Frankenstein is set in the 18th Century. A scientist called Victor Frankenstein was always interested in natural philosophy and the way in which the human body worked from a young age. Eventually, he started toying with the idea that using electricity and various scientific knowledge of his, he could bring a body (cut up via himself using various corpses’ body parts) to life. Eventually he does this but it goes horribly wrong as Victor realises what he has done. He pushes The Creature out of his life, and out of his mind – until The Creature demands that his creator should love him as a father should his son.
Victor refuses, and The Creature ends up killing Victor’s brother and a good friend of Victors – Justine. In the end Victor dies due to old age and tiredness. As soon as The Creature sees him he disappears. All he wanted was for Victor to be a father to him. The author of the novel, ‘Frankenstein’, Mary Shelley, was influenced by Romantic ideas and idealistic views of her parents, and because of these ideas, she felt that no matter what was on the outside, love, came from the inside.
However, she was also aware of the social injustice of life at the time in society, and felt that she should address this issue in the book, ‘Frankenstein’. Even though she doesn’t blatantly state that The Creature was only a monster in society’s eyes, she does tend to let our minds wonder to that opinion every once-in-a-while in the novel. She also makes it plain to see that originally Frankenstein had adored his creation – until, of course, it came to life. Then, just like society, Victor ran away and was determined to have nothing more to do with The Creature.
However, in another point of view, maybe Victor never really loved The Creature, and was too busy trying to create a human life without thinking about the consequences to his actions, that he didn’t really care what The Creature looked like, or the fact that The Creature would have feelings in all of this mayhem. Maybe Victor just wanted fame for his creation, and not a son, like The Creature thought. Shelly thus poses the question, “Who is the real monster, Frankenstein, or his creation? ”
We may feel that The Creature should be the monster, as in the novel many people were terrified and ran away from him – and not so many people would do that without a good reason and just because of someone’s physical appearance! However, many people did run away from him due to his looks, either directly or indirectly, as he did have an inhumane appearance. In chapter 5, Victor himself clearly describes what he sees in The Creature by saying, ‘His yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath… unable to endure the aspect of the being… I rushed out of the room.
‘ As this description indicates – this creature did not have societies view of a ‘normal’ appearance. In the 21st Century we may not be as frightened of the prospect of this creature, but you need to remember that this book was set in the 18th Century, and society’s standards and views were a lot different then, compared to now. The way we think and feel is completely different, as our society is more used to seeing things that may have shocked an 18th Century community, as we have more freedom to express ourselves these days whether it be piercings, clothes or make-up.
To prove this, a passage spoken by The Creature himself said, ‘He turned on hearing a noise; and perceiving me, shrieked loudly. ‘ This shows us that even thought he (The Creature) hadn’t behaved monstrous up until that point; he had still not been given a chance in society’s eyes. The Creatures’ behaviour however, was far from “humane” later on in the novel. Describing himself, The Creature stated, ‘I was like a wild beast,’ and, ‘I, like the arch fiend, bore a hell within me. ‘ This tells us that even The Creature himself knew that he couldn’t be compared to us humans.