“Frankenstein’s savage passions suggest that he, not the apparently more civilised creature, is the true monster” – discuss this statement with close reference to Chapter 10 in ‘Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein’. Victor Frankenstein has consumed those he loves and the world around him by taking his beliefs and ideas to the extreme. He has created a living being with the furthest regions of his capability, but he has no intension of showing any positive feelings towards it. Victor was overwhelmingly consumed by his vision of creating and giving life, that he never predicted the future events of his actions.
Although it is understandable to see that Frankenstein’s sinful acts like digging up and experimenting on corpse as monstrosities, his intentions in connections to these acts were not of an evil nature but purely scientific. The dictionary quotes that the word monster means: ‘fantastic imaginary beast, huge or misshapen person, animal or thing. Now none of the words in the definition could be classified as a characteristic of Dr.
Frankenstein. If any part of Frankenstein is worthy of the title of monstrous then it should be his attitude to the creature he created. Could Dr.
Frankenstein be the real monster due to his savage passions? He instantly gives sight to the creature in living form and he discards it as evil. He persistently interrupts the being from speech and giving its opinion, and deserts the creature in the harshest way. Surely someone’s physical form shouldn’t be seen as an indication to ones inner self and feelings? When we see Frankenstein wanting nothing to do with the creature this is a prime example of the theme desertion being raised.
It is clearly showing how Frankenstein, with no remorse, simply abandons the creature with no real humane motive.
With connection to the question this would suggest that he would be the monster in the story. Here I believe Mary Shelley’s experience of losing her half sister Fanny to suicide has some contrast here as she took her life as she suffered from depression and neglect. When the creature and Frankenstein first come face-to-face Frankenstein says, “Come on, then, that I may extinguish the spark which I so negligently bestowed. ” This quote is full of hatred and anger and shows that Frankenstein will most definitely take away the life that he so willingly gave to the creature at any chance.
It is interesting in this quote as you can also see the theme of birth emerging and the idea of giving and taking life with the greatest of ease. I cannot help but think that in there Mary Shelley’s own personal experience of losing so many children at birth and infancy may have had some effect or influence on her writing here. In Frankenstein, Mary Shelley creates an embedded narrative structure using four narrators through the process of the book. The beginning opens with an epistolary between explorer Robert Walton and sister Margaret Saville.
He includes in his letters how he came about rescuing a man, Victor Frankenstein, and this man told him his tale and why he came to be in the Artic. But whilst Frankenstein tells his story another sub-narrator emerges in the form of Frankenstein’s creation. I believe the purposes this structure poses in Mary Shelley’s book is that she wanted to get across that alienation can occur anywhere in society, and between anyone. As in the book we have a sibling pair extremely close, but we never hear Mrs. Saville. On the other hand we have a well-respected Doctor and a “monster” that despise one another.
It’s interesting how the two contrasting circumstances are actually parallel in theme. One must also empathise with Frankenstein as he is suddenly hit by the guilt of his acts, only too late, when he finally gives life to the monster. At this stage he is confused and petrified by what he has committed and his only natural instinct is to run away. I can partly see why he abandoned the creature, as if he himself could not accept the creature then there would be no possibility that the blindness of society would.
People would inevitably be violent towards the creature and its obvious that Frankenstein did not want any part of it, as he to would be look upon in the same way as the creature, and this horrifies him. A good example of Frankenstein’s guilt and horror are in chapter 10 when he states, “Cursed be the hands that formed you! You have made me wretched beyond expression. ” Here we see Frankenstein curse his hands as ‘be the’. This is intriguing as it gives the sense of Frankenstein giving the view of another person’s opinion of him. As if he wanted to curse himself then he would of stated so.
This gives a sense of how deeply the idea of society finding out his horrendous crimes worries him, and that the guilt of making this creature is vigorously eating at his conscious. Also it is interesting to see the development of the creature as the book continues. It is as though the monster learns from society and, in time, he is infected by judgement and violence. But then he suddenly comes across people as being warm, loving beings. This perplexes him at first but later he is soothed by the thought of companionship and love.
I personally feel that he is less of a monster than Frankenstein because he self-educates himself about being social from humanity. He is nurtured into believing that reacting with violence is the correct way. As he sees this when he observes everyday society. We also see the theme of education emerge in the chapter as the creature learns the understanding of speech and how to read. He does this from observing a farming family. The creature also shows some sense of knowledge relating to biblical reference when he says,
“Remember, that I am thy creature; I ought to be thy Adam; but I am rather the fallen angel, whom thou drivest from joy for no misdeed. ” Here he is showing religions knowledge in connection to his own situation and emotions by using the advanced educational use of a metaphor. He is also stating that he is Frankenstein’s creation, and that he looks upon his creator as Adam looked upon his God. He then goes on to add that Frankenstein’s abandonment of him caused him to turn sour and bitter. This has relevance to the French revolution, which was happening in the process of the books creation between 1789 and 1792.
Where the message was that if people were brutalised, they to would be brutal. The creature is important to analyse as other characters in the book see it as the real monster. It brutally kills Frankenstein’s brother William, best friend Henry Clerval, and newly wedded wife Elizabeth in the later stages of the novel. There is no surprise that death is a heavy theme in the book and Mary Shelley was none to familiar with the shadow of death. All murders were all on the basis on seeking revenge on Frankenstein, for the fact that he abandoned and deserted the creature making it uncontrollably miserable.
To me Frankenstein’s decision to flee was the origin of his loved ones deaths, and Frankenstein knew this deep down. It makes me wonder how the story would unfold if Frankenstein just showed sympathy to the creature? The theme raise here is revenge. It is curious how naturally we try to hurt and cause pain to those who commit such feelings on use. Nowhere in society, or culture is revenge seen as gaining comfort and moving forward, but we continually see it as the only option of retaliation. With this in mind the creator never harms Frankenstein. I believe this because to murder Frankenstein would be the quick, easy way.
The monster wanted something more deeper, and painful to spite Frankenstein. This way the doctor would receive a taste of how he treats the creator. I believe monsters are what we make them, as Mary Shelley interpretations of fear are brought to flesh in the form of Frankenstein. Frankenstein is an example of what loneliness does to the human spirit as the creature’s pain and audacity of abandonment drove it to inflict pain on others. Frankenstein’s primal instinct simply warned him to run, and Mary Shelley plays on this idea that humanity creates life and abandons it will no motive.
She does this, as humanity never bows down to the consequences of our actions. Relating back to the question I believe Frankenstein is the true monster as he is the one who is willing to give and discard life at his discretion. The creature he created just simply wanted companionship, but Frankenstein was to shellfish and unreasonable to offer it. I think he wanted to play God and he paid for the consequences, and I believe that Frankenstein only truly realised what a monster was, when he realises that he is actually one himself.