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Passion vs Reason

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Adam Finch

on 6 April 2015

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Transcript of Passion vs Reason

Excess of
Excess of
Chaos - Frankenstein's Monster's behavior
One's passion vs another's passion - conflict between Frankenstein and the monster
Like Icarus - fly too close to the sun
Harm to self or others - Victor's passion
Loss of humanity - No feeling, emotion, compassion - loss of what makes us human
Lack of motivation
Lack of control - Justine's trial
The Monster's Passion
- Dr. Frankenstein intends to complete the "creation of a human being" (ch. 4; pg 38)
- One of the key characteristics of humans is passion: Frankenstein knew his creation would have emotions and feelings.
-The monster later blames his creator for the amount of passion he posesses, claiming that Frankenstein is "the cause of its excess" (ch. 7; pg 125).
Passion in Frankenstein
Overall, Shelley conveys that passion is necessary in order to acheive success in life, however too much passion can consume and take over individuals. One of the biggest tests of humanity is learning to control this passion. One way to control passion through the application of logic and reason...
Victor Frankenstein's Passion
Start to build the creature
Has a strong passion that causes him to lose "all soul and sensation but for this one pursuit" (Ch 4; 39).
Consumed by obsession - neglects everything else
Victor himself grew alarmed at the wreck [he] perceived that [he] had become" (Ch 4; 41).
Effects of a passion taken too far
Beneficial to work hard, work with zeal
Neglects well being
Harming himself
Frankenstein's Reason Clashes with his Passion
Monster asks for a partner
Victor is conflicted
Instinctive passion tells him to ignore whatever requests the monster makes
Reason tells him to recognize his responsibilites as a creator
Juxtaposing the two natures shows faults and how balance is important
The Monster's Reason
Although the monster is more prone to give in to passion than to use reason, there are a few instances in the book when using reason benefits the monster:
-When studying the humans at the DeLacey cabin
-When convincing Frankenstein to create a mate for him

Is it possible to have too much reason?
Monster and Victor warn about having too much passion
Justine shows effect of too much reason
She gives in to the "harsh, unfeeling reasoning" of her accusers (Ch 6; 70).
Not enough passion to defend herself
Feels as if she cannot do anything, accepts fate
Example of what happens when there is no
How Are Passion and Reason Balanced?
Shelley is clearly indicating that passion needs to be balanced with logic. If either one overpowers the other, it yields catastrophic consequences.


“Reason, ruling alone, is a force confining; and passion, unattended, is a flame that burns to its own destruction.”
-Kahlil Gibran
Passion - strong and barely controllable emotion - When judgements are made based on
Passion is one of the key characteristics that make up human beings.

Reason - the power of the mind to think, understand, and form judgements by a process of

Conflicted over time
Considered one of humanity's greatest struggles
Historical context - Shelley's time
Notes that “none but those who have experienced [discoveries] can conceive of the enticements of science … in scientific pursuit there is a continual food for discovery and wonder” (Ch 4; 36).
In awe of scientific potential
Passion Can Overtake a "Good" Pursuit
-The monster admits to feeling guilty about letting passion take over and committing crimes. He knows that "passion is detrimental" (ch. 17; pg 125) to his well being.
- However, he struggles throughout the story to control his passion.
- Eventually, passion takes over his entire life as he devotes all of his time and efforts to making Frankenstein miserable.

“A fiendish rage animated him as he said this; his face was wrinkled into contortions too horrible for human eyes to behold" (ch. 17; pg 125)

animate: bring to life
Working toward scientific advancement
Considered good
However, passion is unchecked by anything
Reason would tell him otherwise
Focuses on achieving goal, blindly builds creature
Does not know when to stop!
Shows how it CONSUMES an individual
Human beings must keep both their passion and reason in check, as an excess of either cause disastrous consequences. Having these two opposing forces oppose each other reduces their individual power. An excess of unbalanced passion can lead to loss of realationships, while an excess of unchecked reason often leads to dehumanization.
There are several things the monster is passionate about in this text:
- The desire to have a mate
- Part of this passion is the resentment of lonliness
- Towards the end of the novel the monster is driven by an intense rage towards his creator, Dr Frankenstein.

Victor listens to the monster's request for a mate
Immediately responds and tells him that "no torture ... shall ever extort consent" (Ch 17; 124)
Recognizes monster's passion - counters
His passion with his decision seems unbreakable
Sees how his life is torn apart
Wants vengeance and punishment for his creation
Sees nothing but his own pain and suffering
Seeing Victor's anger, the monster appeals
Argues about unjust treatment by humanity, how he has been ostracized and hated because of his appearance
Wonders if he "shall respect man when he contems [him]" (Ch 17; 124)
Victor is moved and saw "some justice in his argument" (Ch 17; 125)
Frankenstein asks himself if "as his maker [he] owes him all the portions of happiness that [he could] bestow" (Ch 17; 125).
Logic/Reason leads to development and knowledge
-When the monster first enters the world, he is a "miserable wretch" who can "distingusish nothing" (ch. 11; pg 84)
-He slowly uses his reason to learn more about the world, and his "mind [recieves] every day additional ideas" (ch. 11; pg 85).
-Reasoning to him self about how the world works allows him to develop rapidly in his social, mental, and physical skills. He gains much knowledge from simply observing and reasoning about the human world and the inhabitants in it.

REASONING: the action of thinking about something in a logical, sensible way.
- The monster tries to convince Frankenstein to create him a companion to live with.
- This is something he is very passionate about
- When Frankenstein's first reaction is a definite no, he begins to let passion take over.
- However, before he lets the passion completely consume him, "he presently [calms] himself and [proceeds], 'I intend to reason" (ch. 17; 125).
- Using reason, he is able to convince Frankenstein to create him a mate.
Reasoning with someone instead of losing your temper is always a good strategy.
Proper judgement
Intelligent yet human individual
Know one's limits, but have zeal in pursuits
The BEST of humanity
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