Frankenstein is one of the most well known stories and novels of all time, it was written by author Mary Shelley and released in 1818. This horror story has since gone on to inspire countless adaptations and references/homages in pop culture.
In the book Victor Frankenstein is found freezing to death in the Artic Circle by Captain Robert Walton, the story is told through letters Walton sends to his sister explaining to her the bizarre story Frankenstein told him of how he wound up in the Artic Circle in the first place.
Walton and his crew had previously spotted a Giant Man on a snow sled, Frankenstein is also pursuing this being but in the hopes of putting a stop to his destruction and tells his story of madness, obsession and chaos as a warning to Walton to not let his obsessions take over his conscience.
Now we all know the story of Frankenstein but the book did have some differences to the 1931 movie that I am most familiar with.
There is a lot more back story to Victors obsessions, his mother died due to a Scarlet Fever she caught from his adopted sister Elizabeth who would later become his wife. After his mothers death Victor becomes obsessed with the idea of reanimating corpses and creating life, reading books and studying everything he can find in his university library.
I feel a connection to the death of his mother was the trigger point for him to make his monster, my theory is that he originally wanted to bring his mother back but when too much time had passed he became adamant to prove to himself that his studies would pay off and he could create man.
Life and Death are two massive themes in the book, you cannot have one without the other and this tragic story is a testament to that when the Monster kills his one true love Elizabeth and last living Female companion, his mothers death inspired him to bring life to a monster that only gave Death in return, it is a vicious cycle and one that Victor lives to regret.
Speaking of the Monster in the book Victor was terrified of it the moment it woke up and runs away, the Monster runs away too, later killing Victors brother another example of how our actions have consequences.
The Monster is described as followed
8-foot-tall (2.4 m), hideously ugly creation, with translucent yellowish skin pulled so taut over the body that it “barely disguised the workings of the vessels and muscles underneath”; watery, glowing eyes, flowing black hair, black lips, and prominent white teeth.
The description may not seem all too unexpected but we should pay attention to the Yellow Skin, I find this interesting because in most media the monster is depicted as Green, it makes me question why this is since it clearly was not the intentions of writer Mary Shelley.
The Monster can actually speak in the original story and very well, during his monologue we learn that he spent months watching a family in the woods, from watching them he taught himself skills such as speech, poetry and reading. The Monster does eventually introduce himself to the family but it doesn’t go well and results in them leaving the home and this deeply pains the Monster eventually causing him to seek revenge on his creator but also realising that he may also be the only person who can help him.
This is all spoken to us through the monologue of the Monster to Victor Frankenstein, the Creature explains how he tried to rescue a child who was drowning only to be shot at by the boys father. Moments like this cause the creature to hate humanity, he eventually finds Victor and asks him to create him a Female Monster who can love him.
Its hard to not sympathise with the Monster because he never asked to be created, he was born through a man obsessive behaviours and cruelly made to live in a hideous body that humans fear, the Monster tried to be like man but mankind would never accept him because he is different and now all he wants is another creature like him so that he doesn’t feel so isolated, alone and misunderstood.
Victor does begin to create this Monster before backing out and destroying it after he realises how dangerous having two of them could be. This triggers the Monster to kill the whole of Victors Family including his Wife Elizabeth and his best friend Henry, Victors father also dies but from what I understood this was due to poor health and not a murder.
During the story’s climax the monster does eventually kill Victor on Walton’s boat and in a moment of sadness realises that killing his creator did not bring him satisfaction, he was still depressed and miserable so vows to take his own life as he sails into the ocean on an ice raft closing this sad and traumatic tale of Life and Death.
Frankenstein is one of the darkest and saddest stories I have ever read, it packs so many different themes and emotions into its text that you really feel sorry for both Frankenstein and the Monster although I think to be fair the Monster definitely deserves just a little more sympathy.
This truly is a tragic story with a good morale that just because we can do something it doesn’t necessarily mean that we should do it.
Every traumatic event in this story was triggered by the creation of the Monster, it was Victor Frankenstein’s greatest achievement but also his greatest mistake and one that would not only cost him his own life but the lives of his loved ones and eventually the Monster itself. The Suicide really was the final tragedy because with the Monster dying its existence would only become a folktale with Victor and his Monster soon being forgotten to time.
I think that just about covers it, Frankenstein is a great book and one that I highly recommend picking up and reading not only to truly appreciate the true horror of this story but its over 200 year legacy in literature as a whole.
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