Entries on *Frankenstein*

Unless otherwise indicated, all citations are from Mary Shelley. Frankenstein, 1831 ed. New York: Dover, 1994.

The Pursuit of Eternal Light, by Paul Carata © 2015

A common motif in the gothic genre is the doubling of characters, also known as the gothic double. This motif compares or contrasts two characters in order to show the good and the evil. Freud wrote about the implications of the uncanny, which “aims to deal with a notion of familiarity and threat that manifest itself through the same event, person or object” (Israeli 379). In Frankenstein, this is apparent in Victor and Walton’s obsession with electricity. Mary Shelley uses this motif in two different ways in the novel. In one way, she mirrors characters with one another by giving them similar characteristics and ambitions. On the other hand, she juxtaposes them by giving them opposite traits to show how they complement each other. In doing so, she sheds light on conflicts such as man versus nature and child versus parent. In the novel, Walton is a double of both Victor Frankenstein and his monster. However, the focus will be on Walton’s mirror image with Victor specifically.

One way Walton and Victor are doubles of each other is the fact that they are both men of science with the will to surpass anything other men have done before them. In a letter to his sister, Walton describes his expectations as he approaches the north pole. He writes: “I may there discover the wondrous power which attracts the needle”(Shelley,7). Here the reader learns that the purpose of his journey is the discovery of the magnetic north. He wants to pursue the research of electricity, which was still a mysterious force during the time the novel takes place (18th century). He also wants to be the first person to find a route to this undiscovered place, which is mirrored in Victor’s longing “to give life to an animal as complex and wonderful as man” (33). Interestingly, Walton calls the north pole the “country of eternal light”, hinting that electricity is possibly the answer to eternal life. Walton goes on to explain the link between the north pole and electricity by explaining to his sister that he wishes to ascertain “the secret of the magnet” (8). The north pole is a magnet, a source of electricity. Interestingly, the north pole also acts as a magnet, attracting Walton and Victor, pulling them towards it. Throughout the novel, light and life are interrelated. For example, as Victor describes his mother’s death, he says “that the brightness of a beloved eye can have been extinguished” (26). Light and life one and the other. Light is linked to life while darkness is the equivalent to death. It is also this experience, the loss of his mother, that pushes Victor to find ways to stop the inevitableness of death. Later on in Victor’s journey, as he is working on creating his monster, he says that “life and death appeared to me ideal bounds, which I should first break through, and pour a torrent light into our dark world” (33). Victor’s description of his goal is eerily similar to that of Walton’s. While Walton searches for the land of eternal light, Victor wants to illuminate the world. They are both obsessed with the same thing, eternal life, which they believe is attainable through the mystery that is electricity. Moreover, not long before the death of his mother, Victor is fascinated by a thunderstorm. He watched lighting destroy a tree and explains how he “never beheld anything so utterly destroyed” (23). Here it becomes evident that like Walton, Victor developed an interest in electricity, and a desire to discover the full potential of its powers. However, the image of the lightning bolt destroying the tree foreshadows the dangers of this new science. It can also be a warning to Walton, urging him to abandon his voyage before it cost him his life and the lives of his crew members.

Shelley mirrors Walton and Victor to show electricity’s positive potential as well as its possible destructive power. In the middle of the eighteenth century, Benjamin Franklin famously flew his kite during a thunderstorm. An event to which Shelley alludes to in her novel as Victor watches a lightning bolt destroy a tree. A little over forty years after Franklin’s famous experiment, Shelley’s father, William Godwin, asked “why may not man be one day immortal?”(Godwin). Godwin believed in electricity’s potential to help mankind in reaching new limits, like the characters in Shelley’s novel. Victor, though, represents how dangerous science as a whole can be. At the end of the novel, upon hearing of Walton’s crew’s desire to return home, Victor scolds the crew and tells them to “be men, or be more than men”(155). Even after he recounts his tragic story, brought upon him due to his pursuit of science, he still believes Walton should continue towards the north pole. Victor has not learnt anything, he is still irrational. Walton, however, comes to the conclusion that he cannot lead his men “unwillingly to danger, and I must return”(156). For Shelley, ending her novel with this contrast is showing how she opposes her father’s idea of electricity. Her position on science argues that humankind should be careful when dealing with science, as it can be just as destructive as it is revolutionary.

