Frankenstein – Monster or Not?
One would define a monster as, an imaginary creature that is typically large, ugly, and frightening. Many times in literature, the main character of the story is viewed as the good guy and goes up against an evil villain or a monster. Despite the fact that the creature in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein meets the physical standards of what determines a monster, big, ugly, unnatural, the reality is that the true monster of this novel is Victor the main character.
He is the one who desired to create life in such an unnatural way and ultimately led to the deaths of everyone he loved.
Some people would argue that the creature, based on his physical appearance is the monster in the story, but just because he looks like a monster doesn’t mean he is one. The only reason that the creature is first associated with the term monster is due to his appearance, His yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arterieshis hair was of a lustrous blackhis teeth of a pearly whiteness; but these luxuriances only formed a more horrid contrast with his watery eyeshis shriveled complexion and straight black lips (Shelley 48). This is a classic example of judging a book by its cover.
Society saw only the scary parts of the creature and did not consider what he felt on the inside. Someone who is newly born cannot be evil, because they are not at the point where they know right from wrong. He is shown to be fascinated by nature, I started up and beheld a radiant form rise from among the trees. I gazed with a kind of wonder. It moved slowly, but it enlightened my path, (Shelley 100). This moment his first experiences with his surroundings and shows how curious he is, and in this situation, he doesn’t seem like a monster, but more like a child.
The creature, even showed the potential to be good by performing helpful deeds for the De- Laceys such as gathering wood. If he was brought down the right path he could have been a benefit to society. I discovered also another means through which I was enabled to assist their labours. I found that the youth spent a great part of each day in collecting wood for the family fire, and during the night I often took his tools, the use of which I quickly discovered, and brought home firing sufficient for the consumption of several days (Shelley 109). His personality is one that cares for others and craves for acceptance.
Despite all the helpful actions he performs the De-Laceys still don’t accept him when he reveals himself to them. Agatha fainted, and Safie, unable to attend to her friend, 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 (Shelley 136). The Creature loved this family, yet they were terrified of what they saw. They had no idea that he was the one who had helped them during the winter and they failed to see past his looks to the person on the inside.
Mary Shelley creates the false perception that Victor’s creature is the monster of the story, yet this is not true. Victor is a selfish being whose rejection of his creation led to the death of him and his family and because of this, he is the true monster of the story. When the Creature is first born, he is introduced to the world in a very heartless way. His creator regretted his creation and abandoned him, which for a person who was just brought into the world could be confusing and scary.
He held up the curtain of the bed; and his eyes, if eyes they may be called, were fixed on me. His jaws opened, and he muttered some inarticulate sounds, while a grin wrinkled his cheeks. He might have spoken, but I did not hear; one hand was stretched out, seemingly to detain me, but I escaped and rushed downstairs. (Shelley 49). He wasn’t born evil, he is a product of Victor’s unwillingness to accept the consequences of his experiment. He tries to reach out to people, which stems from Victor abandoning him. All the creature ever wanted was to be accepted, and his one chance at such an acceptance was taken away from him before his own eyes when Victor destroys his companion, The wretch saw me destroy the creature on whose future existence he depended for happiness, and with a howl of devilish despair and revenge, withdrew (Shelley 171).
It was at this moment that the creature reached his breaking point. Throughout his entire life, he was not shown a single act of kindness and was distraught like anyone else would be in this situation. Now and angered creature promises Victor I shall be with you on your wedding-night (Shelley 173). Even though the creature gives Victor a warning, Victor still married Elizabeth and lost her to the Creature’s desire for revenge.
Something can not be created evil. It is their surroundings and their environment in which they are raised that influence the way a person behaves. Too many people focus on what’s on the outside and forget to look at what’s on the inside. Victor was a reckless monster who was driven by the passion to satisfy his needs and this is why he ran away from his family, instead of thinking about what he was creating, he was consumed by his need to become famous.
When Justine is accused of murder he stays silent instead of taking responsibility, and when the creature threatens him on his wedding day he only thinks about protecting himself and not Elizabeth. Victor does not take pride in the creature as he describes him as an animal instead of looking at him as a human. The creature’s life is filled with rejection and hate and his reasons for his actions are justified in the sense that society is responsible. On his own, the creature has shown us his true nature of being kind, when he saved the little girl from drowning in the river, or when he helped out the De-Laceys. They don’t see him as a hero, but as a monstrosity due to his looks. That is why he was shot by the man and was beaten down by Felix. It is when he is misjudged by society when he acts out in anger. Society has a major impact on the way people act.
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