Frankenstein

by: Mary Shelley

Natural Goodness

Quotes Natural Goodness
“I was benevolent and good; misery made me a fiend.”

The monster speaks these lines to explain the origin of his violent behavior. He makes it clear that he was not initially a bad individual, but that because he was abandoned, neglected, and lonely, he began to lash out. This quote is important because it illustrates the perspective that individuals are generally born good, no matter what their appearance, but that environmental influences are the most powerful determinants of their later behavior.

“What chiefly struck me was the gentle manners of these people; and I longed to join them, but dared not.”

This quote shows the perspective of the monster as he observes the De Lacey family. Since this is his first chance to closely observe human beings, he could be struck by many things, but he focuses on the kindness and consideration they show to one another. This interest reveals the monster’s desire to learn to function as part of a family and his tendency to naturally gravitate towards goodness.

“I afterwards found that these labours, performed by an invisible hand, greatly astonished them; and once or twice I heard them, on these occasions, utter the words “good spirit” “wonderful”

This quotation describes the reaction of the De Lacey family to the work the monster does to help them. He takes it upon himself to bring them extra firewood and other supplies, and they are very grateful since they live in poverty. Based on the kindness of these acts, the family assumes that whoever is helping them is good and benevolent. However, when they actually encounter the monster, they are unable to see past his repulsive appearance. It seems impossible to them that kind actions could be performed by a grotesque being.

“Am I to be thought the only criminal, when all humankind sinned against me?”

The monster speaks these lines to call attention to the way in which his actions are rooted in the trauma he experienced. While he doesn’t deny his role in the violent deaths of a number of characters, he insists on the fact that he is also a victim. He cannot accept being positioned as the villain when he believes that the humans around him have also been cruel and uncompassionate. This quote calls attention to the fact that it is easy to see the monster as violent and monstrous without stopping to consider what made him that way.