Works Cited

Godwin, William. An Enquiry Concerning Political Justice, and its Influence on General Virtue and Happiness, vol. 2 (London: G.G.J. and J. Robinson, 1793). March 25, 2015. <http://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/236>

Israeli, Noam. “Reflections on Freud’s The Uncanny”. Existential Analysis, 16.2, July 2005. Web.

Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. A Norton Critical Edition. Ed. J. Paul Hunter. New York: W.W. Norton, 1996.

Creator vs Creation, by Massimo Cannucci © 2015

There are a number of interesting ideas that appear in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. The way the narrative voice switches from section to section, using letters as a means of telling the story, and the very interesting idea of creation.  The novel Frankenstein examines the complicated relationship between creator and his creation.  It discusses the trials of how people cope with the perception of their own existence here on earth.  The novel personifies and a face to this relationship and question that so many have pondered for centuries.

Victor Frankenstein is a young man seemingly on a never ending quest in pursuit of knowledge.  In his quest, he comes by the the curiosity over how it would be possible to create life.  He studies anatomy and all the relative fields of education required to achieve his goal and eventually, accomplishes what he set out to do.  When his desires finally come to fruition, he is horrified by the end result which he describes as having “Dull yellow eyes…[breathing hard] and a convulsive motion [agitating] its limbs” (35).  This describes how victor is disappointed in his creation.  He views it as being nothing more than a terrifying caricature of what a human being should actually look like.  If we view this scene as being a metaphor for religion and the relationship between human beings and god, it brings to mind the question: how would the ultimate creator of humanity view us?  The Bible states that mankind was created in the image of God himself (Old Testament), this parallels victor’s own experience where he modeled his creation after the beauty that is the form of the human body.  If this is the case, it is possible that maybe human beings are nothing more than a grotesque imitation and disappointment in comparison to what we were supposed to be.  It is possible that god could be as disappointed with us as victor was with his own creation.  He saw what he’d done and tells the reader that the “the beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled my heart” (35).  It gives the reader the idea that whenever you set out to make something for yourself, the desired result is never really achieved.  Even Walton’s exploratory journey does not end happily or even as planned.  There seems to always be some kind of short coming at the end of every endeavor.  Maybe the author is trying to tell us that we can’t always get what we want.

Frankenstein abandons his monster, which ultimately leads to it having to fend for itself; learn to communicate, to feel.  all in a world that rejects him at every turn.  This lack of companionship and constant rejection leads him to lash out and hate his creator.  The monster discovers Victor’s brother, and strangles him to death, framing someone else for his crime.  He destroys the lives of two family members because of the resent he feels toward his creator.  I found this destructive impulse was similar to that of human beings who choose to continually destroy the earth, the one true gift given to man by god.  Frankenstein’s monster seeks to destroy the life of the one who in turn brought him into existence for the simple reason that Victor has abandoned him.  This parallels the idea that somewhere along the line, god abandoned human kind.

The Monster lashes out against Victor again when he refuses to adhere to his wishes, as humans often curse god when their prayers go unanswered.   When the monster fails to receive a mate from his creator, he chooses to stalk him to his wedding night and murders Frankenstein’s wife.  This can be seen as being sort of symbolic of losing one’s religion, and lashing out against the idea of God.

The story works as a metaphor for the course of human history viewed through the perspective of religion.  It shows how humans interact with their own spirituality though the use of victor’s character and his scientific experimentation.  It shows how humanity can at times struggle with its own existence and the consequences that come with that lack of understanding.

