Table of Contents
Frankenstein is classic gothic horror that combines science fiction and an allegory tale. The story, also known as the Modern Prometheus, was written by the English novelist Mary Shelley and published in 1818. The novel is a reaction to the age of reason in the 18th century, emphasizing the power of the human mind. Shelley represents the dark side of human progress, illustrating that human beings are woefully imperfect. Shelley explores the dangers of the quest for knowledge and the advancement in science and technology as Victor develops a creature from dead body parts. The creature is considered a monster because of its physical deformities and therefore perceived as inhuman. However, Victor is the true monster because he generates a creature, abandoning it and thus endangering his life and other family members because of selfish desire. The monster is unnamed throughout the story implying the lack of value and inhumane treatment he received from his creator and humans. Vitro Frankenstein is the true monster because of his deluded ambition, self-centeredness, and hostility.
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Victor’s desire to generate life by collecting dead body parts illustrates his delusion about becoming a god-like figure. His desire turns him into a true monster because he does not realize that his ambition of making knowledge to create assessable life results in unending dangers to himself and his loved ones (Dear, 2016). Desire drives Victor to discover secrets as science and technology appeal to him. Therefore, he becomes obsessed with fulfilling his creation and neglects the tangible things around him, like his family and friends’ love. His father tells him, “I know that while you are pleased with yourself, you will think of us with affection, and we shall regularly hear from you.” (Shelley, 2001). Victor’s father is concerned with his secretive demeanor as he grows distant from his family because of his creation and deluded ambition. According to Brannon (2012), Victor’s yearning for knowledge overshadows reality to the extent such knowledge is destructive. His passion for science and knowledge drives him to search for more awareness to make further advancements. He learns about contemporary science’s progress but still focuses on how to surpass such accomplishments by artificially generating life. He states, “I will pioneer a new way, explore unknown powers and unfold to the world the deepest mysteries of creation.” (Shelley, 2001). Victor is obsessed with being a god, describing his ambition as an external force beyond his control, illustrating his demonic desires.
Self-Interest and Cruelty
Victor’s self-centeredness demonstrates how he has become a monster obsessed with his ambition at the expense of other people’s desires. Victor does not care what his creation would look like and how it will survive in a world where no one wants to socialize with freak creatures. The ideology of creating life artificially consumes Victor, and he forgets about the repercussion of his creation (Bissonette, 2010). Before making the monster, Victor states, “A new species would bless me as its creator and source: many happy and excellent natures would owe their being to me.” (Shelley, 2001). Victor is driven by self-interest because he believes that generating life would fulfill his own life, not knowing that the monster, too, would need fulfillment (Brannon, 2012). He believes that having a creature under his mercy would give him the love he desired from his family members, especially his father. He continues, “No father could claim the gratitude of his child so completely as I should deserve theirs,” implying that the monster would satisfy his desire for affection. (Shelley, 2001). Similarly, when the beast requests a female companion, Victor worries about their courtship, which might result in a more destructive union. Victor does not care about his creation’s interests and needs as he eventually destroys the female monster he made for his first creation.
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Similarly, Victor’s cruelty and hostility justify his demeanor as the real monster in Frankenstein. After fulfilling his desire to generate life by creating a monster with physical deformities, Victor does not care for his needs or show affection as he intended. Instead, he rejects and abandons his creature subjecting it to extreme isolation and distress in the outside world. The monster struggles with finding his identity and purpose in a world where he is despised by everyone, including his creator (Bissonette, 2010). He states, “I had never yet seen a being resembling me, or who claimed any intercourse with me. What was I?” (Shelley, 2001). The monster lacks guidance and affection from his creator, sending him on a killing spree to revenge for this cruelty from Victor. When victor accuses him of killing his brother, William, he states, “I expected this reception,…All men hate the wretched.” (Shelley, 2001). Victor’s resentment of the monster and its subsequent isolation proves that he is indeed the true monster.
Overall, Victor Frankenstein’s actions, choices, and experiences illustrate that he is the true monster in the novel. Victor’s deluded ambition to generate life artificially shows his obsession with being a god-like figure. His self-centeredness and cruelty towards his creation prove his lack of compassion, which is a monster characteristic. The author demonstrates powerful forces such as nature and death, which control the actions of humans as portrayed by the protagonist, Victor Frankenstein, in his quest that results in a great deal of pain to himself and his loved ones.
- Bissonette, M. B. (2010). Teaching the monster: Frankenstein and critical thinking. College Literature, 106-120.
- Brannon, J. S. (2012). Mary Shelley’s” Frankenstein”? Kenneth Branagh and keeping promises. Studies in Popular Culture, 35(1), 1-23.
- Dear, N. (2016). Frankenstein: Based on the Novel by Mary Shelley. Faber & Faber.
- Shelley, M. (2001). Frankenstein: Or the Modern Prometheus – the 1818 Text. New York: Oxford.