Who is the real monster in the story "Frankenstein"? In Mary Shelleys, "Frankenstein", she tells of how Victor Frankensteins desire for undeniable power and knowledge lead to demise of him and everyone he loved. As Robert Walton voyages out to discover the frozen land of the arctic, he encounters Victor near death. Walton takes Victor in to heal him up thus, beginning Victors horrific tale of his desire for creation that ultimately lead to unrelenting revenge. He goes on to to describe of his fortunate upbringing and the privileged education he received in Ingolstadt. His quest for power and knowledge that no man possessed would originate her. After years of studying different sciences, Victor finally gets what he obsessed for, when he rejuvenated life where it ceased to exists. Petrified by the very sight of his own creation, Victor abandoned the creation, leaving the creature to educate himself. Disgusted at the appearance of the creation, society rejects it before trying to understand it. By showing human-like compassion for love, the creature's seeks out Victor to ask for a companion. Only to back out of another commitment, Victor pays the sacrifice, by putting he and his family in a dangerous situation. Vowing to avenge his creator, the creature wreaks havoc on Victor and his family. Finally, Victor is the one who vows to destroy the very thing which he had created, since it is the one who destroyed his life. Thus, bringing the reader to the ultimate showdown of monster versus monster, as their battle of supremacy switches back and forth. In Mary Shelley's, "Frankenstein", we are left with the illusion that monsters are percieved to be hideous;however it is humanity's nature that the monster lies within.
While seeking out the knowledge of the unknown, Walton leads a voyage to the isolated arctic until his mission is delayed due to the impassable frozen seas. Here, he stumbles upon Victor in a deathly state. After nursing him back to health, he hears of the fascinating tale that Victor has lived out. Victor starts by telling him of his early life in Geneva, a time of innocence. He comes from a very well respected family who lives up to their great reputation. His family consists of his parents, a couple of younger brothers, and an adopted sister and future wife, Elizabeth. Mary Shelley explains why Victor enjoys telling of this time in his life, because he was guilt free from the mistake he had created in his later years. Shelley says, "I feel pleasure in dwelling on the recollections of childhood, before misfortune had tainted my mind, and changed its bright visions of extensive usefulness into gloomy and narrow reflections upon myself" (Shelley 21).
It was Victor later years where he himself would portray the actual monster. After growing up in Geneva, he goes on to further his education in Ingolstadt. Here, he is intrigued by different types of sciences'. Allene Stuart sees Victor as an intelligent person with a bright future. Stuart commented, " Victor Frankenstein is introduced as a chemist and anatomist who has delved into dangerous lore, but there is no evidence that his native gifts or academic training are such as to equip him for the discovery of the origin and creation of life, a secret that has escaped the most learned alchemists, wizards, chemists, and other scientists and occultists, ancient and modern, in either real life or most fiction" (Stuart 3). Don D'Ammassa's point of view on Victor's drive for wisdom and power would reflect differently on Stuart's comments. D'Ammassa begins to see a very wise person whose obsession begins to drive them mad. He stated, "he is driven, unfortunately, by an obsession that grows more powerful with each passing day-the desire to create life where it did not previously exist, although in practice he may be reanimating rather that creating since presumably he is working with organic material" (D'Ammassa 1). Victor's laboratory would metaphorically play the 'womb' of the creation, where it is here, he spent many years confined constructing this being out of decomposed body parts.
Victor's pushed the envelope to the brinks of madness, constructing the frightful creature. Being the sole creator, he would portray the role of mother and father. However, his ambition personified God as creator. What started out as good intentions, would cloud his own morality and nature. Shelley describes the ordeal by stating, "life and death appeared to me ideal bounds, which I should first break through, and pour a torrent of light into our dark world. A new species would bless me as its creator and source; many happy and excellent natures would owe their being to me. No father could claim the gratitude of his child so completely as I should deserve theirs" (Shelley 32). However, Victor did not possess any gratitude to the child that he had created.
When Victor had finally finished the life that he so long strived to create, he was petrified of the being at first sight. Instead of looking at the physical appearance, Victor should have looked beyond that and tried to understand the creature. All throughout Shelley's story, Victor refers to the being as daemon, wretch, monster, and many other harmful names. Like most people in society, Victor was fearful for what he didn't understand; therefore, he abandoned it. Shelley described Victor's reaction to the hideous sight by stating, "The beauty of the dream vanished, and a breathless horror and disgust filled my heart. Unable to endure the aspect of the being I created, I rushed out of the room, and continued a long time traversing my bed-chamber, unable to compose my mind to sleep" (Shelley 34).
