Frankenstein Literary Analysis
The novel Frankenstein was written by Mary Shelley in the 1800s. The story is about a doctor, Frankenstein, and his hideous creation. The basis of the novel is to show the development of the character of the Creature, and to show how Nature versus Nurture affects Frankenstein’s creation.
Most readers start reading with the idea that Frankenstein’s monster is a horrid being and deserved to be shunned from society, but after reading the novel, individuals realize the Creature is not actually a monster. Even though the novel Frankenstein is in the genre of Gothic Horror, the monster does not fit any of the classical horror archetypes, and is not actually a monster at all.
The archetypes of horror based characters include; the intelligent, sinister monster, the animalistic beast, the tragic character, and the madmen. The intelligent monster is the most evil, they can outsmart humans and want only to kill those it hunts, but is also patient and confident enough to kill anyone. They know what they are doing and why they do it. The animalistic beast, on the other hand, only follows its instincts. They do not know what they are doing, nor why they do it, but they feel like they have to. The tragic character is like a slave to another being, and must carry out evil actions against their will. The madmen are normal humans who have been afflicted by a mental illness or some sort of trauma, and are the mad scientists’ of films.
Frankenstein’s monster does not seem to fit any of these archetypes. The closest match is the animalistic beast, because in the beginning, the monster does not know what he is doing, and why he does it. However, the animalistic beast usually stays this way throughout the novel, and the Creature did not. He grew to realize that his animalistic urges were not a necessity, and developed to be more civilized, and not a monster at all. The Creature is most like the animalistic beast at the beginning of the story when he murders Victor’s brother in the middle of the night. ?Frankenstein! you belong to my enemy–to him towards whom I have sworn eternal revenge; you shall be my first victim,'(Frankenstein 126). He does this because he wants to hurt Victor for abandoning him, and does not know how to do that more than murdering his youngest brother.
As the novel continues and the Creature develops as a character, he changes and is no longer the animalistic beast’. He begins to think about his decisions and actions, and realizes that he does not want to hurt anyone, and he would rather be loved than feared. He comes across a family in a cottage and begins to adapt to the human way of life. He studies their language and sees the aspects that make the humans kind and appealing. However, when he goes to confront the humans and ask for their love and acceptance, he gets rejected by the younger humans and beaten until he flees from the house.
Who can describe their horror and consternation on beholding me? Agatha fainted; and Safie, unable to attend to her friends, rushed out of the cottage. Felix darted forward, and with supernatural force tore me from his father, to whose knees I clung: in a transport of fury, he dashed me to the ground and struck me violently with a stick,(Frankenstein 120). He did nothing to defend himself, even though he could have destroyed the humans. He did not act upon his instincts and kill for the sport of it. I could have torn him limb from limb, as the lion rends the antelope. But my heart sunk within me as with bitter sickness, and I refrained, (Frankenstein 120). This shows he is no longer a beast because he acted rationally, not just immediately killing them because he felt threatened, and he did not allow his instincts to rise and take over.
Frankenstein’s monster does not follow any of the other horror archetypes either. The Creature is not the intelligent, sinister monster because he does not kill for the fun of it, and his only murder in the story is not premeditated. The sinister monster is also very human-like. Frankenstein’s monster is not human and does not look human, hence why he is shunned by those who encounter him. He goes out of his way to save a little girl, and the sinister monster would not do that. She continued her course along the precipitous sides of the river, when suddenly her foot slipt, and she fell into the rapid stream. I rushed from my hiding-place; and, with extreme labour from the force of the current, saved her, and dragged her to shore,(Frankenstein 125). An example of the sinister monster would be the clown It from the Steven King novel, It. This character murders because it is fun and must murder in order to survive. The Creature is not like this at all, and this is present throughout the rest of the novel.
The Creature does not follow the tragic character either. The tragic monster is described as the character that follows the orders of another, more evil character, and does not actually want to be evil. The Creature is not controlled by anyone, and has his own free will. He is only evil’ at the beginning, when he is following his own will. He is not forced to murder Victor’s youngest brother, and acted upon his own instincts. The ?mad men’ archetype does not represent the Creature either.
The mad men archetype describes the mad scientists of the story. Victor fits this archetype more closely. He becomes affected by mental illness and stays in his apartment, researching anatomy and creating life through science, until he makes a breakthrough. He finally creates life, creating the Creature, then abandons him because Victor believes the Creature will be violent and is the most hideous being that had ever been created. Frankenstein’s monster did not fall victim to mental illness that caused him to act irrationally or with evil intent.
Throughout the novel, Frankenstein’s monster develops and grows into a very human-like being, even thought he was created through the use of dead body parts, and being shunned by his own creator while he is in the first stages of development. The Creature starts off as being most like the ?animalistic beast’ classical horror archetype, and ends as a fully developed, mature human. He does not fit any of the horror character archetypes, even though he was like the beast in the first few chapters. He is not the intelligent, sinister monster because he is not evil by heart, and does not kill for fun.
He is not the animalistic beast because he does not act on his instincts after his character and mind develops, and he goes out of his way to save people, and he realized the difference between right and wrong, and he discovers his own morals. He is not the mad man archetype because he is not overcome by any sort of mental illness, and does not do as Victor did, and fall into complete madness and abandon all humanity and humility. Thus, it is easy to say that Frankenstein’s monster is not actually a monster at all, and is simply misunderstood, and it is Victor who is the true monster, considering he fits most if not all four of the classical horror character archetypes.
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