The Themes of Beauty and the Beast in Frankestein and Rebecca
A woman with haunting secrets and a clever mind compared to a grotesque creature with superhuman strength and a deep hatred against humans, which is more horrible? These two monsters are Rebecca from Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca and Victor Frankenstein’s monster from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. In Du Maurier’s novel, Max De Winter, who lived in Manderley, was an aristocrat who valued his family status. After secretly killing his first wife, Rebecca, to save his reputation, he remarried with a random girl from Monte Carlo. Supposing that her husband still loved Rebecca, who she thought was drowned, she slowly discovered the monster that Rebecca actually was. In Frankenstein, the scientist Victor Frankenstein, tried to create and bring to life a human, but he was horrified by his creation’s ugliness. Regarding it as a monster, he let it wander away from his apartment. Throughout the monster’s wanderings, he was hated and injured by every person he met for his hideous appearance. Being Innately human, the monster wanted to experience benevolence and companionship, yet on the account that people always judged his appearance, it spurned hatred in him and compelled him to harm people for revenge. Examining the two, since Rebecca was evil, inevitable and powerful, it makes her a more horrible monster compared to Frankenstein’s monster.
First of all, Rebecca is more monstrous than Frankenstein’s monster for intentionally doing evil. When Max married Rebecca, she promised to use his wealth and status to make Manderley more famous. Instead, she used them to dominate the mansion with her excessive manners by building gardens, hosting parties, and buying an apartment in London for herself. Eventually, she began to indulge her ways by inviting her friends from London to Manderley. Max recalled this to Mrs. De Winter, “Soon it’s every month, every fortnight, every few days.” (Du Maurier, 377). Months after he was married, Rebecca became reckless with her lifestyle when she invited her friends almost constantly. They were people of low-class, and through inviting them; Rebecca was damaging Mr. De Winter’s reputation by associating the family with the lower class of society. Due to the fact that she did this knowing that Max valued his reputation, it shows that she intended to profit herself at the cost of her husband. Therefore, Rebecca is evil for purposely causing harm out of selfish desire to satisfy her. On the other case, the tragedies that Frankenstein’s monster experienced forced him to bring destruction. After long wanderings, the monster met the DeLaceys, the cottagers who he came to adore for their kindness. Having lived with them, hidden next to their cottage, for over a year, he had always believed that they were the kindest and would not exclude him for his appearance. Sadly, when he tried to establish a relationship with the blind father, he was proved wrong by Felix, the son, who him out of the house with violence. Remembering the emotions he felt during this, “But my heart sunk within me as with bitter sickness, and I refrained.” (Shelley, 94). Due to his discovery that even the kindest people would refuse him, it was reasonable for the monster to think that no other would sympathize with him. Since he knew that this was no fault of his own, it must be people who are to be blamed for his misery and loneliness. Feeling anger and despair, he resolved that it was moral for him to take revenge. Thus, the grief he received from people’s wrongdoing was the impetus for his would to harm. Comparing the two, Rebecca constantly commits harm, to acquire fulfillment, but for the monster, one revenge is all he needs to satisfy his want for justice. Due to the fact that her desire makes her mischiefs unending compared to the monster’s temporary revenge, Rebecca should be regarded as a more horrible monster than Frankenstein’s monster.
Another fact that makes her worse than Frankenstein’s monster is that she is inevitable. Though Rebecca is dead, she continues to threaten Mr. De Winter’s reputation with her ubiquitous presence. The gardens she built, the rooms and implements she used, and the memories of her parties made it seem as if she was still alive. As Mrs. Danvers, the housekeeper, once scorned Mrs. De Winter, “What do you think it meant to me to hear Frith and Robert and the rest of the servants talking about you as ‘Mrs. De Winter’?”(Du Maurier, 332). Everything that Rebecca used, even the name Mrs. De Winter, continues to remind people of her tragic and mysterious death As long as this is remembered, Mr. De Winter will go on dreading the day when people discover the truth. If this happens, the De Winter family will be forever tainted with crime, resulting to the lost their status. Through people’s remembrance, Rebecca can make her damages to Max inevitable. Completely different to Rebecca, Frankenstein’s monster is avoidable. When the monster finally got the chance to tell his creator about the mistreatment he received from people, he asked him to create a companion for him so that he would not live alone. In exchange for that, the monster agreed to live far away with his mate from any human settlement. He promised this saying, “Our lives will not be happy but they will be harmless, and free from the misery I now feel.”(Shelley, 102). By living close to humans, he will receive mistreatment and prejudice. Subsequently, by living far from people, he will not be abused or be urged to commit harm for revenge, and the monster willingly offered to leave if Victor created his companion. Hence, Frankenstein can avoid his monster by giving him what he wants, yet it is a lot harder for Mr. De Winter to avoid Rebecca. No matter how hard he tries, he cannot erase people’s memories. On the other hand, it is totally in Victor’s power to drive away the monster by creating its companion. Reasoning that Frankenstein’s monster can be avoided, Rebecca is more haunting because there is nothing that Max can do to escape her.
Lastly, Rebecca’s intelligence gives her more power than the monster’s physical strength to fulfill her wish. In addition to her beauty, Rebecca was also reputed for her social intelligence. Max had told this to Mrs. De Winter saying, “She knew exactly what to say to different people, how to match her mood to theirs.” (Du Maurier, 372). Using her cleverness, she can make people adore her, yet the most important advantage is that people will not suspect her of any wrongdoing. As a result, Max would not be able to find people to side with him against Rebecca if he claims that she is evil. Due to this, Rebecca made it impossible for Max to divorce her. By doing this, she has secured access to the wealth and status she wants from marrying Max. In contrast, Frankenstein’s monster uses his physical strength to persuade the scientist to grant his wish. After a long journey by foot to Geneva, he finally found Victor Frankenstein walking at the glaciers of Mont Blanc. Meeting with him, he argued that it was his responsibility to create a companion for him. He threatened Frankenstein, “but if you refuse, I will glut the maw of death until it be satiated with the blood of your remaining friends.” (Shelley, 68). The monster can impose a threat to his creator by killing his relatives because Frankenstein is filled with happy memories of his family during childhood. From seeing them killed, it will make him feel despair from loss. Therefore, the monster can force his creator to comply with his wishes using death threats. Nevertheless, this does not make him as powerful as Rebecca. Through creating admirers, she can make Mr. De Winter helpless. On the other hand, the monster’s threat is ineffective because it reminds Frankenstein about the monster’s misanthropy and makes him reconsider that two monsters would kill more people. As a result, the scientist did not consent with his demand. Considering that Rebecca is better in getting what she wants from Max with her intelligence, she should be dreaded over Victor’s monster who was unable to persuade Frankenstein.
In Conclusion, Rebecca is worse than Frankenstein’s monster on the grounds that her evilness makes her mischiefs unending, her pervasive presence makes her unavoidable, and her intelligence gives her the capability to achieve her wishes. As a monster, she coveted for satisfaction, yet this is completely different from Frankenstein’s monster, who is more worthy of sympathy. He wanted to be happy and tried to achieve this by establishing human connections with people. Even though they denied him, he showed resilience when he asked Victor to create a mate. Since the scientist also denied him, he was left to use force. On the grounds that striving for happiness is an important human character, the monster is human because he never gave up his pursuit. Thus, Frankenstein’s monster is more worthy of sympathy than Rebecca, who is less human and more monstrous for her greed. A woman with evil intentions and a lot of power can be more monstrous than a grotesque beast.
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