Judgement By Appearance In Young Frankenstein

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In Mel Brook’s classic film Young Frankenstein, Gene Wilder’s creature struggles to overcome his revolting appearance in order to prove himself capable of human emotions and reasoning. While Brooks’s work is only a loose adaptation of the classic novel by Mary Shelley, it is worth noting that this specific theme – that moral character is unfairly judged by appearance – transcended both versions. Perhaps Brooks, like the audience that first read Frankenstein, realized that judgment by appearance is one of the most developed themes of the original novel, and one that continues to be the most poignant. Throughout the novel of Frankenstein, Mary Shelley argues that society unfairly judges by appearance, casting out anything that is socially…show more content…
Other characters who suffer a similar (though less drastic) fate as the creature include both Elizabeth and Justine. The fates of both women are decided by the men of their lives, nearly all of who are depicted as progressing feverishly in the never-ending quest for knowledge. For Shelley, the daughter of a feminist writer and a feminist herself, it must have been all too tempting to include the idea of equal women being unfairly sidelined in the aforementioned quest. Instead, Shelley plays it down, letting the diminutive roles of the women in a novel penned by a women to speak for themselves. Like the creature, the women of Frankenstein are banished from society for no fault of their own. The obvious implication, of course, is that women are naturally equal to men, and are merely the victims of a social subjugation. While several cinematic adaptations of the film exist, it is telling that this theme has been compromised in each. In the novel, the audience’s ability to connect to the creature is made possible by a crucial lack of knowledge. When the story hit the screen, the audience lost its ignorance, and the monster not surprisingly became vilified. It is a sorry and morose illustration of the same point Mary Shelley made in 1818, and one that mocks the notion of social
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