As we discussed in class, biblical allusions play an important role in the communication of Shelley’s message in Frankenstein. Shelley refers to different biblical instances and uses them to highlight the disorders and troubles between the characters of Victor and the monster. But for this blog post, I intend to focus specifically on God’s Creation of Adam and Eve. This allusion is highly important because both characters accept roles that do not belong to them and this causes problems and despair for them. Victor places himself as God, the Creator of man, and the monster places himself as man, even though he does not have the full physical qualities of a human.
Victor’s position as God is immediately seen in how the monster addresses him. The monster alludes to the creation of Adam and Eve and respects him as his “natural lord and king…[his] creator,” the one who has all power over the monster (Shelley 118). As an added allusion to Adam and Eve, the monster also believes he “ought to be [Victor’s] Adam,” showing how much the monster acknowledges Victor as God (Shelley 119). And, in all of this, Victor never disputes the fact that he is God over the monster. Victor establishes sovereignty in the monster’s mind, making the monster think he is subject in power and authority to him. As God and ruler of the monster, he accepts a role that he cannot handle because he is still man and cannot function as the all-sufficient God who provides and cares for man. This accepted role leads to more problems because conflict and tension grows between both of them. With an attitude completely unlike God’s character, Victor replies “Begone! I will not hear from you! There can be no community between you and me” (Shelley 119). Although Victor establishes himself as God, he does not exhibit God’s qualities and moves farther away from his creation. Shelley emphasizes the allusion to the creation of Adam and Eve in order to show the disorder and problems that occur when Victor tries to become God rather than just a man.
Also, Shelley alludes to the creation of Adam and Eve when the monster desires to get a wife. The monster dreams of finding a friend and companion that would listen to him and sympathize with him, but he does not find such a person. He laments about why his situation has to be different since he thinks he is not much different from Adam. Once, he “remembers [that] Adam [made] supplications to his Creator,” but he cannot find his creator (Shelley 145). He mentions his desire that Victor creates an “Eve to sooth his sorrows,” so he is not abandoned or alone (Shelley 145). However, the monster forgets that he is not entirely human and having a wife or mate is not something he is entitled to as a monster. The monster sees himself as a human and demands human qualities, but he does not appear as human. He wants to be treated as a human who can live with another human, but this is not possible since monsters cannot exist with humans. As a result, more troubles ensue between both characters because of this allusion. The monster accepts a different role that is not himself and this causes more trouble and distress for both characters. This allusion to the creation of Adam and Eve further illustrates the problems that can arise from accepting the wrong role or becoming the wrong character.
Shelley uses the allusion of creation to point out the fundamental error in accepting a role that is contrary to one’s identity. By comparing Victor and the monster to God and Adam, she clearly expresses the importance remaining as oneself and not becoming another character.