The first definition being the creature, as he induces fear and hatred into those who see him, “breathless horror and disgust filled my heart”. These are the words of Frankenstein as he sees his creation for the first time. The second definition, “anything huge”, is seen quite frequently because this relates to the idea of Romanticism, where the thought of natural beauty inspired awe into the viewer. “The sight of the awful and majestic in nature had indeed always the effect of solemnising my mind and causing me to forget the passing cares of life”.
These words of Victor Frankenstein convey the idea that he, himself, could be a Romantic. However, the last of the definitions, “a cruel or wicked person” is seen on almost every turn of the page… There are many characteristics and actions which Frankenstein performs which could be classed as monstrous. The first being the way he briefly leaves his family for the University of Ingolstadt, shortly after the death of his mother and whilst his sister is still ill.
“My departure for Ingolstadt, which had not been deferred by these events, was now again determined upon.
” This shows that not even the death of his own mother can distract him from his thirst for knowledge. Another ugly factor of Frankenstein is his neglect of everything except science. He “soon became so ardent and eager, that the stars often disappeared in the light of the morning whilst [he] was yet engaged in [his] laboratory. ” Frankenstein often shows his disrespect for the deceased throughout the novel.
He acquired rotting corpses from graveyard, which he saw as “merely a receptacle of bodies depraved of life, which, from being the seat of beauty and strength, had become food for the worm”.
After this horrifying attitude towards the deceased, he then created his objective. Whilst making the creature, which was “intended to be beautiful”, Frankenstein makes a major error by playing the role of God and creating life. The era in which the book was written was a highly religious society and God was the all powerful creator. However, science was rapidly moving forwards during this era and the idea of God being the root of everything was being questioned. “I succeeded in discovering the cause of generation and life”.
This quote shows that he thinks he has mastered creating life and probably thinks of himself as a God, as well as being very egotistical. Therefore the society in which he lived would have disapproved of his actions. After the creature is brought to life, Frankenstein immediately discards it, calling it a “wretch” and not even naming it. Frankenstein describes his “shrivelled complexion” very negatively before it was even given the chance to speak. “His yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath; … his shrivelled complexion and straight black lips. ” Frankenstein talks of his feeling after creating the “monster”.
“I felt the bitters of disappointment; dreams that had been my food and pleasant rest for so long a space were now become a hell to me”. This quote illustrates that Frankenstein, retelling the story, believes he should be sympathised with. Also, Shelley’s vernacular when describing the creation conjures an image in the reader’s mind that it is, in fact, a monster. However, this later contradicts itself when we hear the creature’s side of the story. After abandoning his creation, Frankenstein tries to destroy all evidence of it, and denies its existence, which is effectively like a parent abandoning an offspring.
Frankenstein’s actions relate to a verse from Coleridge’s ‘Ancient Mariner’. “Like one, on a lonesome road who, Doth walk in fear and dread, And, having once turned round, walks on, And turns no more his head, Because he knows a frightful fiend Doth close behind him tread. ” . This verse shows that having seen what he has created once, he never wants to see it again. However, the quote “Because he knows a frightful fiend doth close behind him tread”, tells the reader that the creature will be stalking him, but Frankenstein doesn’t know this at the time.
We understand that the creature is following Frankenstein later in the novel when he re-encounters his creation on a glacier in Arveiron, and after still refusing to sympathise with his creation, is given the task to “create a female” for the “fiend”, so it “can live in the interchange of those sympathies necessary for [his] being”. Frankenstein reluctantly agrees, even after stating that he “will never consent”. Frankenstein believed that creating a partner for his “monster” would be extremely terrifying and because their “joint wickedness might desolate the world”.
Frankenstein soon destroys his work in progress because he is in angst about events which might occur. However, he doesn’t justify this reason to his creation, which later kills; Henry Clerval, Frankenstein’s close friend and William, Frankenstein’s brother. Frankenstein throughout his life was very self-confided, this causes the death of the aforementioned close relations. After William is killed and Justine is accused of his murder, (due to being framed by the creature after it placed a photo of William’s mother in Justine’s pocket) Frankenstein denies all knowledge of his death, knowing full well what occurred.
This shows that he is willing to endure the deaths of blood relations for his own personal gain, or he doesn’t want to admit failure. The way he disrespects human life for personal gain links to the start of the novel, with the letters from Robert Walton. In these letters, Walton claims that “nothing can stop the determined heart and resolved will of man”, showing that he will sacrifice anything to see his objective succeed, which is what Frankenstein does. Still, Frankenstein continues with his secrecy, even when it comes to his most beloved relative, his wife-to-be, Elizabeth.
When she asks him “What is it you fear? ” He replies calmly with “this night, and all will be safe, but this night will be dreadful, very dreadful. ” He doesn’t explain to Elizabeth what makes the night so “dreadful”, which shows his reluctance to talk to his loved ones about issues that are troubling him. Elizabeth, unaware of the dangers, is killed instantly at the hands of the creature. The fatalities of; William, Frankenstein’s brother; Justine, an adoptee; and Elizabeth, Frankenstein’s wife prove to be too much for Frankenstein’s father to handle.
“He could not live under the horrors that were accumulated around him … and in a few days he died in my arms. ” These are some of the examples of the monstrous qualities which Frankenstein possesses. However, despite the killings being committed by the monster, were they at the hands of Victor Frankenstein? The creation leads a very unhappy life from the second it was created, and we don’t even understand this until we hear its story. “I was a poor, helpless, miserable wretch. ” These are words of the creature recounting having just been created.
We understand from this point on that the creation is the unlikely character, first seen as the antagonist, who deserves the reader’s sympathy more. Its rejection by the public was caused by its hideous deformation. I believe this happened because the era in which the novel was set, as I’ve already mentioned, was highly religious. The creature states that “God, in pity, made man beautiful and alluring after his own image, but tells that his form “is a filthy type of [Frankenstein’s]. ” I believe that it was the creature’s dissimilarity of God which led to the public’s hatred for him.
After this incident, the creature realises he can’t live among others and travels to live in a “hovel” in the forest, gaining sustenance from a nearby cottage. He continually helps the inhabitants of the cottage, but not to their knowledge. “I often took his tools, the use of which I quickly discovered, and brought home firing sufficient for the consumption of several days. ” This quotes show just how selfless and compassionate the creature can be, despite previously being seen as a vicious murderer, but is still treated badly by people.
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