Compare and Contrast Essay on "Men Against Fire" and Shelley's Frankenstein Theme of Other

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  4
Wordcount:  1065 Words
Date:  2022-05-16


Throughout Mary Shelley's Frankenstein novel, there are two main attributes in the society that form the basis of relationships among its members; The prominence of appearance and the acceptance in society. The Monster, becomes the subject of rejection and isolation on the sole grounds of his deformity and ugliness, which the society associates with evil. Not even the good deed of the Monster of saving a drowning girl is able to redeem him from the society's prejudice, he is shot just because of his appearance. Comparatively, the Black Mirror's episode "Men Against Fire" shows the continued modern society's biases due to the appearance. The soldiers are disillusioned, using MASS implant technology, to view the enemy, as roaches endangering the human civilization to make it easier for them to kill in cold blood and with less remorse. This essay will compare and contrast the "Men Against Fire" and Shelley's Frankenstein theme of Other to show how in both fictions dehumanization eventually inflicts fear towards the humankind consequently justifying their evil actions.

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Technology and Dehumanization: MASS Implant in "Men Against Fire"

In the "Men Against Fire," the dehumanization of the enemy is executed using a MASS technology that modifies the perceived image in the soldiers' senses. The technology allows Stripe, who is a volunteer soldier to the program, to see his enemies on a map and as Roaches, he needed to kill. As Caterina, one of the enemy under attack by Stripe's side, explains the system screens, checks the DNA and registers the victim as a filthy creature that is a threat to the soldiers (Men Against Fire). This scene provokes similar sentiment to the reader as in Shelley's novel when the Monster confronts Victor's youngest brother, William. It is easy to compare the Monster with Roaches as they fall victims to due to dehumanization resulting from their appearance. The proceeding scene of the same episode where Arquette, the brain behind the MASS system, is having a conversation with Stripe further exposes dehumanization as at tact to improve the efficiency of the soldiers during the war. In one of the responses to Stripe, Arquette utters "...him? You mean it ..."(Men Against Fire) to remind him that he does not have to feel guilty because the brutal actions were directed towards a "thing", not a human being. Arquette further continues to justify the unethical approach of modifying soldier's senses by telling Stripe that "...It's a lot easier to pull the trigger when you're aiming at the bogeyman..."(Men Against Fire). This assertion is a clear proof that the modern society, just like Shelley's in her novel, capitalizes on dehumanization to enable them to carry out heinous activities to the party considered as the enemy.

The Justification of Brutal Actions: Dehumanization as a Tool

Just like in the Men Against Fire, Shelley uses the appearance of the Monster to portray a selfish society that considers anything lacking similar fundamental attributes with human as lesser or inferior and consequently should be treated as such. The reader can feel the injustices and unfairness imposed to the Monster just because his outlook falls without the boundary of beauty which human beings erroneously consider as a virtue of good. Similarly, to the enemy in the Black Mirror's Men Against Fire where the enemy is sub humanized because of the muscular dystrophy, substandard IQ, sexual deviances and higher rates of cancer, the Monster's ugliness casts him to shun and discrimination that eventually push him to breaking point characterized by vengeance and hatred to mankind. While in Black Mirror the victims are killed by the soldiers, in the novel, the Monster is tormented in loneliness and rejection from every encounter with humans including his own creator, Victor Frankenstein. The height of frustration can be seen when he tells Frankenstein "...I'm alone and miserable. Only someone as ugly as I am could love me..." (Shelley 137). Additionally, the description of the Monster's face as "...wrinkled in contortions too horrible for the human eye to behold..." (Shelley 64) after denial of a polite request for a partner clearly shows his appearance had obscured Frankenstein judgement to an emotional reaction. In his opinion, a creature such as him deserved to be alone.

The Consequences of Dehumanization: Loneliness and Vengeance

However, while, evidently, the technology during Shelley's social context and the modern society has changed how dehumanizing is carried out, fear remains the primary cause and effect of this hideous action. For instance, from the novel, when the Monster is isolated and shunned by the unthankful humankind, he says "...if I cannot inspire love, I will cause fear..." (Shelley 51). Clearly, just like human beings, the Monster desired nothing but love and acceptance more than anything but he could not gain it until he stroke fears to his oppressors. The relentless hostility even amidst his benevolent actions provoke him to use the alternate strategy. Another proof of fear as a resultant of dehumanization is when the monster reassures Frankenstein that he is "...fearless and therefore powerful." (Shelley 67). Fear was the last resort after the efforts to convince his creator to create him a companion, which unfortunately were denied because of the presumption he was an evil creature. In the Men Against Fire, conversely, fear has been shown as the primary trigger for dehumanization. The fear that the empathetic nature of human beings may hinder them from surviving in the face of the enemy because of their inability to kill a fellow human. They, therefore, implant their soldiers with the MASS system to make it easier for them to kill without apprehension and without fear of mental illness that comes from participating in a war.


From the comparison of the analysis of the Frankenstein novel and the Black Mirror's Men Against Fire episode, it is evident that human beings are less bothered by brutal actions towards others if the antagonist is dehumanized. In Frankenstein, the assumption that the ugly looking monster is evil grants its creator and the society permission to shun it without guilt while in Black Mirrors portrayal of the enemy as roaches out to endanger human lives makes it easier for the soldiers to them. While fear has been shown as the key trigger and resultant of dehumanization, it is imperative to note that it is erroneous to discriminate just on the basic appearance and the outlook of things.

Work Cited

"Men Against Fire" Black Mirror (2018). Retrieved from

Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft. Frankenstein, or, The Modern Prometheus, 1818. Engage Books, AD Classic, 2009.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for Essay:

Q: What are the main themes explored in your essay?

A: My main topic in the essay is dehumanization based on appearance and its consequences, specifically by comparing Mary Shelley's Frankenstein with the Black Mirror episode "Men Against Fire".

Q: How Does "Men Against Fire" Depict Dehumanization?

A: "Men Against Fire" depicts dehumanization through MASS implant technology, which alters soldiers' perceptions of the enemy by depicting them as filthy creatures known as Roaches that pose an existential threat - making it easier for soldiers to kill without any regret.

Q: How does Mary Shelley's Frankenstein illustrate dehumanization?

A: Frankenstein shows dehumanization by depicting its central figure - The Monster - being rejected and isolated solely on account of his physical appearance by society, which views any deformities or signs of evil as indicative of wrongdoing and thus results in his mistreatment and isolation from human interaction.

Cite this page

Compare and Contrast Essay on "Men Against Fire" and Shelley's Frankenstein Theme of Other. (2022, May 16). Retrieved from

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