Failing to take responsibility for the hideous creation made by his own two hands, Victor left with the unknown feeling of unexpectedness. Since it was his selfish acts of desire, it is Victor who is the true monster for denying his own creation. D'Ammassa stated, "it is Frankenstein who is the true villain, because he acted without thinking, took risks without considering the consequences, and brought death and misfortune to the innocents around him wile not directly suffering himself" (D'Ammassa 2). His reactions to the consequences that he had to face was not of a respecting individual which he used to be, but by that of irresponsible brat.
When Victor had left the creature roam the world alone, he continued his life as if nothing had happened. His best friend, Henry, and family awaited him with open arms. For Victor to hide his dark secrets from his loved ones of the catastrophe that he had caused showed his lack of compassion he had for them. Laura Claridge sees the reoccurring act of broken homes as she stated, "it is not only Victor who has troubled connections with his family; rather, we are in a world where parental irresponsibility and failure are the rule" (Claridge 16). Not only was he dividing his family that he had come back to, but neglecting the family he created would come back to haunt him. However, while Victor was cowardly hiding from his creation, the creature was on a mission to be accepted by someone.
For the beginning of its existence, Victor's creation yearned for what most people would want, a sense of love and understanding. Nicole Smith explains the hardship the creature goes through in his early days of existence. She stated, "In the creature's earliest days of life, he struggles with the concept of humanity and what it is to be human. His new and unexplained existence places him in an introspective and indefinite state of inquisitiveness" (Smith 2). He has no idea what his purpose of life is since; Victor failed to explain his reasoning for creating it. Jane Blumberg viewed Victor's failure to understanding his creation as ironic. Blumberg stated, "it is ironic too that Victor fails completely to see the merits of his creation, that the Monster is intelligent, eager to learn and affectionate. He is let loose, untrained, upon the world" (Blumberg 9).
Whether it be good or bad, the creature had to learn all that he could on his own. In Allen Stuart's review, she stated, "The is presented as having been essentially innocent and good at his moment of creation. The will to do evil enters his heart only after the world rejects him and heaps its prejudice and irrationality on his head" (Stuart 8). Standing at a daunting eight feet, the creature is neglected by society everywhere it goes. Colene Bentley tells the reader of the creature's progress in educating itself. She stated, "the 'progress' of the monster's intellect begins in a natural environment, in the forest near Ingolstadt. It is here that the creature experiences his first sensations of pleasure and pain, heat, cold, and hunger. His education in the natural world becomes and education in the 'the strange system of human society'" (Bentley 3). Through the physical emotions the creature begins to know what if feels like to be human; however, society isn't willing to accept it because they fear what they don't understand.
Forced to observe a family by stealth, the creature begins to gain knowledge and emotions of a human. The creature finds shelter in a nearby shed, belonging to the DeLacey family. The family consisted of family headed by a blind widower. By eavesdropping, the creature ways able to educate itself and learn of human relationships. Refusing only to eat berries, the creature showed improvement in its morality. The creature chose not to kill for food as it was a scavenger of food. As the creature's compassion for the DeLacey grows, it begins to do good deeds for the family as they struggled. The creation's kind nature blooms as he begins to chop wood to provide warmth for the family. The creature glowed with joy when he saw the surprised look on the woman's face. Shelley describes his emotions by the creature stating, "I remember, the first time that I did this, the young woman, when she opened the door in the morning, appeared greatly astonished on seeing a great pile of wood on the outside. I observed with pleasure, that he did not go to the forest that day, but spent it repairing the cottage, and cultivating the garden" (Shelley 74).
After helping and studying the family for a period of time, the creature finally gathered the courage to make himself known. Because wasn't deceived by the creature's appearance, the blind man accepted the creature for what he had become. Nevertheless, when the rest of the family came back home, they rejected the creature just like the rest of the world.
Feeling rejected by everyone he had come to know, the creature was left with an emptiness in his heart. Time after time society refused to understand him, resulting in havoc that he wreaked. Virginia Brackett commented on his reason for violence. She stated, "not only were his physical acts of violence frightening but also the cause of those acts, his rejection due to his 'difference' by all humans he comes to contact with except for a blind man, leading astute readers to question in which being true monstrous nature lurked" (Brackett 2). The gave the creature motif it finding his creator and seeking him for what he wanted.
