Reversal Of Roles In Frnakenstein Essay, Research Paper
Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein opens with a series of letters from the arctic explorer Robert Walton to his sister Margaret Saville in England. In these letters Walton reveals his Promethean, “machismo” qualities to his sister as he heads, ambition unbridled, into an inhospitable world of ice and sea. Like Victor Frankenstein, whom he meets on the last leg of the journey of horror, Robert Walton writes unhinged from a deeper reason or wisdom. What if, though, we could enter the Frankenstein myth from the point of view of his sister, Margaret? Margaret’s letter to her ambitious brother would give the reader a sense of what Robert’s true nature is and what is fueling his journey.
Oh dear brother, I am truly happy for your optimistic forethought’s but yet there is still an itch in my heart that warns me of true danger to this celebrated voyage of your undertaking. Robert, ever since you were an infant you dreamed of altering the state of humanity. At first you studied the voyages of men like Cartier and Columbus but you grew tired of this and make a liking toward the classics. You say you wished to achieve the mastery of a poem yet even though you intrigued my fancy it was good to compare to that of Homer or Shakespeare, and thus inadequate. And now once again you wish to change the world as we perceive it by discovering the North Pole. Can you not see, Robert, that you only failed at leading the role of the poet because you set the criterion much too high? I can see this happening once again. You seem to believe it is fixed fate that you shall rise to the top of the world on an adventurous, yet dangerous journey that could very easily prove to be the demise of you or the elevation of your psyche.
Oh, Robert, I mean not to depress your spirits or foretell a dark future. I only mean to see what is the best and most safe for you. Brother, I love you and wish for nothing to ever wrong to fall upon your head yet I cannot simply dismiss this feeling of dread I behold whenever I dream of you sailing off into the cold bitter ice. I’m sorry for bringing up these dark apparitions of my mind but I could not let you go without at least warning you. Do not worry Robert, by most likely circumstances I am dearly wrong and am but fortune-telling like that of a lying gypsy.
On a lighter note, I just finished getting published in the London Times an article on the role of women in today’s society. The publisher enjoyed my work but still wanted to make changes. He thinks that I can be a regular writer for the Times. Isn’t that splendid! Of course, there are the obvious problems of being a women writer and having such fiery opinions on today’s topics. I am going to be a writer and I owe it all to you, Robert. If you had not encouraged me to bring forth my creative power I would have never gotten this far. I thank you brother. I just hope that the world will know my name like they will know yours.
Brother, once again I must warn you against the spectres and demons that you may encounter in your journey to the North. One more word Robert. I read those books in Uncle Tom’s library at times and noticed an article that at times deemed to be interesting but now may be worth to your safety and well being. In the mid 1660’s when the whole search for the pole began the governments around the world spent much time and money searching for the answer to what the climate is like at the top of the world. They discovered that the pole was cold and rigid. Myth arose of the riches that the pole possessed and many voyages to sent out to find these. The only conclusion these voyagers came upon was that the pole is a place of death and a desolate hell. Robert can you see that the North Pole is not a land of tropic leisure but a frozen death. Once again I could be wrong but even if there is a hint of truth behind what I’ve said then isn’t that enough to question what you are doing? I reiterate that I mean not to curse you with my worries but to only seek what is safest for you.
I must be going now brother. May heaven always send an angel to protect and lead you through life. Good luck in your discovery. Your caring sister, Margaret Saville.
Mary Shelly could have easily exchanged the positions of the author, Robert Walton, with the receiver, Margaret, of these numerous letters in the introduction of Frankenstein. The influence that this new author would have on the story could have greatly changed the tone at which the story was perceived. Margaret would be responding in perhaps a more “feminine” way to what happened to her brother and also the overall mood that encompasses the Frankenstein story. The reader would perhaps see the “animal” as not a killer but a mistreated and misunderstood creature. Blame could then be brought upon his creator for abandoning his creation and for not even giving the “creature” a chance. The author’s sensitivity would influence how the story would be told and great detail would be placed on the loveless world that life was created upon. More emotion would come to this story and would have possibly caused the various movies to focus on this rather than a psychotic murderer.