Frankenstein the Monster

Through his seeking out to destroy his creation, Frankenstein in turn gradually becomes that which he fears and abhors.

No matter what Frankenstein does, he has condemned himself to eternal punishment and despair. He has weakened as a person, and, as he often tends to obsess, he has let the threat of the monster take over his life. Where as once he was an all-powerful creator when he possessed the knowledge to restore life to the dead and breach the boundaries of nature, now he becomes the “creature” and the monster becomes the being who dictates Frankenstein’s life. When Frankenstein decides to break his promise and destroys his progress in making a female monster, the creature exclaims, “Slave, I before reasoned with you, but you have proved yourself unworthy…Remember that I have power…I can make you so wretched that the light of day will be hateful to you. You are my creator, but I am your master;—obey” (Shelley 176). The monster states that he is the “master.” He now holds all the power and knowledge, as Frankenstein did before he gave life to the monster. The monster, when beginning his tale to Frankenstein, talks about how with the light he became more aware and conscious of the world, and now he uses the light as a threat to Frankenstein. Frankenstein moves backwards in progress because even the light will burden him while the monster becomes more knowledgeable and more powerful still. Also, the monster uses words such as “unworthy” and “wretched,” which were words that he uses to describe himself when he is an innocent being trying to fit into the world.

Additionally, when Frankenstein steps off of his boat after being lost in the ocean, unaware of his whereabouts, onto the shore, he is greeted as if he were a monster himself. He is docking his boat when Frankenstein notices the civilians of the shore: “several people crowded towards the spot. They seemed very much surprised at my appearance; but, instead of offering me any assistance, whispered together with gestures that at any other time might have produced in me a slight sensation of alarm (180).  Shelley uses the words “surprised” and “appearance” as if to parallel the normal reaction that any human being gives to the monster when he first tries to show himself to human society.  The citizens are “whispering” and using “gestures,” treating him as some sort of outcast or unwanted guest. They immediately charge him for murder and imprison him, an act which shows that the crowd sees him as a figurative monster, predator, and a threat. Frankenstein also alludes to that he “might have” been alarmed before he created the monster if he had been received by such gestures from a crowd, but now he almost expects people to suspect him and see him as dangerous or a monster. This is also how the monster thinks when he realizes that he is an outcast to society.

Thus, through his inability to solve his own problem, Frankenstein transforms into what he fears most and loses his ability to dictate his life. Everything he does it is to prevent his creature from living in happiness. In doing so, however, Frankenstein gives up his own hopes to ever be happy again.

  1. You explained well how Frankenstein becomes a monster. It is so bad that even his creation and people just like him refer to him as a monster. He is no longer the intellectual student he once was, but an obsessed maniac, running around the world to make his creation miserable. The irony of it is that he is the one who becomes “a wretch” or a monster at the end. I want to ask which one is stronger, the physical characteristics of a monster or the emotional/mental characteristics?

  2. I think you did a great job picking out the parallels between Frankenstein and the monster, especially in your third paragraph where you’re pointing out the way the Irish are judging and “casting out” Frankenstein. I think the fact that you found the use of “light” in both ways is amazing. It’s like what we talked about in one of the responses to Neuromancer. The fact that you find that one word is impeccable, good job.

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