“Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change.”
-Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, Frankenstein
Frankenstein’s monster is arguably the most iconic emblem of horror, as he has been depicted in various books, movies, tales, TV shows, and more. His appearance seems to have changed from film to film, but there are some key features that are always present: a square head, an oblong forehead, stitches on the face, bolts in the neck, and green skin. It just so happens that most of these characteristics do not appear in Mary Shelley’s original Frankenstein. According to Mary Shelley, the Creature has “yellow skin scarcely covering the work of muscles and arteries beneath; lustrous and flowing black hair, pearly white teeth, and watery eyes ” (Shelley 58). Our version of Frankenstein has changed a-lot over the years and although Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein was brought to life over 200 years ago, it still continues to haunt us. The monster in her story emulates the monsters that we face today.
When I say monsters, I do not mean the ones we feared that were under our bed as children, but the daunting issues that humanity has conceived. A global issue is a word that we use to describe a social, political, economic, or environmental problem with catastrophic effects on the world. When I submersed myself into Frankenstein, I connected the dots between this classic tale and the problems that are shaping the world as we know it. If you look at the big picture, Victor can be seen as society and the Creature as global issues. I specifically connected this idea with climate change. Victor created the Creature, just as society has created global warming. Victor neglects his creation, just as society is also neglecting global warming. When Victor finally realizes what he has done and he finds enough courage to face his consequences, it is too late. The Creature is “fearless, and therefore powerful”; he is superior in all aspects (Shelley 62). The Creature is extremely intelligent, he dose not get tired, and he survives on little food, making it strenuous for Victor to chase him. The Creature kills Victor’s friends and family and eventually derails him. The Creature ruins his life. Society has allowed global warming to go on for too long- just as Victor did- and now we are seeing the catastrophic effects on our own lives. Greenhouse gas emissions are rising, causing the global temperature to rise, causing irreversible consequences to our climate. No intelligent species would destroy their own habitat. So why has it gone this far?
Victor Frankenstein had an unfortunate fate. Does that mean Mary Shelley predicts that humanity will have the same destiny? Are we a carbon-copy of her work?
Our image of “the monster” may have changed over the years, but the story he represents is still pertinent to our lives. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is a cautionary tale and it is giving us the chance to fix our mistakes before it is too late. Thanks to many programs such as The Sustainable Development Goals for brining awareness to our global issues; we are already seeing a brighter future. We do not have to end as Victor did. That is why Mary Shelley’s story is so much bigger then the pages which it is written upon. We must fess up to our mistakes and work together to fix them. One person can make a difference; together we can change the world.
“Monster | Definition of Monster in English by Oxford Dictionaries.” Oxford Dictionaries | English, Oxford Dictionaries, en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/monster.
Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. Penguin Publishing Group, 2013.
“Sustainable Development Goals .:. Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform.” United Nations, United Nations, sustainabledevelopment.un.org/?menu=1300.
“Free Image on Pixabay – Arctic, Sea, Water, Ice, Floating.” Family Love Rainbow · Free Vector Graphic on Pixabay, pixabay.com/en/arctic-sea-water-ice-floating-983917/.