most fundamental in humans and, in the case of Frankenstein, the humanoid monster that is Frankenstein’s monster.

Frankenstein’s monster, for all intents and purposes, is an incomplete human construct. However, he still possesses the basest of human instincts, with sympathy being arguably his strongest driving instinct. When Frankenstein’s monster confronts Frankenstein he demands that Frankenstein construct a female counterpart:

“You must create a female for me with whom I can live in the interchange of those sympathies necessary for my being. This you alone can do, and I demand it of you as a right which you must not refuse to concede.” (Shelley 128)

The monster directly states his motive for wanting a counterpart is for the “interchange of…sympathies necessary for my being”. Interestingly, he specifically requires a female, perhaps in an effort to sympathize with Frankenstein’s own companionship with Elizabeth. He directly equates the interchange of sympathies with a necessity on the magnitude of something required for survival. He claims his demands are within his “right” as a living creature, and Frankenstein, as his creator, cannot “refuse to concede” this “right”. The monster uses very authoritative and imperative language because he understands that the desire to sympathize and receive sympathy with another living creature is one of the most fundamental instincts of a human, or in this case a humanoid construct.

Advertisements