FRANKENSTEIN


Frankenstein is a reckless character. He is the true monster in this story. Discuss.





Mary Shelley\'s novel "Frankenstein" (Shelley), like many texts of the gothic genre, describes the actions, and resulting grave events, of the main character, Victor Frankenstein, who discovers how to create life and then uses this knowledge to create an intelligent being. Although this being is later responsible for the murder of many people, Frankenstein is not a monster for creating it, as he has reasonable and in no way evil motives for constructing it. Also, like any human being should do, he acknowledges and learns from his mistakes. His creation, on the other hand, is a monster, both physically and morally. The circumstances in which he found himself explain why he felt and acted the way he did, however this does not make him any less of a monster. Frankenstein, by his lack of care for his creation immediately following its coming to life, is to a large extent responsible for its conduct, even though, like in Coleridge\'s "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner", the main character does not foresee, let alone plan, the tragic events that occur as a result of his actions. By this and other negligent and rash behaviour, Frankenstein demonstrates how reckless a character he is, however like of Adam and Eve in Milton\'s "Paradise Lost", he later sets about trying to redeem himself. Other similarities can be seen in "Frankenstein" and "Paradise Lost", both in terms of character and story line, as is true of "Frankenstein" and the Greek myth of "Prometheus", referred to in the subtitle of Shelly\'s novel.


Shelley\'s "Frankenstein" is similar to many gothic novels, about a person who unleashes a violent and destructive being upon the world, however in Shelley\'s novel the being\'s creator, Frankenstein, is not evil and does not wish for his creation to be destructive and murderous. His original inquiries into the field of creating life were purely driven by a thirst for knowledge, as this area of science interested him greatly. This changed, however, because as a very socially isolated person, especially at his university, he longed for recognition. Once he realised that he had the knowledge and ability to create something like no other before, Frankenstein imagined the fame and glory that would be his for years to come amongst the scientific and broader communities if he were to bring to life a being constructed from lifeless materials. He envisaged an entire new race of creatures, all honouring him as their father and master, and longed for such a day. Frankenstein also had another motive, which was due to his mothers recent death- an event which had had a devastating effect on his entire family. He saw that if he was able to perfect the technique of bestowing life upon lifeless matter, one day he might be able to restore her to her former health and restore his family to its former happiness. It was with these harmless intentions that Frankenstein created the being, and he just was not able to predict the death and destruction that would follow.


Frankenstein is deeply upset and disturbed by the death and destruction caused by his creation, further proof that he is not a senseless monster. He realises and acknowledges that he is responsible for creating such a dangerous being, and tells his story, as does the Mariner in Coleridge\'s "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner", as a precautionary tale to prevent similar happenings occurring in the future. He is able to see that the creation of another terrible being, similar to the one he created, could be devastating.


The being created by Frankenstein is truly a monster. Being "...about eight feet in height, and proportionally large..." (Shelley, p.65), constructed from old body parts and absolutely hideous, its physical appearance alone is all that is needed to qualify it for this description. It is an enormous, misshapen creature; horribly deformed, distorted and completely unnatural. Even without considering his behaviour, Frankenstein\'s creation can be seen to be a monster.


The creature created by Frankenstein behaves wickedly throughout the story, both violently and destructively, further qualifying him as a monster. He murders men, women and children, and destroys others\' property, apparently believing he is justified in