The creature leaves Victor in the search of other people. Later in the story Victor, by chance glimpses the creature. Whenever the two characters meet, the weather always takes a turn for the worse. ‘Vivid flashes of lightning dazzled my eyes, illuminating the lake, making it appear like a vast sheet of fear.’ This produces an image of a typical gothic scene. The atmosphere is being built up and the scene is very tense. Victor’s brother, William, has recently been murdered. Strangled by an unknown killer, when Victor catches sight of the monster he immediately comes to the conclusion that he is William’s killer.
It is here that Shelley introduces the creature’s monstrous side. At this stage the reader is unaware of William’s killer, but now does start to sympathise with Victor. Victor begins to feel a great amount of anguish over the possibility that the ‘wretch’ that he had created, may have killed his brother, William. ‘Alas! I had turned loose into the world a depraved wretch, whose delight was in carnage and misery; had he not murdered my brother?’
This quote can be perceived in two different ways. The reader may see it as Victor condemning the creature for killing his brother, and therefore portraying the creature as the monster. However it could be seen that Victor is condemning himself for creating the creature, and therefore showing himself to be the monster. Shelley has purposely left these two completely opposite choices in order to keep the readers decision on, who the real monster is, open.
Later in the story, Victor witnesses Justine, his family’s servant, being hung for the murder of William. Victor feels an enormous amount of guilt, as he feels he is responsible for making the creature that, in his opinion, killed William. In an attempt to drown his sorrows, Victor escapes to Chamounix valley. The beauty of the place entrances Victor and he begins to take his mind off the murder of William and the wrongful judgement of Justine. The creature has followed Victor to the valley. As the two characters confront each other, a storm begins. Due to the dreadful conditions, Victor is forced to confront the creature.
Victor decides to attempt to kill the creature in a moment of pure anger, and vengeance. At this point, Victor is furious, and out of controls, he is portraying qualities that you would expect from a monster. On the other hand, the creature acts very peacefully. He is in complete control of the situation; this is due to his calm composure and his use of language. He is acting as the reader would expect Victor to act. This role reversal gives further implication that the creature is a double of Frankenstein. The creature reinforces this, by eloquently saying, ‘Thou hast made me more powerful than thyself.’
As the story progresses, the reader learns about the creature’s experiences when he tells Victor of his travels. The story is written in the innermost embedded narrative, Walton is writing down the story first told by the monster to Victor, and now by Victor to him. We learn that the creature was drawn into the world of civilisation after Victor rejected him, but the civilised world also rejected him. The creature learns more about emotion from watching the De Lacey family. He observes their poverty; he begins to help them, by cutting wood at night. He learns about language from listening into their conversations. The De Lacey’s provide another example of the idyllic family life. The creature longs to be part of this. His discovery of his ugliness in a pool is a parody of Eve discovering her beauty in the pool of Eden. The creature begins to believe in the power of language to overcome the disability of his physical appearance.
The creatures spirits are momentarily lifted when he ‘introduces’ himself to the blind father. He does this when the father is alone, since the horror of his appearance will not interfere with his judgement. All goes well, and the monster feels comfort as the man offers the friendship that the creature so desperately craves. However, when Felix and Safie return, Felix flings the creature from the old man and beats him violently with a stick until the monster leaves the cottage.
From this the creature learns the vicious cruelty of man towards those alien to themselves. He realises that he has no family or friends to turn to, and with a deformed appearance, he is the ultimate alien, ‘I saw and heard of none like me.’ This shows that he is aware that he is alone. This pitiful picture results in the reader feeling sympathetic towards the creature. In this sense Victor is portrayed as the monster as he has inflicted all of this pain on the creature.
The De Lacey’s flee from the cottage, as they are scared of the creature. The creature burns down the cottage, he then starts out for Geneva, determined to seek help from Victor. During his journey he is shot by a man, after he has just saved a young girl from drowning. This increases the creature’s hatred for mankind.
