read more

The monster Victor creates in Marry Shelley’s Frankenstein embodies many of his own fears as a result of his neglect. In creating and subsequently abandoning the monster, Victor does within choice what he is afraid of being done to him unavoidably by death: being abandoned. Victor’s creation of the monster was a quest not as much for power as much as control (which arguably is power): the control of his surroundings. In Frankenstein, Shelley shows us that a quest for the control of things that ought not be controlled by us can lead to an exacerbation of the conditions that invigorated us to begin such a quest. In the case of Victor, he desired to control when he parted with those whom he loved, and he was left with the deaths of many whom he loved, concluding with his own.

The tragedy of Frankenstein is that Victors conquest would have been successful had he not been subject to aesthetic prejudices, to which only God is immune. If Victor had embraced his imperfect creation as God embraced his (man), the monster would not have exacted revenge on his creator which resulted in the deaths of many of his family members, but loved him as man has come to love God. Shelley therefore makes a statement about the limitations of man and the circumspection with which Science should proceed.

Shelley also provides insight into the commonality of human suffering and attributes this suffering’s cause to society and the accumulation of knowledge (Science) when the monster utters: “Of my creation and creator I was absolutely ignorant, but I knew that I possessed no money, no friends, no kind of property. I was, besides, endued with a figure hideously deformed and loathsome; I was not even of the same nature as man. I was more agile than they and could subsist upon coarser diet; I bore the extremes of heat and cold with less injury to my frame; my stature far exceeded theirs. When I looked around I saw and heard of none like me. Was I, then, a monster, a blot upon the earth, from which all men fled and whom all men disowned?” I cannot describe to you the agony that these reflections inflicted upon me; I tried to dispel them, but sorrow only increased with knowledge. Oh, that I had forever remained in my native wood, nor known nor felt beyond the sensations of hunger, thirst, and heat!” (Shelley, 101).

With Victor’s abandonment of the monster, the monster becomes increasingly lonely as it discovers no human desires to accompany it. It is this loneliness, that Victor fears most, and is the driving fear behind his creation of the monster. Victor is afraid of becoming “an unfortunate and deserted creature, I look around and I have no relation or friend upon earth. These amiable people to whom I go have never seen me and know little of me. I am full of fears, for if I fail there, I am an outcast in the world forever.” (Shelley, 110).

While Victor and the monster’s fear of loneliness stem from different places (Victor from losing his loved ones, the monster from the general rejection of society), their drives are ultimately the same. This fear of abandonment is at the hearts of Victor and the monster, and their characters manifest accordingly similar.