Being and Frankenstein, by Hailey Wendling © 2015

As a form, the Gothic novel has been understood as a means to explore the concept of individual identity as essentially inconsistent (Kilgour 3). Shelley’s iconic novel, Frankenstein, grapples with the notion of constructing a “self” through language, and ultimately proves that identity is formed by the hegemonic. This is most acutely portrayed through Shelley’s characterization of her monster, whose driving urge toward self-definition is constantly undercut as he is unable to circumvent culturally determined ideas of identity, and perpetuated by her use of multiple first-person narration.

Shelley’s technique of characterization is essentially kaleidoscopic; she presents a sequence of contrasting images of Frankenstein’s monster engaged in rhetoric or action, interspersed with literary allusions and moral commentary. When the monster and Frankenstein meet on Mount Blanc, the monster attempts to establish autonomy through language. Frankenstein’s refusal to address him beyond “devil” or “daemon” functions as a means to reinforce the monster’s status as a marginalized other. The monster’s attempt to join society through his exploitation of linguistic contingencies is challenged by the inherent flaw of language: the manner in which systems and forms of expression that are meant to assimilate us to our culture and identify us as members in it can be alienating. The monster acknowledges his social standing, “Remember that I am thy creature; I ought to be thy Adam, but I am rather the fallen angel, whom thou drivest from joy for no misdeed” (Shelley 69). The dichotomization between Adam and Lucifer perpetuates self-definition through sociologically constructed binaries. The Miltonic parallel also posits an interesting question on the correlation between “choice” and fallenness, as Victor’s “lofty ambition” resulted in the subsequent cataclysm of disaster, but his creation suffers the traditional punishment of exile instead. Despite the monsters control over language, he remains marginalized because language inherently limits and perpetuates the cultural hierarchy that defines possible definitions of self.

Shelley’s use of multiple first-person narration, however, poses an interesting paradoxical aspect to the monster’s autobiographical interlude as it conflicts with previous representations. The monster has been depicted as a violent, homicidal entity hell-bent on revenge. Victor’s initial interaction invokes ambivalence; the monster seems to be a threatening force. “He held up the curtain of the bed; and his eyes, if eyes they may be called, were fixed on me” (Shelley 35). Victor’s reliability as a moral guide throughout the text is questionable, and the monster’s monologue allows for a self-representation, a form of expression apt to adequately explain the ways in which society has outlined the boundaries of his existence. The contrasting portrayals force the reader to actively participate in the text in order to determine the monsters characterization for themselves, perpetuating the notion that subjective self-representation is subverted by the objective perspective.

The multifaceted portrayal of Frankenstein’s monster invites unsettling questions on the ambiguity of language, while simultaneously perpetuating ontological issues of the definition of being human, an overarching theme in gothic and science fiction genres, respectively.

Victor Frankenstein: Not Exactly Father of the Year, by Alexis Stylianou © 2015

Frankenstein bears much of the blame for his own demise, and explicitly acknowledges it in the concluding chapters of the novel. He has shown himself to be an irresponsible person with an extremely inflated ego by creating a monster and then abandoning him instead of helping him become acquainted with his surroundings. Frankenstein exhibits the characteristics of an irresponsible parent because of his unwillingness to help the monster he has given life to. He fails to protect his loved ones in his zealous pursuit of knowledge at the expense of everything else. The blood bath the monster causes is the result of Frankenstein’s own blind ambition, moral ambiguity, and lack of personal responsibility for the life he has brought into the world.

Many, if not all, of the monster’s murderous, vengeful actions arise due to the fact that the whole world completely rejects him.  As the monster says in chapter ten: “I ought to be thy Adam, but I am rather the fallen angel, whom thou drivest from joy for no misdeed” (Shelley 105). These words demonstrate how he feels forsaken and without purpose; he did not ask to be created and is treated like the fallen angel Lucifer by virtue of his appearance. For example, when the monster assists a group of peasants and saves a girl from drowning, he is treated only with violence and disgust due to his outward appearance. He is not a purely evil being, but is driven to evil acts due to his lack of emotional and impulse control.  However, he is still a fully aware being with free will, and who is guided by morals.  Though he consciously commits all of these acts, he does them because of how Frankenstein has set him up to be: grotesque in appearance and confused about who he is and how he should deal with his problems.

