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Essay on the Human Spirit in Frankenstein and Picture of Dorian Grey

Similarities of the Human Spirit in Frankenstein and The Picture of Dorian Grey

The human spirit is one of the most beautiful forces in the world, but it is also one of the most vulnerable. In the novels Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and The Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde, this idea of the human spirit is portrayed clearly. Both novels have similar aspects about the human spirit, but they also have their differences. Both novels have main characters who are influenced greatly by someone that they admire, and they are destroyed by that influence. The difference that these novels have is that in Frankenstein, the main character is influenced and destroyed by something he creates himself, while in The Picture of Dorian Grey, the main character is influenced and destroyed by his friend and mentor. Again, both novels portray the human spirit’s motivation and vulnerability.

In the novel Frankenstein, Victor, the main character, is driven to insanity and death by his motivation, his own creation. He dedicates all of his time and knowledge to create a living human being from dead tissue. This “monster” becomes his motivation and influence throughout the rest of the novel. Victor blames himself and feels guilt for all of th…

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… Dorian converses with Lord Henry, and takes everything that Lord Henry said seriously, even though not everything that Lord Henry said was right.

Basically, the difference that these two novels have over the idea that the human spirit is a very strong, but vulnerable force is that a person’s motivation to do something great and his infatuation with that great thing will influence the spirit greatly, sometimes totally, and that believing in someone and somebody so much, no matter what they say, you will listen to them and let them have total control over you and your actions, even though that influence probably doesn’t know that.

The Consequences of Man’s Ambition

Motivation is the main element towards success. Students, scientist, teachers and/ or any individual who wants to reach a goal needs to be motivated/ambitious. This motivation/ambition is what guides and keep people going. This ambition may be geared towards inventing/creating something, obtaining more money, and/or succeeding. The ambition people have are good, but sometimes lead to bad consequences. These consequences set the relationship between action and ambition. But, no matter what the goal is people with ambitions will not stop until their goal is met. Ambition towards obtaining something is what motivates people. For example Victor Frankenstein wanted to create a human being. As Mary Shelley writes in “Frankenstein”, Victor Frankenstein wanted to be “the first to break through life and death ideal bonds”(231). His ambition was to create a human and to break these boundaries. But most importantly, he wanted to be recognized as the first individual to do this. This recognition would make him famous forever. The only thing he thought of was to break the boundaries of life and create a human creature.

Victor Frankenstein is not the only person who has had an ambition. People who are not scientist also have ambitions. Some ambitions could be to become very rich, be elected into office, enter a certain university, etc. These ambitions are very difficult to attain. But if people really want to meet their goal, they will not stop until this is meet. For example, a politician who wants to be elected will do anything on his power to get voters to vote for him/her. This may require for him/her to spend a lot of money on the campaign. Another example is a student who wants to enter a certain university. This student will try to me…

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… should always lead them in the correct direction, so that later on in life there are not regrets. The actions will make him/her feel successful or unsuccessful. Victor Frankenstein said after reaching his ambition, “but now that I have finished, the beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled my hear”(Shelley,233). This is exactly the way a person will feel if inappropriate actions are taken. The ambition people have should always have positive results.


Bishop, J. Michael. “Enemies of Promise.” The Presence of Others:Voices that Call for Response. 2nd ed. Ed Andrea A. Lunsford and John J.Ruszkiewics. New York:St Martin’s Press, 1997. 255-263.

Shelley, Mary. “Frankenstein.” The Presence of Others:Voices that Call for Response. 2nd ed. Ed Andrea A. Lunsford and John J. Ruszkiewics. New York:St Martin’s Press, 1997. 230-235.

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