Thai Kingstone 15 October, 2010 1616W Frankenstein’s Monstrosity “I’m just a soul whose intentions are good, Oh lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood” a verse from the notorious rapper Lil Wayne who judges one’s physical appearance rather the inner qualities that never is seen. Throughout the last century, society has been based on superficial concepts of good or evil, beautiful or ugly, ordinary or abnormal. In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, the Creature is depicted as a overwhelming ugly monster with superhuman strength and the lust to kill his next victim.
Playing with the elements of God, Dr. Frankenstein’s dream was to bring upon life regardless of how it was created. Frankenstein’s creation is human in the sense that it holds emotions, a sense of compassion and the yearning to feel loved. All these characteristics are that possessed by humans not monsters. However, through society’s quick judgment and being “misunderstood” of the creatures physical abnormalities, Frankenstein is a monster. The contrast between Dr. Frankenstein and his creature implies that a monster is solely based of his physical characteristics.
Victor Frankenstein is an egotistical scientist who succeeds in reanimating life but is disgusted by his creature’s appearance and thus abandons from him. Who is the real monster here? Although Dr. Frankenstein’s creature is portrayed as a monster in Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein, the real monster is Victor himself, as Victor’s creation is imbued with Victor’s negative character traits. There is an invisible value placed on the existence of inhumane characters in fiction, in comparison to the value of life of humans.
Mary Shelley seems to play with the distinct differences between humanity and monstrosity. Intelligence and emotions, and whether the character in question is actually alive in the conventional sense, are usually what dictate the morality of the situation. The term monster is defined as an unnatural being that doesn’t behave in accordance with normal social rules. A freak of nature, who lacks compassion and is a cruel inhumane object of society. In the novel Frankenstein, the creature is not that of a complete savage, but is shown to be more of a person.
The creature shows intelligence, emotions, and the desire to be loved. In contrast, Victor Frankenstein is more of a monster, his display of selfishness and lack of compassion for others has been demonstrated through his creation. The creature is portrayed as the antithesis of love and acceptance, when in doubt his approach to these feelings are not his own, they are a portrayal of Victor’s inhumanity. The creation should reflect the personality and emotions of the artist, the real monster is Victor, not Frankenstein’s creation.
In the beginning of the novel it is clear that Victor goes to great lengths to avoid others, especially those who care about him. Victor alienates himself from society and ignores his family and friends. Victor is a part of society that is related to other human beings including his parents and colleagues. However, he isolates himself not from just society but his family and friends by neglecting their feelings. These feelings “which made me neglect the scenes around me caused me also to forget those friends who were so many miles absent, and who I had not seen for so long a time” (Shelley 41).
Victor has lost all contact with the world itself and relinquishes himself to the obsession of his work. Victor even succumbs to a severe illness that weakens him by months of work. Victors devotion to his work has consumed him so much that he does not respond to the need or minds of others. Not only has his solitude to his work created so much pain and distraught to his health but further demonstrated his role outside society. In contrast to Victor Frankenstein, the creature goes to great lengths to befriend others and be accepted in society.
Despite the creature’s horrific appearance, the monster was very intelligent and made every attempt to form friendships with others. The creature gains much insight of the world and even teaches himself how to communicate and understand others. His intelligence and longing to fit in society illustrates his humaneness. Although the creature seeks to find companionship many times, his efforts are only met with fear and hostility. Frankenstein’s creation can only accept the rejection he faces from society and respond with the same attitude his father has for society.
By casting away all around him, the creature indulges in evil. The creature’s greatly wishes to be part of society, “if I cannot inspire love, I will cause fear”(Shelley 135); and “if I have no ties and affections, hatred and vice must be my portion”(Shelley 137). The so called monster is only responding to Victor’s indifference and apathy. The creature shows the urgency to feel loved and accepted by society and not indifference. In a way Victor acts the role of God. Victor usurps the role of God by creating artificial life and presumes that he has full control over his creation.
Throughout the whole novel, there are references to God and Satan as in connection to Victor and his creation. When Victor believes that he has absolute control of his creation, he is invigorated by his passion. However, when the monster is born to life, its appearance is that opposite of his control. The monster disdainfully criticizes Victor “Why did you form a monster so hideous that even you turned from me in disgust? God, in pity, made man beautiful and alluring after his own image; but my form is a filthy type of yours, more horrid” (Shelley 119).
The monster is hideous in nature and Victor does not acknowledge his presence in this world. The monster goes on to protest his resemblance to Satan and his state of being “solitary and abhorred. ” Victor assumes that he can exert complete influence on his creation, but undermines the attention it deserves when it comes to life. Victor is the true monster, because if he has no control over something he annihilate it; filled with vengeance. When examined closely, the monster’s actions are not driven by hatred, but rather a misguided upbringing.
Victor Frankenstein’s is blinded by his ambition to create the perfect being, that he thinks his monster will be beautiful. He rejects his monster and completely neglects the responsibilities for his experiment. Victor doesn’t permit himself to be emotionally effected by others. Victors care for his creature can be related to that of his father when he refuses to contact his father in the midst of his work. This shows the complete indifference as obligation of a son. Victors treatment of his creation can be derived from the absence of his presence in his parents lives.