The monster serves as an example for what Shelley suggests regarding the nature of evil: everyone has the capacity to be both good and evil; these characteristics are both part of life and of nature. As previously mentioned, the monster’s capacity for goodness is greatly illustrated in the novel, though he is driven by unfortunate circumstances to commit heinous acts. Shelley wants the reader to recognize that there also exists a capacity for evil in mankind, despite the acts of goodness which are demonstrated throughout the creature’s story. Thus we see, for example, that by having the De Laceys greatly disappoint the monster due to their outright rejection of him, Shelley is demonstrating that mankind’s capacity for kindness and goodness is far from infallible.

The monster’s actions are morally reprehensible, but seen from his point of view, what is the use of being nice when the whole world has been cruel towards him? The monster is beastly, but he also has a very curious, enlightened view on the world. A key aspect of this characteristic arises when he lives hidden in the De Lacey’s shed, observing the family and seeing how much they love each other.  He wants to be like them and longs for human connection. He also learns about the history of human societies, as well as how to read and write, through observation. His sophisticated world-view and fascination with humanity also stem from reading three books he finds abandoned in the woods:  Milton’s Paradise Lost; Goethe’s The Sorrows of Young Werther, and Plutarch’s Lives. These serve as key parts of the development of the monster’s level of knowledge and understanding of the world.

He is also a very sad and lonely character.  All he ever wants is a friend, a companion to be by his side. After all, other than his appearance, it is the human revulsion, rejection, and cruelty that truly make him appear to be a monster. He is like a child that did not receive the necessary love, acceptance and guidance and is a wounded soul as a result. The monster is an intelligent, sensitive being and it is only because he is seen as “ugly” that everyone hates him. He becomes evil because of this hate, which warps his mind.

Though feared rather than loved, the monster is shown to actually be more imaginative, more intellectual and more emotional than Frankenstein. In reading The Sorrows of Young Werther, he is prompted to ask questions about his own sense of identity and destiny. He identifies with both the heights of the hero’s happiness and the depths of his despair. This identification, along with his attachment to the De Laceys, enables the monster to further develop his sense of emotion towards others, something that Frankenstein himself is never shown to possess. It is ironic that the monster is, in fact, more “human” than his creator. The monster is more loveable as well as more hateable, and more to be pitied. Thus, Frankenstein in this sense is barely an interesting character at all. Frankenstein’s tragedy stems from his moral error and his failure to love the abhorrent creature. However, he does feel guilty for having created a lonely creature driven to crime by the rage of being a disgraced, confused, and solitary being.

Work Cited

Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. Signet Classics. New York: Penguin, 2013.

The Cruel World of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, by Panagos Panagopoulos © 2015

“Ignorance is bliss” originates in Thomas Gray’s poem entitled “ Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College” (Gray 99). Grays quote means that knowing less about the world around ultimately makes it seem like a happier place. In Frankenstein the Monster discovers literature and his self through Paradise Lost.  He relates his abandonment through the experiences of Adam and Satan (Shelley 110). If only the Monster had greater luck and found Gray’s poem. If he did find it then he would still have to focus on those few precious words. Once he discovers who he really is the world begins to look like a vile place. His first interactions with humans do not go as planned. He observes a family that live in a cabin. Felix, Agatha, and the blind De Lacey. Unknowingly, he is causing them hardship because he is stealing their food for himself. Realizing his mistake, the Monster chops logs for the family and leaves it by their cabin. The Monster does not fully understand the humans interactions but he remains and eventually learns. He learns their language and their story. The Monster learns about the world and society, another veil of ignorance that has been lifted. “Was I then a monster…a blot upon the earth, from which all men fled, and whom all men disowned?” (Shelley 100) he asks himself. Surrounding himself with humans forced him to ask questions that did not come with a satisfactory answer. The Monster attempts to reach out to the family living in the cabin. Yet, before he could establish his true feelings he is rejected. They are terrified of the Monster, understandably. “Agatha fainted, and Safie…rushed out of the cottage” (Shelley 115), this was not a good first impression. To make matters even worse Felix began beating him with a stick. The Monster could have ripped Felix apart but the beating defeated his spirit. Quickly the ignorance disappears, “is there something wrong with me?” “what is it?” “how do I change myself after?” are all questions that never stirred through his mind until he became aware of the world. When his first impressions result in local folk running away, he begins to speculate. The Monster has a couple of seconds when he awakens, his blank slate lasts up until he views his reflections in a puddle of water. After that moment, his life begins to fill with suffering and despair.

