Realizations Through 『Frankenstein』

David Moon


“Frankentein, Or, The Modern Prometheus” by Mary Shelley takes readers on a roller coaster of emotions through violence, horror, romanticism, and moral ambiguity of the main character. As the monster’s story is told by Victor,readers are able to come upon the realization that the monster is not innately evil, but rather, is an innocent creature that merely wants to be loved. Yet, the creature does in fact commit murder, and Mary Shelley presents to the readers a complex character in the creature — this is where the character becomes morally ambiguous. Through this morally ambiguous character development of the creature, Mary Shelleyinsinuates her belief that evil within humans is not innate. Rather, it is something that fosters as a product of society’s mistreatment of the individual. This, obviously, is the case with the creature. Readers later perceive the creature as a pitiable, innocent being who desires nothing but love and companionship. However, when society mistreats him for his appearance, rejecting his attempts to build relations with it, the creature inevitably feels anger.

Initially, Mary Shelley portrays the creature as someone who is neither evil nor monstrous. One of the first encounters the creature has with society is when he observes the De Lacey family. Through his observations, it becomes evident that the creature desires companionship and is an innately good character. The first instance is when the creature feels sympathy towards the De Laceys. He realizes that they are an impoverished family, barely able to nutritionally sustain themselves. As the creature realizes this, his sympathy and care for the De Laceys surface as he states, “I had been accustomed, during the night, to steal a part of their store for my own consumption, but when I found that in doing this I inflicted pain on the cottagers, I abstained and sustained myself with berries”. This URL is the one that shows when a portion of the ebook is highlighted and shared

This trait of kindness moved me sensibly. I had been accustomed, during the night, to steal a part of their store for my own consumption; but when I found that in doing this I inflicted pain on the cottagers, I abstained, and satisfied myself with berries

Prior to learning of the De Lacey’s financial difficulties, the creature does not realize the adverse consequences of his actions. However, as the creature discerns the harmful nature of his habits, he becomes filled with regret, instantly discontinuing them. Diving into the novel with an image of the creature as a monster, readers begin to wonder at which point and why the monster began to turn from the innocent man portrayed above to the monster society had always depicted him to be in cartoons and movies.

The creature starts to develop bitterness at being abandoned and rejected. Seeing this transition stirs an emotion of enlightenment and guilt within readers as they realize they themselves have been contributing to the cause of evil in society. The creature further fosters resentment and loneliness when he comes across Victor Frankenstein’s journal and Milton’s “Paradise Lost”. The creature is able to connect the two and realizes that his first interaction with society was rejection as well — Frankenstein, his creator, did not show him love, but despised him for his appearance. The creature’s feeling of anger becomes exacerbated as he connects himself with Satan, realizing that he is not a creation in parallel with Adam.

I, the miserable and the abandoned, am an abortion, to be spurned at, and kicked, and trampled on. Even now my blood boils at the recollection of this injustice.

However, even through these traumatic experiences, the creature merely desires intimacy. Soon afterwards, the creature approaches the blind De Lacey father to connect with him and to express to him his loneliness. The father proves to the readers that the creature is innately good as he is able to connect with him, not judging him for his appearance — for the father is blind.

‘Heaven forbid! even if you were really criminal; for that can only drive you to desperation, and not instigate you to virtue. I also am unfortunate; I and my family have been condemned, although innocent: judge, therefore, if I do not feel for your misfortunes.’

However, the creature finally falls from innocence when he reaches out to William to make a friend. In this last attempt, he is unable to hold back his anger when he realizes the child’s last name, Frankenstein. The creature directs all the anger he has built up thus far and murders the child since he blames Victor Frankenstein, his creator, for his misfortune.

Reading the book assisted in the realization that even the tiniest bit of rejection towards another fosters negativity in the world. This message is beneficial for any person at every stage of his or her life.