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It is a common misconception of many thousands of children that have been lead to think it is not Victor Frankenstein but it is his creature that is called Frankenstein. This to me is quite ironic as it is my belief that the monster itself was Victor Frankenstein and not his creation. If the two of their names can be mistaken in society then I believe that this also implies that they have rather similar characteristics as well. Frankenstein creates in himself an idol to challenge that of God, he, in effect, kills three if not four people during his time playing this part, although indirectly. In Frankenstein, Dr. Victor Frankenstein is an inspiring scientist that studies the dead. He wants to be the first person to give life to a dead human being. He spends all of his time concentrating on this goal, and gives up his family and friends.
Frankenstein is the single most important novel written during the period of Gothicism. It exceeds the normal expectation of a typical Gothic novel by relating to science, politics, family, alienation, psychology, relationships, education and more. Even so, Frankenstein is classed as a classic Gothic novel because if you think about it nothing would say gothic horror like an eight-foot high monster with sewn together body parts made from other deceased humans.
I think Frankenstein was written as a Gothic novel because it was written at the time of the Gothic Literary movement and Mary Shelley would have been influenced by the style of the time. A reason as to why it may not fit neatly into the genre of Gothic horror is because Shelley would have been reflecting upon the development of science that was happening at that time. She created a twist of terror into the concept of the fast development of science while she was writing her novel.
In the novel there is a constant theme of alienation and is expressed through several characters throughout the book. Victor, alienates himself to begin with, yet eventually is alienated from everyone he loves thanks to the monster. The monster has a reason for alienating Victor, however: the monster was created, brought into society, and alienated by Victor, his own creator. Elizabeth too feels alienated from Victor who is too busy pursuing his experiment in Ingolstadt to pay much attention to her. Alienation is a theme that returns time and time again to haunt the characters of this book.
During the time when ‘Frankenstein’ was written, the women were considered much less important than the men. This is also displayed in the book where when Justine was to be hanged. Elizabeth tried to save Justine Moritz although failed to save her and she was then hanged. Victor Frankenstein, however, knew that he could save Justine if he wanted to, but didn’t want to for fear of being prosecuted himself, as he would have to reveal that he let a monster, his own creation, into the world. This also shows that men are supposedly higher than women because a woman at this time would give up her life to save a man, yet a man would not give up his life to save a woman, shown here, making the men seem of a higher class than the women.
The narrative structure of ‘Frankenstein’ is first person, this means that Victor Frankenstein relates his own story; this has both advantages and disadvantages. The first disadvantage is that he does not know what is happening elsewhere, the main example of this being that he does not know what his creature is doing after Frankenstein abandons it. Although it is a disadvantage when reading the novel, this creates suspense in the readers mind, as they do not know what the creature is doing either.
When Frankenstein begins his so called work of genius he fails to realise what he is actually doing. He is so amazed by the work of his hands and the sheer brilliance of it all that he forgets to look at the bigger picture, that of total horror, and to barely touch the surface, stupidity. The way Frankenstein went about creating this being was abominable. He gathered parts of the human body from the deceased without any kind of permission. In doing so he creates his creature. “His yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath; his hair was of a lustrous black, and flowing; his teeth of pearly whiteness; but these luxuriance’s only formed a more horrid contrast with his watery eyes, that seemed almost of the same colour as the dun-white sockets in which they were set, his shrivelled complexion and straight black lips.” Victor Frankenstein
He believes so blindly in what he is doing will benefit human kind that when he comes to take a step back and look at what he’s done he is disgusted at himself. He uses a contrast of beauty against ugliness to describe him. He expects the monster to know everything when he wakes up cool, calm, and collected. But when the monster is awakened, he does not know anything. He sees a world different from what he is used to, which makes him nervous and scared, but it is not his fault.
The monster has not removed himself from his environment; Victor has removed him from dead. And the coward that Victor is he leaves it for dead and runs away in self-pity. Instead of facing the consequences, he left out of unjustifiable hate for his creation. He could not destroy the monster because he had actually made the monster better than the human race itself. Instead he was sure that lack of experience in the world would get rid of the monster for him. Here is when I believe Frankenstein moved one step closer to becoming a monster.
In my view there are two types of a monster. One of which is the stereotyped: A hideous creature, being around it is terrifying, it is a monster that cannot do anything about what it is or looks like, yet is not necessarily evil or cruel. The second type of monster is hardly recognisable as what he is to people around him, it, or whatever you might call it. He would appear like an ordinary person like you and me, but it is inside where the monstrosity comes in. This monster’s soul is corrupted by evil and is therefore ruthless and despicable. And it is both of these types of monster that can be seen in Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein; needless to say which one is which.