A Rose for Emily is a 1939 tragic and gothic story by William Faulkner while Frankenstein is an 1818 story by Shelly. The former revolved around the life of Emily which is told in a first person plural fashion giving the impression that it represents a unified voice and views of the town people toward Emily’s life and as such depicts the white society in the south. Emily is represented as a dejected woman who has the desire to fit in the societal expectation of a woman including the need the need to be get married and live happily ever after. As such Emily gets distressed at her supposed suitor rejection of her feelings and it is assumed that she kills and lives with the corpse for forty years, sleeping by its side, since in life he would never have married her (Claridge 50-55). On the same note the theme of revenge in Frankenstein, comes out clearly partly as a result of rejection- on the monsters side and a felt need to get even for the murders it commits on Frankenstein side. Revenge as a common theme in the two stories comes out as an irrational ways of settling dispute and alleviating pain and hurt. Revenge is impulsive leading to such tragic action as murder.
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Emily’s macabre bridal closet represented an extreme attempt to prevent change even though by doing so was at the expense human life. The town people believed all of the young men in town seemed not to measure up to Emily’s standards. They thought of the family as one that regarded itself more superior than the others with the authoritarian father watching over each of Emily’s steps so that she could not pick up the wrong suitor. The township strongly believed that Emily, even with insanity in her family, would not have turned down all of her chances if they had really materialized.” Her frustration with Homer over his refusal to marry her despite the fact that she was advance in age made her seek revenge by killing him (Claridge 58)
Similarly Frankenstein yearned for fame as a scientist to such unorthodox means to acquire at the expense of the people he loved most; his brother and his wife, Elizabeth. He wanted to discover life’s secrets so that humanity could live devoid of the fear that one day they would die. His experiments went wrong resulting in a creation that was monstrous, ugly as well as strong. None of the human being including Frankenstein could look at the monster with love. The only feeling it enlisted from the people was fear. Human being failed to understand his need for affection and love which in reality is what he had wanted from them. When the monster effort to establish relationship with the resulted in more aggression towards him, he sought revenge (Frankenstein 7) .The horrendous looking monster was loathed and as a result driven to the countryside without the opportunity for either friendship or human companionship. This is the same case in Emily’s scenario. The township thought she would be better off dead. The father had rejected all her male suitors and the one who the whole of township thought would marry her turned out to be guy and not the marrying type. She was thus denied an opportunity at companionship and friendship from the township who thought her better dead and companionship by homer.
Revenge is an ugly phenomenon which is brought out in both stories though the symbolic representation of the characters who orchestrated revenge. The monster, 8 feet tall and horribly ugly resulted in its outright rejection by the entire society. Nevertheless the monstrosity emanated not only from its grotesque form but also from the manner of his creation which was unnatural. It involved secretive animation of a myriad of stolen parts of the body as well as strange chemical components. He was thus a product of supernatural workings as opposed to a collaborative and systematic scientific effort. Revenge could be said to be monstrous in nature, something would be recipient dreams due to its possible outcome. The monster itself ran for its dear life following victors resolve to avenge his brother death by killing it.
In Emily’s case, the nature of revenge is also horrid. Her description as she went to purchase the poison which the townspeople thought she would use to kill herself, was horrid, a reflection of the pain she was going through as a result loneliness. Her father had died living her unmarried which was his fault as he seemed to send off all her suitors. Now that Homer was guy and not interested in marrying her, she sought to kill him. She was described as having cold, conceited black eyes on a very thin face as she asked the druggist for the poison Arsenic. The people did consider her insane when she held on to her father’s dead body following his demise. The people believed that it was only natural for her to behave that way given the number of young men the father had driven away and with his death left nothing for her to cling to. She had to cling to the very person who had robbed her. The impulsive nature of revenge comes out (Claridge 60-65)
As in Emily’s case where she clung to her father’s corpse as well as the murder of Homer, the irrationality of revenge is brought out in Frankenstein case in a number of ways. When Frankenstein learnt about his brother’s murder, he was sure that the monster was the one behind it. He was devastated by guilt and grief out of the realization that the very creature he had worked so hard to create was the source of so much pain and destruction. Furious about the happening he made as resolve to kill the monster, pouncing on him when the opportunity presented itself while at the woods. However the revenge attempt was unsuccessful at this juncture given the monsters agility and huge size compared to its creator. In his anger, Frankenstein was blind to the fact that the monster was way superior to him and as such killing him would require little effort, a classical case where the hunter becomes the hunted (Fargnoli, Michael and Hamblin 45) the monster strangled William Frankenstein, who was Victor’s youngest brother as well as the dearest of Frankenstein family. He did this in order to hurt Frankenstein for deserting him. Clearly the brother had done nothing to deserve being killed, nor had subsequent victims such as Justin and Elizabeth.
The monster tried to explain to Frankenstein the reason for his actions. He had abandoned him as a result of his horrid look necessitating the need to seek revenge for his abandonment. While out in the woods he observed De Lacey family and became enlightened and self aware. He realized that he was different, as far as his physical appearance was concerned, from the human being he watched go by their lives. In loneliness he sought De Laceys friendship only to be met with violence which was basically out of his horrid look. The rejection made him seek more revenge against his creator. Frankenstein sought to settle the dispute by creating another monster to keep it company. However he destroyed the unfinished project in the presence of the monster who in turn vowed to revenge for the action on Frankenstein’s wedding night. He ended up killing Elizabeth something that surprised Frankenstein as he thought that the monster had meant his own death. Frankenstein vowed to hunt the monster until either of them destroyed the other (Fargnoli, Michael and Hamblin 20)
All in all the theme of revenge comes out as a theme in both stories. Emily dies a dejected woman while the monster was left guilty and remorseful after Frankenstein death. He mourned over his Frankenstein body as he justified his vengeance as well as expressed remorse. His crime increased his misery the more instead of bringing him peace. He thus decided to kill himself so that the others would never find the truth about him. On the same note, Emily secluded herself coming in the open occasionally. She managed to hide her vengeful nature for forty years.
Nature of revenge: In both a Rose for Emily and Frankenstein.
1. Revenge is destructive and impulsive. In both a rose for Emily and Frankenstein, we find that out of vengeance hurt and loss of life results. Emily murders Homer and the Monster murders among four people including William, Justin, Elizabeth and Cleverly all of who are closest to Frankenstein, the person who deserves the monster’s anger. The monster too is disturbed by his revenge mission, which is destructive, and decides to end his life.
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2. Revenge is also irrational. The monster hurts people who are closest to Frankenstein despite the fact that they have not wronged him. He fails to vent his anger on victor Frankenstein who is his creator and who abandons hi. He also fails to vent his anger on de Lacey’s family who seclude him and are also violent towards him. Emily vents her anger on Homer who is does not deserve it since he sexual inclination is not towards the opposite sex, he is guy. Equally important in Emily’s case is the fact that she hopes to cling on her father body as she thinks by doing so she is getting even for the many men he sent away from her.
3. In both cases is as a result of denial of love and human companionship. In Emily’s case she fails to have Homer the love of her life to marry her and in Frankenstein’s case, the monster initially avenges for his creators abandonment.
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