Ignorance slowly begins its transformation into self-awareness “ but how was I terrified, when I first viewed myself in a transparent pool!”(Shelley 94) he finally sees what others see. The Monster did not take this discovery lightly, he calls himself a “miserable deformity”(Shelley 94). This pains me because the Monster has succumbed to self-loathing. He hates himself and with these realizations he will hate the world. Even if he did learn the saying “ignorance is bliss”(Gray 99) it will no longer be applicable. The Monster discovers that not only do strangers despise him, the one man who knows him does as well. He discovers pieces of a journal written by Victor, his creator. “The minutest description of my odious and loathsome person is given”(Shelley 110) his creator wrote in immense detail what was wrong with his creation. The questions that arise from fading ignorance enter his mind . “Why did you form a monster so hideous that even you turned from me in disgust?”(Shelley 110) he asks the person who cannot hear. Just like I had gone through confused years, wondering what was wrong with myself, the Monster goes through the same. If only our eyes were closed, and our ears were shut would we live in a state of pure ignorant bliss.

Works Cited

Gray, Thomas. Thomas Grey Archive. n.d. 2015 http://www.thomasgray.org/cgi-bin/display.cgi?text=odec

Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. Signet Classics, 2000.

Why we should not pity the Monster? by John Sgouromitis © 2015

In the last chapter, the Monster reveals to Captain Walton the grief he feels for the death of his creator. During this lament, the author suggests that the pity we feel for Victor Frankenstein’s creation is unjustified.

After reading this chapter, my impression was that Victor’s actions of abandoning, neglecting and rejecting his creation -that never asked to be created- are not worse than the Monster’s actions. The author suggests that the Monster’s murderous and destructive desire for revenge went too far. That while Victor Frankenstein did cause the Monster pain and misery by allowing him to be ‘‘spurned at, kicked and trampled on’’ (189-190) by both himself and society, the Monster’s actions were disproportionate when compared to the misery Victor’s actions caused him. He made Victor pay for his and all of humanity’s faults by declaring an ‘‘everlasting war against the species, and, more than all against him who formed me’’ (111). The Monster was devoted to his creator’s destruction and ‘‘… pursued him even to that irremediable ruin’’ (190).  He tortured and terrorized Victor Frankenstein for many months and caused him to suffer a great deal more than he indeed suffered.

The author also raises our awareness of the nature of both the Monster’s actions and his vengeful undertakings. The words ‘‘criminal’’ (190) and ‘‘crime’’ (189) are used in order to refer to the murders he committed. Even Captain Walton states that the revenge the Monster exacted was ‘‘diabolical’’ (187) and ‘‘accursed’’ (188). The Monster acknowledges the scandalous and evil nature of his actions by stating that “no crime, no mischief, no malignity, no misery can be found comparable to mine” (189).  The Monster also reproaches himself for his conduct ‘‘but it is true, I am a wretch. I have murdered the lovely and the helpless’’ (190).

The author suggests that we should not feel pity for the Monster because he is being manipulative and overly dramatic while expressing his remorse. Captain Walton tells the Monster that ‘‘It is not pity that you feel; you lament only because the victim of your malignity is withdrawn from your power’’ (188).  He goes on to mention that if Victor were to resurrect from the dead, the Monster would set his guilt aside and pursue his vengeful design and desires ‘‘…if he whom you morn still lived, still would he be the object, again would he become the pray of your accursed vengeance’’ ( 188). Thus, the author recognizes that the Monster’s design is evil and that he is undeserving of the reader’s pity.

