May 17, 2019
The Creator and his Creation: Frankenstein
When we take a glance at a monster, we are confronted with a terrifying being that reflects our deepest fears and inflicts anxiety. Still, society does not stop to think about the upbringing of these monsters and why it finds them so impulsively horrifying. Frankenstein shows the development of what makes an individual such a perfect monster by highlighting on the Creature’s humanly characteristics and showing how the Creators are really the monsters.
Victor Frankenstein is feverish is his ambition for intellectual conquest. He pushes the bounds of his ability and even science entirely as he curates his 8-foot tall, palish, Creature. The Creature is of immense stature and yields a feeling of terror at first sight, but demonstrates an imprint onto Victor when he is first created. The Creature desires a hug from his creator, but Victor is neglectful and runs away in the midst of fear and regret (Shelley 52). From the start, his Creature is faced with rejection but he is too early in his mental development to understand why. As he becomes more aware, he places comfort in nature and almost relies on it for his sanity. He says to Victor that “[he] felt emotions of gentleness and pleasure, that had long appeared dead, revive within [him]” after witnessing a spring morning (Shelley 124). Through his immense emotional pain and physical trauma, he hands his feelings of insufficiency and shame over to nature, highlighting Shelley’s essence of Romanticism in her writing. The Creature embodies emotional innocence and curiosity which is vastly contrasting to his grotesque physical image, and this inflicts an emotional appeal among Victor when hearing his Creation speak.
The Creature finds himself searching for any sense of emotional comfort and he progresses mentally, he becomes aware that he is unwanted by those around him. The first example of this is his encounter with William Frankenstein and as he is overwhelmed by his need of affection, he suffocates the boy. We see an internal conflict being to ruminate with the Creature struggling between his affectionate sentiment yet violent physical ability. He also saves a child from drowning in a river and he is stricken by curiosity again, only to be shot in his body by her father. He has essentially good intentions and has a desire to protect those he finds around him because his physicality allows him to, but he is constantly fighting society in his attempt to prove his humanity. Thesis IV of Jeffrey Cohens Monster Theory, is essential in the monstrous development of the Creature. Cohen explains that these prejudices held against the monster’s appearance are “moralized through a pervasive rhetoric of deviance” (Cohen 10) He is faced with terms like “dæmon” by his very own creator and is confronted with rejection by everybody else. This terminology allows for a desensitization among those who bear witness to the Creature without trying to understand the expressive feelings that flow from his heart. The physicality that the Creature is given gives way for him to be dehumanized him and instills a sense of shame and inferiority within him, sparking a desire for a partner.
With his consciousness enhancing, the Creature’s intentions begin to shift deliberately. His mindset of curiosity is progressively distorted into a vendetta against Victor, showing a parallel to the book he reads within the novel called Paradise Lost. He says in his reflection: “Like Adam, I was apparently united by no link to any other being in existence” (Shelley 116). This Biblical allusion goes in hand with the Creature increasing in intellect and causes a desire for a female counterpart. Shelley insinuates that Victor emulates God while the Creature is compared to a lonely Adam. However, Victor does not comply and it spurs on a vengefulness within the Creature. Shelley’s reference to this infamous Biblical context go deeper into her quest in Romanticism. She “[wants] to showcase the principles of what it means to be human” bu explaining the emotional tragedy within the Creature and his inherent desire for an intimate relationship (Grados). Shelley inquires within her audience the concept of faith through the Creature’s petition to his Creator, demonstrating tormenting flaws within this dynamic. Ironically, through his understanding that he needs a partner of some sort, the Creature displays an aspect of humanity that we can all agree with, delineating from what a monster even is. This yearning for a significant other encapsulates the absolute, most universal desire that all people can comprehend far too well and is romanticized heavily and transcends generations. With this being denied to him, he sulks in overwhelming loneliness and chooses to avenge a reality that Victor refused him. .
The final cause of the Creature’s progression away from his humanity and into his monstrosity is explained by Thesis VII of Cohen’s theory: The Monster Stands at the Threshold of Becoming. Cohen says that “monsters are our children” very much in how the Creature is Victor’s child and he, in compliance with society have curated their ideal, perfect monster. Through his vengefulness by murder and psychological torture towards Victor, he assumed the persona of a being that Victor envisioned before beginning his work. Victor’s treatment towards his Creature did not emphasize any sense of fatherly affection, distorting the ways in which his “child” perceived the world and ultimately himself. The Creature says that in “forgetting [his] solitude and deformity, [he] dared to be happy” and followed this by tears (Shelley 125). This, here, proves any grasp of humanity that he has left in his struggles with the world and demonstrates his willingness and purity. In accordance to Cohen’s theory, however, society strips any sense of dignity within him in it’s reaction to his monstrous stature, conforming his inside being to the outside. He becomes what we so deeply fear. . Ultimately, Shelley’s theme is emblematic in this particular thesis, emphasizing that society determines it’s standards of a monster, thus, is responsible for their creation.
Victor Frankenstein, alongside the society within the setting of Shelley’s novel, impose a great deal of pain and conflict on the Creation. It abuses the very being that was single-handedly made through the symbolic structure of knowledge, religion, and institution as he struggles with pagan qualities and childlike curiosity. Through understanding that society has reacted in a way that distorted the innocence of the Creature, it sparks inquisition within us. Shelley asks society to question itself in how it produces a monster and why we even view them as such iconic, terrifying bodies of culture.
Grados , Olivia. “Biblical Allusions in Frankenstein.” Prezi.com, 3 Nov. 2015, prezi.com/m/zq1c0jf51rei/biblical-allusions-in-frankenstein/.
Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft, 1797-1851. Frankenstein, Or, The Modern Prometheus : the 1818 Text. Oxford ; New York :Oxford University Press, 1998.
Cohen, Jeffrey Jerome. “Monster Culture: Seven Theses.” From Monster Theory: Reading Culture. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1996. 3-25.