Mary Shelley’s novel about Frankenstein and his Creature reveals many human vices and cruelty. There is also a place in the story for love and remorse, which opens in both characters in its strange way. However, the complex interweaving of feelings, actions, and the conditions, in which they were committed, show that neither Frankenstein nor Creation is a monster, but only people who regret their decisions.
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The debate about who is a monster in the story about Frankenstein longs for years, since the controversial characters equally cause a reader’s horror, disgust, and sympathy. The Creature of Frankenstein is called a monster because of his terrifying appearance, and the murders that he conducted in the family of his creator (Shelley). The Creature is cruel, and it costs him nothing to take the life of those people who repel him and are afraid of him, since he is filled with loneliness and fear. Frankenstein is called a monster because he created a living creature in pursuit of his ambitions and did not want to take responsibility for his fate. The scientist was guided only by curiosity, the desire to create a new unsurpassed creature, or rather a weapon, since he compares his experience with the other mysterious creatures (Shelley chap. IV). Even after meeting with the Creature who can tell his story, he does not show sympathy and love for him but only feels fear and disgust, which again hurts the Creature. Both protagonists are immersed in hatred and a desire for revenge, which manifests their worst qualities.
However, both Frankenstein and his Creature have reasons for their actions, and also show remorse for them. Young Frankenstein is obsessed with science and wants to make the greatest discovery of death. Such ambitions are common for young people, and Frankenstein’s problem is that his idea is more sinister and was realized. Although irresponsibility of the scientist cannot be justified, it is explained by the young age of Frankenstein, a lack of understanding of the consequences, and fear of his deed. Frankenstein made a mistake that he could not fix, since his Creature disappeared (Shelley chap.V). However, after a few years, when the scientist is forced to create a new female Creature, he abandons this idea, since he understands that such a decision can lead to even more terrible and dangerous consequences for other people (Shelley chap. XVIII). His desire to kill his Creature is also caused only by the deaths his beloved, and if the Creature had not caused him pain, he would also not hunt for him.
The story of the Creature is even more tragic, since he did not want to be alive, and his life brought him only suffering. However, the reader can see that the Creature who desired but never received love was itself capable of love, empathy, and repentance. The Creature helps the De Lacey family, admires them, and wants to be part of their life, but receives only cruelty and hatred when he tries to open himself (Shelley chap. XIV). All that the Creature knows is the disgust and fear that people experience towards him. He says: “I am malicious because I am miserable.” (Shelley chap. XVII). This feeling angers his heart and pushes to revenge and murders, although he offers Frankenstein an option that would allow him to avoid deaths. In addition, at the end of the story, the Creature repents of his actions and wants to die in torment to punish himself. All these features demonstrate that Creature is not a monster, but only a person who receives only suffering and hatred.
In conclusion, Frankenstein and the Creature are not monsters despite all their terrible deeds. Both characters are just people who made the wrong choice and repented of them. Thus, although the character’s decisions were caused by different circumstances and reasons, no one can call them monsters who live only with evil in their hearts.
Shelley, Mary W. Frankenstein, or, The Modern Prometheus. Colburn and Bentley, 2013.