In most people’s mind today, there seems to be no question who the monster is in Frankenstein. It is the creature that Frankenstein has created, that has already murdered an innocent kid. However, looking beyond the outer appearance of the monster, it seems evident that what he began as was not a monster. Instead it was the extreme misconceptions of humans, resulting in extreme isolation of the creature, that caused him to become a monster. The creature had no “relation or friend upon earth,” hence he, in a way, is linked to humans (Shelley, 147). The health and survival of a human baby is dependent on social interactions. Likewise the creature that Frankenstein has created lives a torturous and depressing life without companionship. He strives for friends, yet his disturbing appearance causes him to fail and be shunned by humans.
In contrast, Victor Frankenstein seems to be quite content in isolation. His passion for his work causes him to revert to isolation. Frankenstein mentions that “no youth could have passed more happily than mine” (Shelley, 67). Furthermore, his parents emphasize to him that it will cause them great distress if he doesn’t stay in touch with them. Despite their pleading and past kindness to him, Frankenstein selfishly still chooses to remain isolated, despite the great pain he is causing in the ones he loves most. It is his choice to remain isolated that contributes to his monster-like attributes. In addition, Frankenstein even sees himself similar to a monster. He thinks to himself, “can you wonder, that sometimes a kind of insanity possessed me, or that I saw continually about me a multitude of filthy animals inflicting on me incessant torture, that often extorted screams and bitter groans” (Shelley, 160). It seems that in this instance, Frankenstein is seeing himself from the perspective of an isolated monster. For one, he refers to humans as a “multitude of filthy animals.” He also mentions “screams and bitter groans,” which could also relate to human’s perception of him as a monster. Frankenstein’s extreme ignorance towards fixing the problem he has created also contributes to his monster side. As shown by his actions and his thoughts, Frankenstein is often a hypocrite. For instance, Frankenstein asks himself “why does the man boast of sensibilities superior to those apparent in the brute”(Shelley, 116). Through this statement, Frankenstein seems to be asserting that humans are in fact equal to beasts, for there is a sense of equality that exists between the two. Yet despite this statement, in his interactions with the creature, he seems to show little respect for the creature’s very logical request. In the end of volume 2, Frankenstein decides to accept the offer, however with a great amount of regret and contempt.
Victor’s Frankenstein’s chosen isolation and his ignorance for those who care for him as well as his own creation make him the true monster. In contrast, the creatures wish to attain to achieve friends and social interactions almost make him more of a human, so far, than Victor Frankenstein.
It seems as if through the character of Frankenstein, Shelley could be hinting at the monster-like attributes that at times can plague the human race.