Work Cited

Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft. Frankenstein, Or, The Modern Prometheus: The 1818 Text. Ed. Marilyn Butler. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2008. Print.

Frankenstein: A Critique of “Progress,” by Andrea Rosati © 2015

Frankenstein explores the implications of the enslaving insinuations surrounding the pursuit of knowledge. Her critique of the protagonists’ faults is exposed even before Victor and his monster’s tales unfold. Starting at the top of page 34, Shelley almost immediately presents the reader with the novel’s principle moral over the anxieties between sciences and knowledge, versus nature and the sublime. More importantly, Shelley then foreshadows her characters’ fates, using four analogies to reveal the complications ahead. While the reader initially senses that Victor is focalized and isolated as the “flawed hero”, this passage suggests that other figures in the novel share this similar vice, and consequently are projected to share an equivalent fate.

Through Victor, Shelley moralizes, “if the study to which you apply yourself has a tendency to weaken your affections… then the study is not befitting the human mind” (34). Her following analogies tend to stress that such knowledge is destructive, rather than productive. These analogies illustrate specific examples in connection to the kinds of troubles such studies can bring. The first analogy presented claims that had such pursuits not been followed, then consequently, “Greece [would] had not been enslaved (34, italics added). Shelley directs this analogy towards Victor. She links this event in history to the “enslavement” of Victor towards his goals of creation. Had Victor not been so engulfed in craving additional knowledge, then none of his following miseries would have presented themselves. Like Greece’s rise in power before him (Athens against the Peloponnesian League in the Peloponnesian War), it is the greed for power and knowledge, which initiated enslavements and consequently brought forth their collapse. Following this statement, Shelly goes on to relate the second analogy of “Caesar would have spared his country” (34, italics added) towards the monster. While Victor obsesses over the natural sciences, his monster takes a liking towards another subject, the study of arts and culture. It is only after the monster studies the social constructs of the DeLacey’s (the roles of family members and lifestyle habits), along with learning how to read, write and enjoy instruments (guitar), that he begins to develop a flaw. Prior to this new insight, the monster was unaware of his hardships, and in a state where ignorance resulted in bliss. The monster later describes how these new insights would “produce in me an infinity of new images and feelings, that sometimes raised me to ecstasy, but more frequently sunk me into the lowest dejection” (91). Now, after acquiring such knowledge of the arts and human relationships, his monster feels lonely. Before art, he was experiencing an animalistic lifestyle, one where the focus was on eating and finding shelter. Being exposed to the arts and human affairs thus created a longing to transition from his current state, to something similar of his new experiences. In his new state of awareness, the monster avenges his frustration and isolation on Victor’s loved ones. Had the monster limited his thoughts and not turn towards literature for answers (Paradise Lost, Sorrows of Werther, Plutarch’s Lives), then he would have “spared” both William and Elizabeth, who represent the fallen empires of “Mexico” and “Peru”(34).  Finally, the last analogy of “America would have been discovered more gradually [italics added]”(34) relates to Walton. Although Walton has not suffered in the same manner as Victor and his monster, he seems to be following the same path. His crippling pursuit is geography and the desire to discover new lands. Walton whines over his loneliness, alongside his need for friendship, which all is the cause of his ambition. Landmasses will not move location; “gradual” and slow discoveries are healthy for one to be both sated, while concurrently rising to become a renowned explorer.

While the contemporaries of Shelley’s time tend to focus on knowledge as being a remedy, a leap towards progress, she counters this idea with the anxiety and concerns such understandings could bring. Knowledge is essential towards development; however the reader should be aware of its consequences. Moreover, by relating her characters to historical events, she claims that their fates are inevitable. Like those who have fallen before them, they too will fall while continuing in their objectives. Shelley stresses to observe “the most interesting part of my tale” (34). This statement intends to raise awareness for full cognizance; she demands for her reader from here on to be suspicious and question the characters’ motives.