While seeking out to find Victor, the creature stumbled upon his younger brother, William. After gaining bitterness toward society, the creature took the life of the young one by holding his hand over his mouth to hush the boys screams of fear. Victor then lead his crusade on destroying the life that he had created. However, when the two met, the creature pleaded his case of loneliness and rejection from everyone who he had contacted. Allene Stuart tells of the creature's plea. She stated, "he had learned through his reading and by observing the DeLacey family that all creatures have mates, and that Frankenstein now must fashion for him a female companion, he decreed, with whom he would then retreat to desolate wastes to eke out his years and never trouble human beings again" (Stuart 5). Victor seemingly agreed to assemble the creature a companion, for he is the very cause of its lonely existence.
At first, Victor saw no harm in creating the creature a mate because it would clear his conscience of the dreadful being. However, Victor begin to reconsider as he began to think of the two creatures mating. He would be the one the world considered the 'maker of the monsters'. Stuart said, "Though Frankenstein saw some justice in the request and initially agreed to comply, upon later reflection he recoiled with horror at the vision of himself as maker of a hideous race of monsters". (Stuart 5).
Although Victor did begin to assemble the female version, be back down from completing it for the creature. Near completion, Victor destroyed the female, leaving the creature in agony. Once again, Victor had denied his own creation of the only happiness he cherished, love. By denying it of companionship, the creature vowed he would take revenge on him on his wedding night. Stuart explained the creature's rage by stating, "Deprived of his own bride, he warned Victor that he would be with him and Elizabeth in vengeance on their wedding night". (Stuart 5).
Victor, being the narcissistic person he is, failed to tell of his mistakes to anybody. While the creature took the life of Victor's friend, Henry, Victor stilled carried on toward his wedding without heed. After backing out of every commitment he had made before, Victor finally keeps his word by going on with the wedding. After the ceremony, Victor finally confesses to Elizabeth that blood of the dead loved ones was on his hands. The only reason he finally confessed is because he was fearful it was his last night on earth, and he didn't want to take his secret to the grave with him. However, the creature had a more diabolical plan for the two.
While Victor thought the creature seeked out to destroy him, it was Elizabeth who would fall victim to the wrath of the creature. While Victor had left her inside to pursue his daemon, the creature slip in and murdered her. When Victor came back in, she was laying there dead. Shelley describes Victor's emotional pain by him stating, "I rushed towards her, ad embraced her with ardour; but the deathly langour and coldness of her limbs told me,that what i now held in my arms had ceased to be the Elizabeth whom I had loved and cherished. The murderous mark of the fiend's grasp was on her neck, and the breath had ceased to issue from her lips" (Shelley 136).
Victor had nothing else to life for, and therefore, spent the rest of his days hunting down the creature. This is were Walton meets Victor, stranded in the arctic, following the creature through the depths of oblivion. On his deathbed, Victor made Walton swear to defeat the creature, shall he die. Although Walton swore to carry out Victor's duty, he chose not to do so when he came upon the creature.
The creature then began to tell Walton of his quest for love, and how everyone, including his creator, rejected him in disgust. As he gazed upon Victor's lifeless body, he told Walton that he would destroy himself. Shelley told of the creature's desire for extinction by saying, "but soon, I shall die, and what i now feel be no longer felt. Soon these burning miseries will be extinct. I shall ascend my funeral pile triumphantly, and exult in the agony of the torturing flames" (Shelley 156). Even though Victor cursed him from the beginning of his existence, the creature felt remorse toward his creator's death. Coincidentally, he still showed signs of compassions of life.
Although the creature seemed to bring out the inner monster toward Victor, it is still Victor who is the real monster. His ego was immeasurable because he didn't seek the knowledge for the right reasons. Alan Rauch sees the blind side of Victor's knowledge. He stated, "the monster, whatever else it may be, represents a remarkable 'body' of knowledge" (Rauch 1). This meaning, that the creature itself was a work of art maybe he should have been proud of, instead of, embarrassed by. Rauch also stated, "the nature of that knowledge, how it was obtained, how it was implemented, and what resulted from it, are my primary concerns" (Rauch 1). It was Victor who had the vision to assemble him from the beginning. Victor should have tried to understand the creature's cry for compassion, for all it wanted was love.
The irony in this story shows that the value of life is taken for granted. Victor was born to a rich, respected family and had no concern for human compassion. Although the creature displayed his monster like qualities through revenge, it was it that valued life more than most human beings. In addition, when people in society don't take the time to look on the inside of a human and past the outer layers like race, sex, gender, handicap, etc., it is when they become the real monsters.