15 The brief history of psychoanalytic criticism on Frankenstein ..

Frankenstein Essays - Psychoanalytical Criticism of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

Psychoanalytic criticism of Frankenstein

Andyet as we shall see, the real monster in isthe scientist whose monstrous empathic failure comes back tohaunt him.Published in 1818 to immediate popular and literary acclaim, has been slow to receive the closepsychoanalytic scru- tiny it richly deserves.

Frankenstein psychoanalytic criticism essay

The monster's most obvious difference from Safie, of course, and the one that epitomizes all the rest, is that he is a monster and cannot sustain the invisibility of what the Symbolic order excludes. Simply by showing himself, he loses even his tenuous access to language, because people can see him only as an unspeakably alien figure. Excluded from all families, he begins his journey through the world by exacting revenge against the family. Little William taunts him with the words, "'My papa is a Syndic - he is M. Frankenstein - he will punish you'" (123) and displays his miniature portrait of his mother, in effect bragging about his possession of the father's name, the power of the Law, and the figurative mother. The monster responds as if he is the literal maternal body for which the portrait is the substitute, the prelinguistic mother returned, as it were, from the dead to gain her revenge. He kills William and then places the miniature on Justine, not merely in order to condemn her but unwittingly to demonstrate that she is already condemned by such a picture to silence and death. In this act the monster shows that he need not destroy the family, for it destroys itself; William's mother is already dead, cast out so that her son Victor could become a man. Excluded from the family, the monster condemns it to the condition of excluding him, of missing something he represents. Very well, he seems to say; if you wish to live without me, your Imaginary mother, you will forever lack precisely what you desire, and in place of your women you will have only pictures of the dead.

Moreover, we will never know moreabout a fictional character than the text gives us.Nevertheless, psychoanalytic theory can illuminate a literarycharacter's conflicts and interpersonal relationships.

Psychoanalytic Criticism of Relationship ..

Obviously Shelley didn't write her classic novel just so it could be fodder for psychoanalytic theory. But Freudian psychoanalysis can help us to uncover yet another layer of significance in Shelley's endlessly layered and rich text. Her creature represents human nature at its darkest.

Psychoanalysis Of Frankenstein. American Literature

Note, though, that the creature is inherently dark. He becomes evil because he's shunned by his father (Oedipal conflict strikes again) and by the broader community. To read psychoanalytically, then, is not merely to hurl insults at the poor creature; it's also to see how the creature's first experiences lead to the formation of his violent character.

Gender Criticism and Frankenstein Essay Example | …

This is Hamlet's promise to the ghost of his father. The prince solemnly swears here to obey the "commandment" laid down by his father. (Note the association between paternity and law, which is classically psychoanalytic.)

Gender Criticism and Frankenstein - Essay ..

The neglectis more surprising in light of the numerous reprintings of thenovel, its translation into many languages, and the legendarystatus of the Frankenstein movies. Freud was unaware of the novel'sexistence, and the early psychoanalytic literary critics ignoredit in favor of other stories.

“Gender Criticism and Frankenstein ..

It is all too easy for literary critics to apply their knowledge of psychoanalysis to literary texts by finding in those fictions the complexes that Freud described. Such an approach assumes that psychoanalysis possesses a truth that reveals the meaning of literary texts, a meaning that they themselves did not recognize. But the more closely one examines Freud and psychoanalytic practice, generally, the more one realizes that psychoanalysis itself tells stories, invents scenarios of development, and guesses at meanings and events: it too deals in fictions and cannot entirely rise above the bewildering complexity of the unconscious. Similarly, the more one examines works of literature written before Freud, the more they seem to have been, in some strange way, already aware of psychoanalysis or of the unconscious.