Frankenstein questions him to “where were my friends and relations? No father had watched my infant days, no mother had blessed me with smiles and caresses […] a blind vacancy in which I distinguished nothing” (Shelley 109). The creature has been living a life without a family or proper guidance. Victor feels that his parents are an absence in his life, just as his creature feels the same way. He feels abandoned, hurt and angry that he hasn’t been given the guidance he deserves. The egotistical views and stubbornness is one of many character traits that shows Victor Frankenstein is a monster.
At first when he claims to obtain the essence of creating life, he does not tell anyone about it. He ponders that “this discovery soon gave lace to delight and rapture, what had been the study and desire of the wisest men since the creation of the world has now within my grasp” (Shelley 38). His excessive pride and self-glory only illustrates his disregard for others around him. In addition to Victor’s selfish attitude, Victor refuses to give attention nor concern to other peoples concern including his close family and friends.
Dr. Frankenstein is also socially irresponsible in relevance to his extreme actions throughout the novel. From the very first encounter with Victor Frankenstein, we get a hint of his character when he asks Robert Walton, “Do you share my madness? ” He is so consumed by his work, he does not sleep for days, nor go outside and eat meals, or write to his family as he used to. “For this I had deprived myself of rest and health” (Shelley 47). Victor’s share of madness and irresponsibility ultimately drove to his own death.
Furthermore, Victor is driven so much by his actions that they indirectly led to the deaths of his relatives and close friends. Unlike Victor, the monster is socially responsible by caring for the DeLacey’s. The creature demonstrates his devotion to interacting with the DeLacey’s by observing Felix and Agatha while in the village. Regardless of not confronting the De Lacey family, his expression of happiness is seen through his constant attention to them. The creature even shows his obligation by helping out the family in supplying them with firewood and helps with the family chores.
His compassion to help others is further displayed when he spares Felix’s life and saves the little girl from drowning in the river. The creature’s concern for human life illustrates just how humane he really is. Although, Victor’s creation has commits crimes, they are to exalt revenge on Victor, not sadism. Enraged by the lack of compassion he deserved from his father, the creature kills everyone close to Frankenstein out of vengeance. His initial rejection by his father leads him to seek friendship of the villagers. However, after being abandoned and outcaste, the peasants fueled the rage of his hideous birth into this world.
The creature soon realizes that he is a poor, helpless, and miserable wretch that people misunderstand him because he is ugly. While the monster demonstrates guilty emotions for his crimes, Victor instead feels anger toward his creation and does not take any responsibility nor demonstrate guilt for the death of his loved ones. Victor is blinded by vengeance for his monster, that he refuses to accept blame. “My revenge is of no moment to you; while I allow it to be a vice, I confess that it is the devouring and only passion […] I devote myself, either in my life or death to his destruction” (Shelley 191).
It is ironic how Victor’s emotions overwhelm him at the mercy of his negative emotions. Victors flaws lie within him unable to recognize that his monster will respond to his own personality and have emotions of his own. Not all monsters possess monstrous characteristics. It is evident that society has created such misconceptions based on abnormal appearances. These distortions are falsely misguided, and can lead to different presumptions. Many fictional and ancient monsters have these misconceptions that they are essentially evil.
Unlike many movie interpretations of monsters that portray fire breathing dragons, blood sucking vampires, and magical demons, there are occasional monsters or creatures that despite appearances are very much human-like. Occasionally these monsters can be seen as friendly or misunderstood creatures. Frankenstein is a prime example of a misunderstood monster, in films such as Van Hellsing and Monster Squad. There are many other monsters depicted in this manner such as the Hulk, Chewbacca, Shrek and even Elmo who are all notable examples of friendly monsters.
This is clearly seen in Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein, where judgment is placed on the Victor Frankenstein and his creature. Victor Frankenstein is one that lacks compassion and bares no responsibility for his actions. In comparison, his creature is compassionate in every way and yearns for the attention and love from the humans that fear him. Victor Frankenstein’s unnatural behavior poses the real role of what a monster is. Shelley’s creation of Frankenstein was not to create a senseless savage imposed as a monster but rather a divine being to explore the limits of the human race.
Victor Frankenstein’s creature was the embodiment of immortality, playing with life and death. Throughout the whole novel, Victor Frankenstein imposed the illusion of God. This power of creation relates to a larger theme. Victor possessed the opportunities and control over his creation. In contrast, God has created us in his own image with the same control and opportunity. God seemed to believe in his creations (us) and provided the necessary provisions such as companionship, food, shelter, and love. God doesn’t udge aspects or kill his creations. His ability to look beyond our abnormalities or imperfections is what separates God and Victor’s illusion of being God. Victor Frankenstein’s monster has different traits; God like traits that Victor doesn’t have. These traits can only be obtained with the appropriate compassion and devotion to others. Shelley’s reference to God and his creation reflect Victor’s monstrosity. “What Measure is Non Human. ” Tv Tropes: What Measure is Non Human. Creative Commons Wiki, n. d. Web. 16 Nov 2010.