The Birth of a Monster”
Frankenstein is a compelling account of what happens when a man tries to create a child without a woman. It can, however, also be read as an account of how the relationship between the creator and the child can be destroyed by the lack of love and acceptance. Frankenstein represents the classic case of an abused and neglected child growing up to be an abuser. The heart of the novel is the creature’s discussion of his own development. For approximately nine months Victor Frankenstein labored on the creation of his “child”. When finally on a night in November he witnesses the “birth” of his child . “I saw the dull yellow eye of the creature open; it breathed hard, and a convulsive motion agitated its limbs (Shelley 34).
Instead of reaching out to his child, Victor rushes out of the room disgusted by the abnormality of his creation. When the creature follows after him, Victor runs away in horror completely abandoning his child. This is clear evidence that love and acceptance would be something hard to come by. The way Victor Frankenstein reacts when he first sees the hideous form he has created is a clear indicator of how their relationship will be
While creating his child, Victor never considered whether this creature would even want to exist. He also didn’t take enough care with the creature’s appearance. Victor never considered how such a creature would be able to exist with human beings. He did not take time with the features either and created a being with a horrifying appearance. Unable to accept his creation, Victor abandons his “child” and all parental responsibility. He even wishes that his “child” were dead. “I gnashed my teeth, my eyes became inflamed, and I ardently wished to extinguish that life which I has so thoughtlessly bestowed (Shelley 61).”
Victor Frankenstein because of his scientific curiosity wanted to bring back the dead by animating the life less. Not knowing what will happen to this being after being brought back from the dead. Victor obviously did not take in to consideration that this being will have emotions, giving it the ability to feel, pain, love and sorrow. So by disowning his child Victor created a need for emotional compensation from someone. This caused hate and rage to be embodied in Frankenstein every time he thought he find love and acceptance because he was rejected by society the same way Victor had did. From the moment of the creature’s birth, Victor thought of it as demonical and abused it. The creature, himself, realizes that a child that is deprived of a loving family becomes a monster. The creature repeatedly insists that he was born good but compelled by others to do evil. Thus, suggesting that a rejected and unmothered child can become a killer.
Even without the proper nurturing the creature manages to get an education. It is only later through contact with the DeLaceys (his only true contact with society) that the creature develops a consciousness and realizes that he is a social outcast. The creature obtains a moral and intellectual education through his observation of the DeLacey family. The DeLacey’s provide the creature with an example of a loving, accepting, and virtuous family. They stimulate his emotions and inspire him to do good deeds for others (he secretly collects firewood for the family). Through the creature’s observation of the DeLacey family, the creature is also stimulated intellectually and is introduced to spoken and written language. Not only does the creature learn morality and virtue from the DeLacey family but also acquires a small library, which enlarges his knowledge of human vice and virtue. From Plutarch s Lives of the Noble Romans he learns about human virtue, heroism, and civil justice. In his reading of Milton s Paradise Lost, he learns the
The creature received an excellent education but unfortunately this caused a greater need for love and acceptance. Once the creature left the state of nature and learned the language and laws of society, he gained a self-consciousness; a self-consciousness of his own isolation from humanity.
I learned that the possessions most esteemed by your fellow-creatures were, high and unsullied descent united with riches…but…I possessed no money, no friends, no kind of property. I was, besides, endowed with a figure hideously deformed and loathsome; when I looked around, I saw and heard of none like me… 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 ever remained in my native wood, nor known or felt beyond the sensations of hunger, thirst, and heat (Shelley 89). Yet in still Frankenstein felt that since he had learned so much from reading and observing the family he will be loved and accepted because of his intellect. Frankenstein figured that since the old man of the family was blind he could convince him that he was not a threat to society and should be seen, as the devilish being that he looks like. Frankenstein thought that through the old man the rest of the family would take sympathy towards him and accept him because of his intellect and not the way he looked. Obviously Frankenstein was wrong and before his plan could work he was seen by the family causing him to be rejected. Even to the point where the family actually leaves the cottage cutting off his link to the outside world. After being rejected by Victor Frankenstein, his father, the DeLacey family, and society, the creature abandons all good and lives out a course of vengeance against Frankenstein. His first
victim turns out to be Victor s younger brother William which whom he kills right after being rejected by the family. After this he realizes the beauty of the female species which attracted and calmed him. But quickly his rage returned because he knew that because of his looks he would never be able to receive any love or affection. Frankenstein is now in need of a companion that will love him and accept him for who he is and not reject him because of his appearance. The reason he wants a female is because that was the type of companion god gave Adam in Paradise Lost.
You must create a female for me, with whom I can live in the interchange of those sympathies necessary for my being (Shelley 98). I demand a creature of another sex, but as hideous as myself…and it shall content me. At this point Frankenstein hold his love ones for ransom by making Victor make him a female companion compatible to his needs. Victor eventually does not go through with the plan because if she did not like Frankenstein that would evoke more rage is his heart since he was rejected by something as hideous as he was. Therefore leaving two raging monsters roaming the earth with powers greater than man does. Without the hope of receiving any love or acceptance from anyone Frankenstein decides to murder those close to Victor first by killing his best friend then by killing his wife on his wedding day which was something he vowed to do. I shall be with you on your wedding night (Shelley 116). With the murders of those close to him and the fact that this monster was still living all eventually leads him on a journey that will destroy both of them. Even though the creature received a moral and intellectual education, the lack of a nurturing and loving parent as well as companionship and acceptance from society led him to reject morality and instead destroy. The creature as well as the reader realized that he would have
been better off without the education. If he wasn’t going to have love and acceptance, it would have probably been best for him to live in an animal like state without a developed consciousness that made him realize how alone he was. Victor never realizes that his lack of parental love and guidance is what led to the creature’s murderous path. He only felt guilt from having created the creature. If Victor had only been a loving parent, the creature could have probably overcome all other obstacles and remained moral.
Because he did not show him no affection or love Frankenstein desperately tried to get love and acceptance from society just like an orphan looking for a parent. That is terrible how Victor Frankenstein rejected something that he created in some what the same way a mother gives up her child to society not know what s going to happen. Although hideous as he may seemed Frankenstein was created in the form of his creator the same way Adam was created by God.
God did not disown Adam after he created him because that would not have been morally right instead he nurtured him and taught him right from wrong. Adam was the one that messed up therefore causing him to be caste out of Eden. As being a creator of a being Victor was responsible for loving and caring for Frankenstein just as a mother would her child. Mary Shelley in writing this story in some way tries to articulate a woman s fear of childbirth, and her ability to raise and educate a child properly. In conclusion, Frankenstein represents modern fears within people in today s society. There is a monster in most of us, some can control it others can t. The ones that can are most likely those that were loved and accepted by society. But those that weren t might be just like Frankenstein rejected and unloved. If this is the case then the creature could and will come out of us. The experience of pain unleashes the monster in all of us.