The creature then explains to Frankenstein how he met William. It is at this stage that the creature is portrayed as the monstrous creation. When the creature arrives at the outskirts of Geneva, he falls asleep in a field, and he is awoken by a young boy. The creature seizes the young boy, and intends to keep him for a companion, the boy becomes frightened and he tells the creature to leave him alone or his ‘papa’ will ‘punish you’.
When the creature learns that the fathers name is Frankenstein, the boy is strangled. The creator desires revenge for his creation, and the most painful way of exerting it is to destroy everything that is close to Victor. The creature appears to be pleased with what he has done, ‘I, too, can create desolation; … This death will carry him to despair and a thousand other miseries shall torment and destroy him.’ Now that the creature is being portrayed as a monster in the readers head, Shelley considers us to consider how our personalities are formed and what forces can transform a man into a monster.
The next cruel act of the creature is to frame Justine with William’s murder. This is another ‘demonic’ act by the creature, which gives further justifications that he is the monster in this passage. Shelley appears to be suggesting that it is both external forces and workings of the mind that will eventually turn ‘men’ into ‘monsters’. At the end of the passage, the creature demands a companion that will also be created by Victor. Victor initially refuses the creature’s request. The creature attempts to persuade him with reason, arguing that a female companion would return him to his harmless state. After long reflection, Victor is persuaded, considering that this would do justice to both his fellow beings, and his creation itself. The creature’s eloquence is what persuaded Victor. The language that the creature used with appears to have the power that he hoped it would have when he approached the De Lacey family.
The reader begins to imagine what the creature will do to Victor. The reader is now undecided about whom the real monster is. The creature is the master of Victor, but Victor is the only person who can give him a mate. The creature is much more powerful then Victor physically, but Victor is still in control of his own conscience. This means that he cannot be forced to create a mate for the creature.
Victor sets of for the trip home; however on the way back he gets lost, and is eventually washed ashore in Ireland. He is immediately arrested in connection with a murder. Victor discovers that the murdered man is Clerval. He believes that he has caused the death, ‘Have my murderous machinations deprived you also, my dearest Henry, of life? Two I have already destroyed; other victims await their destiny: but you Clerval, my friend, my benefactor’ This shows that Victor has now come to think of himself as a monster for creating a creature that had killed his best friend. Victor is carried out of the room in convulsions and spends two months in a fever, confessing to the murders of William, Justine and Clerval in his delirium. Victor is eventually acquitted. In confessing to the murders in his delirium, Victor associates himself with the monster.
When Victor is finally released, he leaves Gaol, and he has decided that he should marry Elizabeth as soon as he can. He came to this decision because he believes that the monster is going to kill him on his wedding night. Victor feels that he is prepared for death. However, by marrying Elizabeth quickly, he is actually hastening her death. He is very nervous and apprehensive of what may happen to him, he is concerned of his own safety only, he does not think of anyone else’s.
He knows that the creature will be with him tonight, ‘this night, and all will be safe: but this night is dreadful, very dreadful.’ Victor is being portrayed increasingly as the monster, his selfishness is unbelievable, and he bears no responsibility for Elizabeth. Elizabeth does die at the hands of the creature, and Victor immediately wants vengeance upon the creature, he feels, or hopes, that this will bring an end to the traumatic events.
After Victor has finished his narration to Walton, Walton writes letters back to his sister, telling her about the admiration that he has for Victor. ‘What a glorious creature must he have been in the days of his prosperity’ this appears to the reader that Walton is in desperate need of a companion. Victor spurns both Walton’s offer of friendship and his attempts to reconcile him with life; all Victor desires now is to destroy the creature.
This passage fills the reader with sympathy for Victor, who has given up his life and his only purpose of living is to ‘destroy the being to whom I gave existence.’ Victor is even more alone now then he has been his entire life. His best friend and his wife have been killed, ‘can any man be to me as Clerval was; or any woman another Elizabeth?’ Victor believes that if he can kill the creature ‘Lot on earth will be fulfilled, and I may die.’ In this passage, Victor is portrayed very sympathetically, whereas the creature is shown to be a monster, he has destroyed Victor’s reason for living. However, it could be said that as Victor created the being, he has brought the pain upon himself.