“Creature”

In Tuesday class, we discussed about the significance of the word “creature,” as it has a negative connotation and has been used in the story to describe the monster Frankenstein creates. However, according to Merriam-Webster, the word “creature” means, “something created either animate or inanimate.” Parents create their children, the king and queen of Geneva create Frankenstein, and Frankenstein creates the monster. Therefore, I believe that creature can be anything that is created, with or without a negative connotation, and this is proven by how the monster calls humans and how Elizabeth calls Williams.

While Frankenstein describes the monster as the “creature” throughout the story, the monster also describes humans as “creature” because they also are animate beings who are created by their creators, parents. When the monster narrates his story to Frankenstein about humans’ mistreatment to him, he refers human beings as “creature”. The monster says to Frankenstein, “You, my creator, abhor me; what hope can I gather from your fellow-creatures, who own me nothing? They spurn and hate me,” (Shelly 119). By using the word “fellow-creatures”, the monster agrees that humans are also creations, just are created in different ways. The word “creature” does not only apply to the monster that is created by Frankenstein, but also applies to humans who are created by their parents.

Yet some readers may challenge my view by insisting that the definition and my belief do not necessarily eliminate the negative connotation in the word. Indeed, when Frankenstein applies the word “creature” to the monster, there is definitely a negative and fearful meaning on the word. However, by examining how Elizabeth refers Williams as a “creature”, it is clear that creature can apply to anything, even without a negative connotation. Elizabeth says to Justine, “Oh! How I hate its shews and mockeries! When one creature is murdered, another is immediately deprived of life in a slow torturing manner,” (Shelly 108). The “one creature” is referring to Williams, who is a sweet and beautiful child. Because the word “creature” can be used to describe the monster, humans, and even Williams, it can be anything in the world that is created by someone and it can have no definite connotation behind it.

 

6 comments
  1. I agree with your statement that creature is a very flexible label, and can be used to describe both humans, and the “creature” that Victor Frankenstein creates. This shows the link between humans and Frankenstein’s creation. I feel that this also shows that nobody starts out as a monster, but through different forms of treatment, they sure can become one.

  2. I agree that the word “creature” can have both positive an negative connotations. I think that Frankenstein and the monster use the word “creature” to describe the unknown. Frankenstein knows that what he has created is not a human being, yet he doesn’t really know what he is. He resorts to using “creature” for lack of a better description. Similarly, the monster knows that he is not like human beings but he doesn’t exactly know what humans are either. Both parties are confused by each other so they each use the word “creature” to describe the unknown.

  3. I believe that “creature” can be positive or negative depending on the context it is used in. When describing the monster, “creature” is used negatively. The monster isn’t necessarily human, so “creature” is a vague word to describe what it is. However, in a different context, “creature” can be used positively.

  4. I agree with you and all of the comments. The word ‘creature’ can be used positively and negatively. I just think it is interesting how for the most part creature has adopted a more negative connotation. When I hear someone say ‘creature’ I immediately think of something equivalent to the monster in Frankenstein. I, however, still agree with you that the word technically and by definition has both positive and negative uses.

  5. I’m glad to see you working through some of the different ways we can interpret the word “creature,” Jen. I particularly appreciate the insight that you and the other commenters have teased out, noticing that the monster and Frankenstein appear to use the word differently.

    And good work putting a naysayer into your blog post, to deal with some of the objections that could be raised.

  6. I agree with the comments you have made on the word creature. If in the 19th century creature doesn’t seem to have a negative connotation, what has made this word have this negative connotation in our present day life? Maybe there was some shift of the use of this word over time. However, I definitely agree that during this time creature was a neutral word.

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