Frankenstein and His Lonely Travels, by Claudio Capri © 2015

In Frankenstein we see a monster that is feared by society. The monster must only travel during the night and remain hidden by day, because he is scared; he is an outcast and not human. Yet, he tries to “be human” by trying to learn, trying to understand human emotions and “have a soul” by trying to love. Wanting to learn about love is why he wants a partner, so he can love and teach this partner what it means to live, using as examples his own attempts at communicating with society that rejects him. Fear, is used because people resent him and don’t want to communicate with him in anyway.

The monster has to travel at night and hide during the day, to be hidden from men’s view. “I generally rested during the day and travelled only when I was secured by night from the view of man” (100). Since society fears the monster, it needs the darkness of night to hide. He manages to hide amongst a family, where he learns emotions and learns about the family. The monster sees an old man, who is part of this family, and would be talking with him and welcoming him, because he is blind and try to get the old man to notice him. But, the way I read it, the old man begins to wonder who this thing is and gets curious when it does not reply. Finally, as the monster tries to communicate and tries to communicate calmly with this old man, the family comes and they all yell because they see a horrifying being and the old man hears the chaos and understands that something is wrong. The monster freaks out and runs away. I believe, in this certain moment, the monster acts very human. His language and emotions sound human, but his features are what make him appear to be a monster. The monster’s encounter with the old man gives us a sense of relief, as the old man accepts it into his home. The old man welcomed it into his arms and the monster kept calm. But at the same time, there was a feeling that the monster might become nervous and kill him. But, remembering the monster just wants to meet someone to have a conversation with, and who understands it rather than fear it or ends up being in a state of disgust due to the fact that it is not human, we know it never means to harm anyone.

Its emotion is love. Since it always has trouble communicating with people because of his physique, it asks his creator Victor to create a lover but that does not happen. His creator thinks the monster will continue to kill and haunt him. If a female version of the monster was created, then the world would be in trouble because of the mess, according to Victor. But, the monster just wants a female companion to be happy with.

My take on Frankenstein is that the monster has the ability to bring fear unto people even though it is not his intention. The monster wants to love, learn and live. He cannot do so by hiding during the day. He just wants to be accepted by everyone and just live his life.

The Scary Smarts of Frankenstein’s Monster, by Camille Carpenter © 2015

One of the many surprising developments in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein; or, the Modern Prometheus is how incredibly intelligent Frankenstein’s monster proves to be. One year after his creation, he has already developed the ability to speak, read, fend for himself, and think critically on books of religion and philosophy. This image is in direct contrast with the green, brainless, moaning monster popular culture leads us to believe is really the star of the novel. Somehow, an intelligent monster is so appalling that our society feels the need to repress this characteristic, while Mary Shelley continually emphasizes it throughout her tale.

The fact is that Frankenstein created a being superior to him in everything but beauty. The monster is better suited for cold, harsh climates (205) and larger in form than any man. He is also quicker to learn language, letters, and the contents of books he steals (153) than any human child. The monster especially takes a liking to Paradise Lost, and often compares himself to Adam, “apparently united by no link to any other being in existence” (154), except for the fact that the monster is capable of abusing his creator. In this way, Frankenstein can be read as the story of Creation gone wrong. The monster, on several occasions, refers to himself as “Adam” (114, 154, 156). In this version of the Creation, God – Frankenstein – creates and abandons a being superior to him in intelligence and strength who must be shunned by all the life already on Earth. Unfortunately, because of the monster’s surprising intellect, roles are reversed. “‘You are my creator; but I am your master,” (205) the monster tells Frankenstein. The creation learns to dominate his creator, surpassing his own God and becoming a ruthless, bitter force of nature.

This reversal of roles is what makes Frankenstein a tragic classic. Had Victor Frankenstein created a monster as dull and senseless as popular culture suggests, the novel wouldn’t be the celebrated classic it is today. It is because of the monster’s intelligence that this Adam becomes master over his God and in this way destroys Frankenstein’s life and that of those he loves. The idea of this mentally capable monster scares society because what mankind has over every other creature on the planet is this intelligence. Mary Shelley shows us the disastrous consequences of the creation of one who might be even smarter than mankind.


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