Frankenstein is a gothic novel which was published in the 19th century, and was written by Mary Shelley. In the 19th century the most popular types of novels were horror. This novel was an early example of a thriller. One of the main reasons why Mary Shelley wrote a book about science, horror and suffering was because she knew that people in the 19th century were interested in all of these aspects. The novel also deals with issues of good vs evil, and through this the author creates a sense of horror in the readers mind.
Heroes are those people who do something unexpected, so the creature could be a hero as he lived and grew up by himself. A villain is someone who does something for the wrong reasons and enjoys causing havoc, so the creature can be seen as a villain as he kills many people. A victim is someone who is someone being targeted by a villain and goes through a lot of suffering because of it, in this novel all of the characters can be seen as victims in different ways.
Frankenstein can be seen as a scientific hero by the fact that he created life by no more than the means of electricity; he gives a lifeless creature his first breath. He could also be seen as a hero as he has accomplished something that some people could only dream of but not accomplish. Another person that could be seen as a hero is Walton. Walton shows us how much of a risk he is willing to take for his ambition and courage; he puts his own life and his crew’s life in danger for his ambition and courage to accomplish his goal.
He thought that he was the victim for going away and leaving his sister Margaret. As soon as Walton hears about that Victor Frankenstein has abandoned the creature, he realises that the creature is the victim, also Walton realises that going leaving his sister was a bad idea, making him feel like a villain in the end.
The most obvious victims are those people who are killed by the creature, however the only victims are not those killed by the creature, but could be the creature itself. At first the monster is seen as evil who only knows how to kill people and destroy innocent lives, as the novel goes on we the reader begin to see a different perception of the creature. “I, the miserable and the abandoned, am an abortion, to be spurned at, and kicked, and trampled on”.
From Walton’s final letter to his sister, he recounts the words that the creature speaks o him over Victor Frankenstein’s dead body. This outburst of self-pity as the creature questions the inequality of how he has been treated, giving Walton and the reader a glimpse into the suffering that has caused his evil acts. This also shows that the creature is an unwanted life, a creation abandoned and left alone by his creator. The way in which society judges him makes the creature feel more abandoned and hurt then he already is, furthermore he had to learn things about life in his own ways, so it is not entirely the creatures fault for all his evil acts. If we say that the creature is the victim and then we have to call Frankenstein the villain.
The villains in the novel are Victor Frankenstein and the creature itself, but they can also be Heroes in different ways. Victor Frankenstein could be seen as a villain as he tries to do something which is out of his control and creates a hideous creature to life. Which goes onto kill Victor’s youngest brother, best friend, and wife; he also causes the deaths of other innocent people, one of them being Victor’s father. Though ripped apart by remorse, shame and guilt Victor refuses to admit to anyone the terror of what he has created. “Did I request thee, Maker, from my clay to mould me Man, did I solicit thee from darkness to promote” By saying this the creature makes us the reader feel sorry for the creature, and make Victor more of a villain.
This brings about another argument about the creature and Frankenstein; we have to make a judgement on who the villain is and who the victim is. If we take the creature to be a villain some people would agree and some wouldn’t. The creature does commit evil acts through out the novel which makes people agree with him being a villain, and also ends up killing Victor Frankenstein and expresses his feelings about him and what he has done “But its true that I am a wretch. I have murdered the lovely and the helpless; I have strangled the innocent as they slept, and grasped to death his throat who never injured me or any other living thing”. The creature then goes onto reflect on Victor Frankenstein’s death and says “There he lies, white and cold in death. You hate me; but you abhorrence cannot equal that with which I regard myself”. This shows that his upbringing was not that of a normal person and also that he was not taught of the right and wrong.
People will say that it wasn’t the creature’s fault that he committed all these evil acts, because he didn’t ask to be created. Then abandoned by his creator, this will make people sympathise with the creature, making us the reader judge him as a victim not a villain. In conclusion I would say that the creature is all those mentioned in the title, that is why the creature is so interesting. Frankenstein could be seen as a scientific hero for creating life and could be seen as a villain for abandoning his creation.
All in all I would say that this gothic novel Frankenstein is about ambition, people’s interest in science, isolation, insecurity, putting characters in extreme situations and also how much of a risk people are willing to take for the ambition and courage, which were shown in different ways through out the novel. In my opinion overall I think that the creature can be seen as all those mentioned in the title, Frankenstein can be seen as only a hero or a villain and Walton can be seen as only a hero or a victim.