A) Frankenstein isn’t the monster. He’s actually the human protagonist of this novel who CREATED the monster, and is described as a very handsome and intelligent young man. Not once in the novel does he cackle and say, “It’s alive!” Nope, didn’t happen. He doesn’t have wild mad scientist hair either.
B) The monster who Mary Shelley called Adam wasn’t stupid or clumsy. He was graceful, able to jump from rock to rock without stumbling, and he learned how to speak French in a couple of months. I now feel like a dunce and a total klutz next to this so-called monster.
Here’s the long and short of it: Frankenstein becomes obsessed with creating a living, breathing creature. When he finally succeeds, however, he is disgusted by his own creation, and lets it loose on the world. The monster, shunned and attacked everywhere he goes, blames his creator for his miserable existence and VOWS REVENGE. *Insert evil cackle here.*
First of all, Victor Frankenstein is one of the whiniest fictional characters I’ve ever encountered. He’s whinier than most of the teen protagonists of YA novels about *ahem* vampires, and that’s saying a lot. He whines and whines and whines, and never does anything to resolve his problems. Dude, I know not all people create evil monsters who VOW TO *INSERT CREEPIEST THREAT EVER UTTERED IN THE HISTORY OF LITERATURE HERE*, but, seriously, we all have problems ya know.
I haz a heart!
On a more serious note, this novel is told from the three points-of-view. Let’s forget the first narrator, because I’m really more interested in the voices of Frankenstein and the monster himself. Since Frankenstein has no backbone, the monster’s point-of-view is actually more interesting. He convinces you that he’s not inherently evil. He was just made that way by the people who mistreated him, and that, I believe, is the whole point of the novel. Are people born with evil inclinations or are they shaped by their environment?
I started to sympathize with the monster, but, then, Frankenstein points out in a later chapter that the monster is cunning and knows how to manipulate people with his words. Of course, I’m like, “WHAT?! I’ve been had by a bunch of body parts sewn together?!?!” If I allowed myself to be manipulated by the words of a monster, what kind of person does that make me? The book plays with your mind like that, and, in the end, I decided I did believe the monster wasn’t completely evil. No one is.
This book was beyond atmospheric, and took me to beautiful locations all over Europe—Switzerland, Ireland, Scotland, England, and even Germany. Each place has a different flavor, and Mary Shelley captured those flavors perfectly. While reading about Switzerland, I felt like I was really reading about Switzerland, not just some other version of England. Does that make sense?
Note: There are a lot of things I want to discuss like Galvanism, and how this book probably represented Mary Shelley’s personal opinions on the effect of science on mankind. All thoughts about this book are welcome in the comments.
This post is part of The Classic Circuit's Gothic Lit Tour. For more exciting stops about Gothic literature, click here.