- An Inspector Calls
- The Crucible
- The Great Gatsby
- The Handmaid's Tale
- To Kill a Mockingbird
Please wait while we process your payment
Your password reset email should arrive shortly..
If you don't see it, please check your spam folder. Sometimes it can end up there.
Something went wrong
Log in or create account.
- Be between 8-15 characters.
- Contain at least one capital letter.
- Contain at least one number.
- Be different from your email address.
Don’t have an account? Subscribe now
Create Your Account
Sign up for your FREE 7-day trial
- Ad-free experience
- Flashcards & Quizzes
- AP® English Test Prep
- Plus much more
Already have an account? Log in
Choose Your Plan
$4.99 /month + tax
$24.99 /year + tax
Save over 50% with a SparkNotes PLUS Annual Plan!
Purchasing SparkNotes PLUS for a group?
Get Annual Plans at a discount when you buy 2 or more!
$24.99 $18.74 / subscription + tax
Subtotal $37.48 + tax
Save 25% on 2-49 accounts
Save 30% on 50-99 accounts
Want 100 or more? Contact us for a customized plan.
You'll be billed after your free trial ends.
7-Day Free Trial
Renews December 15, 2023 December 8, 2023
Discounts (applied to next billing)
SNPLUSROCKS20 | 20% Discount
This is not a valid promo code.
Discount Code (one code per order)
SparkNotes PLUS Annual Plan - Group Discount
SparkNotes Plus subscription is $4.99/month or $24.99/year as selected above. The free trial period is the first 7 days of your subscription. TO CANCEL YOUR SUBSCRIPTION AND AVOID BEING CHARGED, YOU MUST CANCEL BEFORE THE END OF THE FREE TRIAL PERIOD. You may cancel your subscription on your Subscription and Billing page or contact Customer Support at [email protected] . Your subscription will continue automatically once the free trial period is over. Free trial is available to new customers only.
For the next 7 days, you'll have access to awesome PLUS stuff like AP English test prep, No Fear Shakespeare translations and audio, a note-taking tool, personalized dashboard, & much more!
You’ve successfully purchased a group discount. Your group members can use the joining link below to redeem their group membership. You'll also receive an email with the link.
Members will be prompted to log in or create an account to redeem their group membership.
Thanks for creating a SparkNotes account! Continue to start your free trial.
Your PLUS subscription has expired
- We’d love to have you back! Renew your subscription to regain access to all of our exclusive, ad-free study tools.
- Go ad-free AND get instant access to grade-boosting study tools!
- Start the school year strong with SparkNotes PLUS!
- Start the school year strong with PLUS!
- Study Guide
- Mastery Quizzes
Unlock your FREE SparkNotes PLUS trial!
Unlock your free trial.
- Ad-Free experience
- Easy-to-access study notes
- AP® English test prep
A+ Student Essay: The Impact of the Monster's Eloquence
The monster in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein lurches into life as big as a man but as ignorant as a newborn. He can’t read, speak, or understand the rudiments of human interaction. When he stumbles upon the cottagers, however, he picks up language by observing them and studying their speech. It is this acquisition of language, along with the eloquence it brings, that turns the monster from a mysterious nightmare into a sympathetic and tragic figure. By showing how language transforms the monster, and by contrasting the well-spoken monster with his equally articulate creator, Shelley argues that verbal communication—rather than action or appearance—is the only way through which people can truly understand one another.
Before the monster learns to express himself, his actions are no less than terrifying. His escape from Victor’s workshop seems sinister and his murder of William apparently confirms the notion that he is a powerful, malignant beast capable of unmotivated violence. His shocking appearance does not help matters. Victor assumes, and Shelley invites us to assume along with him, that this being, with his patched-together body, his yellow skin, and his black lips, must have a soul that matches his hideous appearance.
When the monster speaks, however, he throws his actions into a different light. He explains that Victor’s desertion left him alone and frightened. He conveys how hurt he was when he realized that his appearance scares normal people. His stories about sympathizing with and secretly helping the cottagers show that he has an empathetic nature, and his tale of rescuing a young girl and getting a bullet for his trouble demonstrates his instinct to help those weaker than himself, sparking our outrage at society’s unwarranted cruelty toward him. Even the monster’s description of William’s murder makes the convincing case that fury at Victor drove the monster to violence—not an excuse, by any means, but certainly an explanation that is understandable and psychologically credible. By giving the monster the power of oratory, Shelley forces us to consider his behavior from an entirely different angle and to sympathize with his plight.
Shelley bolsters our sympathy for the monster by comparing his words to Victor’s. Frankenstein is Victor’s story; he has countless opportunities to argue his case and cast himself as the tragic hero of the tale. Despite his earnest—and long-winded—attempts to put himself in the right, however, Victor’s words only alienate us as they pile up. He feels little besides relief when the monster escapes; he lets Justine go to her death rather than risk his reputation by telling the truth; he whines and prevaricates; he heartlessly abandons and scorns his own creation. Ironically, Victor would be more appealing were he to lose the power of speech. Unlike his monster, he is no murderer. By themselves, his actions might seem reasonable. But because he bares his soul by communicating verbally to us, the readers, he reveals the unappealing motivations behind those reasonable actions and loses our trust and sympathy.
The monster’s eloquent words do not have the effect he intends: They fail to win Victor’s approval or gain his affection. They do have an effect he cannot foresee, however. By explicating himself and his actions, the monster gains our favor and turns himself into the hero of Victor Frankenstein’s narrative. And by pulling off this neat reversal, Shelley demonstrates the overwhelming importance of language in shaping individuals’ identities—as well as the perception of those identities by others.
Frankenstein SparkNotes Literature Guide
Ace your assignments with our guide to Frankenstein !
Popular pages: Frankenstein
Full book analysis summary, character list characters, victor frankenstein characters, themes literary devices, important quotes explained quotes, ambition quotes, full book quick quizzes, take a study break.