We are first introduced to the creature when Frankenstein, his creator, is describing him. First he is described as something beautiful “limbs were in proportion” and “features were beautiful”. However, his ability to self-contradict becomes apparent very quickly when he finishes his sentence by saying: “… These luxuriance’s only form a more horrid contrast with his watery eyes… ” With words like “shrivelled complexion” and “straight black lips”, this gives the impression to the reader that firstly the creature does not look a human being and, secondly, he is hideous in Frankenstein’s eyes.
Also when the creature is bought to life the setting is “a dreary night of November”, “rain pattered dismally against the pains” and his “candle was nearly burnt out”. This pathetic fallacy sets an eerie stage and the reader can anticipate that something bad is about to happen, and can almost predict that the creature is going to be ominously different. The creature differs to humans in many ways. Firstly, his physical appearance is different; he is eight foot tall, “yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries” and shrivelled complexion and black lips.
Secondly, his arrival into the world was by artificial means and not by conception and birth. He was not created by God or ‘Prometheus’. This only enhanced the belief that he could only be evil by not been born of man through God. The first person that sees the creature (apart from Frankenstein) “… Shrieked loudly” and “ran across fields”. This emphasises the fact that the creature does not only look different and scary in Frankenstein’s eyes, but to others as well.
Perhaps the creature’s most violent encounter with humans is when he walks into a village, all he does is walk into a house, a woman feints and then the whole village is up in arms. ” … The whole village was roused ….. Some fled, some attacked me….. ” This shows that people were deeply disturbed by the monstrous appearance of the creature, and also proves that the people have prejudged him because of his looks and not by what he is really like. This passage is important because it has one asking who really is the monster, the people or the creature.
The people here would seem like the monsters because of their barbaric behaviour towards something that is different. When the creature peers into a pool and sees his reflection for the first time he is startled by his looks “… how was I terrified… ” “…. I was in reality the monster that I am… ” He is filled with sensations of despondence and mortification. This shows that even the creature sees himself as ugly. This is very significant because if we didn’t have this then we would be reliant on other peoples view of the creature, and after all who are they to judge.
But if the creature calls himself a monster, then maybe it is true. From the creatures narrative we learn a totally different side to him from the way that Frankenstein describes him. When the creature first goes into the forest he learns in a similar way to which a baby learns, albeit he had no parental influences. He learns about his senses. “… a strange multiplicity of sensations seized me… ” He also learns about fire and wood. One night when he is awoken from his sleep in the middle of the night and feels “half frightened”, and “desolate”.
He calls himself a “poor, helpless, miserable wretch”, he feels pain and “sat down and wept”. Then he saw the moon which gave him “a sensation of pleasure”. The only thing that comforted him during this desperate time for him was the moon. This is important because not only does a he show emotion just like humans but also that he longs for a mother. We can tell this because the moon represents feminine qualities. This is significant because if he was a monster he wouldn’t be able to show or feel emotions, he also wouldn’t search for a mother or female companion to guide and look after him.
When the creature sees the De- Lacy family he loves them and when they are sad he empathises with them. “… I was deeply affected by it … ” Also he used to “steal a part of their store” but he realised that he “inflicted pain on the cottagers”. This shows that he understands what is going on and realises the consequences of his actions. Animals are unable to do this, and this gives another indicator of the creature’s humane qualities. The creature also learns about language and calls it a “Godlike science” and he “desired to become acquainted with it”.
This shows that even though he was not created by God he can still learn the language that He gifted humans with. This is very significant because apart from humans there is no species in the world that can speak with a language and for a creature that is not human to learn this language he must have human qualities. When the creature sees humans in relationships and friendships he desperately wants one. “… You and your family are the friends whom I seek… ” He asks for a friend or companion on different occasions and each time his requests are rejected.