Frankenstein the Monster?
I would like to use this blog post to talk about Frankenstein. Everyone knows how big an impact this novel is in the media, so I’m not going to go into that because I’ll just end up rehashing what was already said. Instead, I would to delve deeper into mythos of Frankenstein, seeing who the two main characters, Victor Frankenstein and the creature, are really are.
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is a horror story with many achievements. It is known to be one of the greatest, one of the most recognizable and one of the most significant works the literary world has ever seen. According to a synopsis, this story features a man and a monster. But who is the monster?
On the one hand, you have Victor Frankenstein, a man with an educated and loving childhood with parents and a younger brother named William, a cousin and love interest named Elizabeth and a dear childhood friend named Henry Clerval. While attending college in Igolstadt, Frankenstein became enthralled in the world of science, so much so that he wanted to create something grand. He wanted to create life.
But when he completed his work, his look of wonder quickly turned to a look of horror at the hideous creature he created. He immediately rejected his own creation with disgust, which inadvertently led to the creature murdering his creator’s loved ones.
But on the other hand, there was the creature who looked hideous but one could argue possesses a heart. The creature at first acted like a child who just learned to speak and make out words by watching over a family going through their day to day lives. While he was learning to speak the language of man, he longed for compassion and companionship more than anyone. He wished to be accepted and loved like any other person. He wished to be looked at as a human being instead of a monster. But instead, he was faced with more rejection, fear, hatred and disgust.
His longing for compassion and friendship eventually turned to rage as his first victim was his creator’s brother, William Frankenstein. This of course led to his caretaker, Justine, being wrongfully charged with the murder which led to her demise as well.
When Victor found him, the creature was not threatening his life or even trying to be menacing. Instead, he told his creator what he experienced and asked him to make a female companion for him. During his travels with Clerval, Victor was indeed making due to his “promise” to his creation. But halfway towards its completion, he destroyed the creation, while the stunned creature watches. This unfortunately led to the death of Henry Clerval and this time the creature did give him a warning: “I’ll be with you on your wedding night.”
Long story short, Victor married the love of his life Elizabeth only to end with her murdered as well on their wedding night. Obsessed with vengeance, Victor set out in search for the creature only to be cut short by his own death. This led to the creature making a promise that he will kill himself so no one else will know of existence.
Both sides made mistakes. The creature made a mistake by turning to murder. Victor made a mistake by turning away his own creation. So, again, who is the monster?
The answer is no one. Here is my reason. When I think of the term “monster,” I think of someone who did malicious things with no remorse. Victor turned his back on his own creation but that did not make him a monster. It made him a man scared and horrified at what he had done. Destroying another life while it was halfway complete did not make him a monster either. When he was creating a female for the creature, his mind was shrouded in questions: “Will there be more creatures like these two?” “Will she be more vicious?” “Will she reject the male creature?” All of these questions and doubts led to the second creature being destroyed and Henry Clerval dead.
The creature is not a monster either for he expresses remorse for the people he killed. As I said earlier, all he wanted was people to show acceptance and compassion, but when everyone he meets either loathes him or fears him or is disgusted by his appearance, the creature’s feelings turned to hatred of humans. But hatred does not equal to becoming a monster. So in the end, the misguided creature was just that: a misguided creature.
The story Frankenstein should be regarded as one of the greatest horror stories of all times, but it should also be considered as one of the great tragedies of at least its time period. It should be regarded as a tragedy not because of the many deaths but because of the downfalls of Justine, Victor and the creature. Falsely confessing to the murder of William led to Justine’s downfall as she was hung soon after. Elizabeth’s murder became the catalyst of Victor’s downfall as he became obsessed with hunting the creature down until his last breath. Last but not least, the creature met his downfall with the murders he committed and the death of his creator Victor. I consider this his downfall because as said earlier, the creature did express remorse for the deeds he had done.
Whether those who read the story regard it as horror, tragedy or both, there is no denying that the original story of Frankenstein is a far cry from the green monster with bolts stuck to his neck.