“Frankenstein” is a novel written by Mary Shelley, the story is based off the 18th century when things were very different as they are now. The 18th century was known as ‘The Enlightenment’, they called it this because this was the era of transition from everyone believing in God to the new ideas of science. Many philosophers investigated attributes of science, trying to prove the unknown. People started believing these ideas that the philosophers started and the knowledge started to grow more and more, incorporating into the everyday life. I believe that Mary Shelley had an interest for these theories and they played a big part of the novel. One of the most recognised philosophers-due to his many theories- was Immanuel Kant. We came across Immanuel’s ideas repeatedly across the novel, creating great impact and understanding of the story. Kant’s theory of “human nature” played a key role in the novel as The Monster and Frankenstein demonstrated vivid examples of this.
Immanuel Kant’s theory of “human nature” is influenced by understanding of the human mind, why people think and act the way they do. He was brought up in a very religious family, however, he decided to experiment with new theories about the world. Human nature was a big interest for Kant as he wanted to have a deeper understanding of how humans connect with each other and the world around us. Kant believes that because we can act based off our own choices and thoughts rather than a generic rule, we have more freedom in the world. Likes, dislikes, experiences, they are all things we personally alter and make us different as people. One of Kant’s passions was art, he loves creating and admiring all kinds of art work. This was how his ideas grew into theories and why his desire to share information was so strong, Immanuel believed that everybody should appreciate arts beauty as he did. Nature is a major part of art in Kant’s eyes, it is a very powerful, captivating and life-changing piece when come across it. Once Immanuel learnt how influential nature is, he started using this in his life, taking the beauty from the outside world and inserting it into his own. Immanuel would feel a sense of escape from reality whilst isolated in nature. Everything that can overload the mind, the stresses of life, disappear, therefore you develop a more calm way of looking at things. Thus overall brings out a better version of oneself. Kant figured that it was whether you utilised nature in this way that defines you, whether your heart drove you to the beauty or not. Throughout the novel “Frankenstein” we identified many instances where both the monster and Victor used nature as an escape to clear their head or even just to appreciate how stunning the world really is. In these scenes, we can clearly link that Mary Shelley has used this theory from Immanuel Kant to relate it to the time period and develop the characters personality, their approach on life.
Nature played an important role in Victor Frankenstein’s life, he appreciated all of the beautiful scenery wherever he went. One of Frankenstein’s favourite places was his home, Geneva. He describes Geneva as “the majestic and wondrous scenes which surrounded our Swiss home—the sublime shapes of the mountains, the changes of the seasons, tempest and calm, the silence of winter, and the life and turbulence of our Alpine summers” Victor sees Geneva as a magical place, it’s hi sown fairyland. He returns home when Victor feels as if he needs to clear his head. The environment allows Victor to be drawn in, having a tunnel vision on nature only as he feels so small surrounded by the mountains. Frankenstein also describes Geneva as “tempest” with the feeling of “turbulence”, this is because there is a lot of chaos in his life, different factors that are unpredictable overflow his mind. However, the reader acknowledges that Victor experiences mostly amazing, eye-opening elements to the nature around him, suggesting that when he is isolated in Geneva, it draws him out of the chaos and grounds him back to the moment. Victor explains how “The blue lake and snow- clad mountains—they never change” no matter what happens in people’s lives, the physical world around us will not change. Now that victor has realised this he believes that “our placid home and our contented hearts are regulated by the same immutable laws.” This means that the world doesn’t change, Geneva stays as Victor’s home, the place to go back to when feeling unsteady and it will help calm him, also that they days keep passing by, despite the stresses he might come across. ‘the palaces of nature,’ were not changed. By degrees the calm and heavenly scene restored me, and I continued my journey towards Geneva.” This quotes proves the idea of the presence of nature being soothing, giving everybody a clear mind. Victor sees nature now as a ‘palace’, giving it authority above other living things.
The monster was left to fight for himself in the novel, his creator, Victor Frankenstein, left him for dead. However, the monster was not going to accept this, he started to learn and grow through trial and error of his actions. He had to learn the basics of being a human from the beginning, he was a baby in this world. Therefore, the monster couldn’t talk or understand the environment around him, who the people were, where he was or even why he was there was a mystery to him. Home is a special place where you can always rely to go back to and be safe but for the monster, he did not have a home. The monster was obliged to build his own life, his own home, with no support from others. Alone in nature, the monster starts to experience the traits of human beings, he is becoming more aware of who he is. His feelings develop, he realises how lonely he is “I was a poor, helpless, miserable wretch” explaining that all he had was the “feeling pain invade me on all sides” therefore he had the natural human instinct and “sat down and wept.” However whilst being out there and experiencing these emotions, “a gentle light stole over the heavens and gave me a sensation of pleasure.” The natural moonlight dispersed over the monster, completely changing his mood. “I gazed with a kind of wonder. It moved slowly, but it enlightened my path, and I again went out in search of berries.” By being out at night, experiencing the rawness of nature, the monster was refreshed. Once the moonlight hit the monster, he was uplifted and had the desire to continue his quest for berries. The monster had many feelings of loss, loneliness and