Functional Order: Ne-Fi-Te-Si
Perceiving Functional Axis:
Extroverted Intuition (Ne) / Introverted Sensing (Si)
Percy is an unabashed idealist. At one point in the film, Mary points out to him that he lives so much in a fantasy world of idealism, he refuses to deal with “the mess we have made.” He’s forever thinking of changing the world through radical ideas, and trying to do so through his books, but isn’t remotely realistic about the consequences of his actions. He, for example, espouses certain ideals and beliefs that he himself does not live up to or share, embracing the notion of love without commitment. He tells Mary she is fully able to carry on a sexual relationship with one of his friends if she wishes it, is angry at her when she is too “closed-minded” to even consider it, and then only finds out his tendencies toward jealousy when he sees her being friends with another man. It’s a disconnect between his bold ideas in a Regency time not ready for them, and the actual reality in which he lives. Percy asks Mary why she does not make Frankenstein more hopeful and positive, in its drive toward the future, failing to understand the symbolism of its metaphorical connection to abandonment. He fails at sensing things – over-doing to excess, taking comfort in material items, not keeping track of his expenses or his bills, and winding up living in poverty numerous times.
Judging Functional Axis:
Introverted Feeling (Fi) / Extroverted Thinking (Te)
He enjoys living “against” society and believes in doing whatever his heart desires, whether or not others approve, punish him for it, or cling to their “old fashioned ideas.” Unfortunately, Percy is rather self-centered, going after his own desires with no thought for Mary’s feelings (he carries on an affair with her sister behind her back), shaming her for her strong Fi values (“I will defend the right for others to live as they wish,” she says of promiscuity, “but you are the only one for me”). He rants against any system that forces people to do anything they do not want to do or constrains them in any way. Percy eventually comes to realize himself as the inspiration for Mary’s “doctor” in Frankenstein, as he takes responsibility for “the abandonment and devastation I have caused.” He can be harsh and blunt under stress, telling people off. He has a strong need to write things not only to change the world (Ne) but also make an income and generate the lifestyle to which he desires to live (Te).
Percy wants to avoid anything unpleasant or painful in his life, and that includes re-framing things from his past in an attempt to wriggle out of taking moral responsibility for them; after walking out on his wife and daughter, he claims they were very young, not ready for marriage, and blames society for not allowing them to divorce (truth is, he’s commitment-phobic and wants to leave if he gets bored). He wholeheartedly embraces a morals-free lifestyle, which means he does not have to be faithful to Mary – and feels threatened and reacts when she implies she does not want that, because he feels it’s constraining him and “not granting me the same freedoms I give you.” After their child dies, he attempts to forget her and to persuade Mary to abandon her 4ish need to mourn deeply her losses. He tries to convince her to make her novel more optimistic. Only in the end of the film does he show growing maturity, in recognizing the role he played in her misery, showing his final willingness to confront the demons of unhappiness rather than run away from them. His 6 wing does not particularly like conflict and can be naïve, but also needing of affirmation and reassurance, to be in a “like-minded” crowd who share his beliefs.
Review: Mary Shelley (2018).