Hey everyone! Throughout these blogs I will be discussing my thoughts, ideas, and opinions on the popular Gothic novel, Frankenstein. I myself am navigating through this complex novel as we speak and perhaps some of my own, personal insight can help some of you navigate through your novel or even your own daily life as well. So far I have read chapters 1-8, personally I find the novel to be a fast-paced thriller that starts off slowly but increasingly pulls the reader in and leaves you wanting to know more. Today, I will discuss Victor’s creation, stupidity and cowardice.
In Frankenstein, Mary Shelley takes the reader back in time and illustrates a world in which the impossible is possible. A single man, Victor Frankenstein, who has spent his life researching and pursuing science, one day discovers the formula to spark life in a lifeless body. Leading to the creation of the infamous “Monster” and the beginning of a series of misfortunes. Now at first the idea of being able to give life to something that was never meant to live sounds incredibly fascinating and useful. The reader hasn’t yet been made entirely aware of why Victor wanted so desperately to spark life in his own new creature, a being made entirely based upon the facts of science and nothing more. But when I think of this the idea presents several different opportunities. If you could give life to any number of beings you wished solely using science; you could create an endless number of organ donors, an army of hundreds, the ultimate test dummies or scientific guinea pigs, and even possibly unlock the key to bringing the dead back to life. Perhaps, when Victor created the monster he had some of these things in mind but the reader doesn’t really know what his intent was. All we really know is that he has long desired to crack the code of sparking a life but when he finally does he just pretends as if nothing happened and ignores the being, the monster to which he has spent the past two years of his life forming. This to me so far is my biggest question, how is it that a person could devote years of their life to a project, only to walk away from it, and completely ignore the one thing they had striven so hard to accomplish? In the novel Victor finally created the “Monster” after years spent away from home in isolation, and then simply left it to rot in his laboratory. When he discovered it had gone missing he simply took it as a blessing and nothing more.
“I had worked hard for nearly two years, for the sole purpose of infusing life into an inanimate body. For this I had deprived myself of rest and health. I had desired it with an ardour that far exceeded moderation; but now that I had finished, the beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled my heart.” (Shelley 59)
“I threw the door forcibly open, as children are accustomed to do when they expect a spectre to stand in waiting for them on the other side; but nothing appeared. I stepped fearfully in: the apartment was empty, and my bedroom was also freed from it’s hideous guest [the monster]. I could hardly believe that so great a fortune could have have befallen me.” (Shelly 62)
These quotes demonstrate just how unhappy Victor had been with his creation and how fortunate he really was to have lost the Monster. This to me makes absolutely zero sense. After all of his hard work, Victor had successfully achieved his goal. The monster may have been ugly, scary and intimidating but it was still a living creature that he had brought to life and this made the creature his responsibility. In reality the monster was a newborn and therefore he had the mind of a newborn as well.
This brings me to Victors inconceivable amount of stupidity. If you were the mother of a newborn baby would you leave it alone in your room and forget that it existed? Would you wish for its disappearance and then just hope it would live peacefully in the world on its own? No, you would not. If a parent did this with a newborn baby people would call them absurd and demand they get help. So how is it that Victor just assumed he could do this to the monster? Victor brought the “monster” into the world and then within minutes abandoned it. Leaving a scary monster that most likely could’ve grown to become a kind, caring soul to fend for itself. Leaving it to discover the human world on all on its own, with absolutely no indication of what is right and wrong, zero communication skills, and no knowledge of anything. On top of this the monster is scary and ugly, meaning that even if he somehow managed to communicate with someone, they would most likely scream and run in the opposite direction. The fact that Victor was able to ignore his creatures existence proves to me that he is incredibly foolish and selfish. Rather than taking the time to raise his newborn creature properly he focused on what others such as Henry would think of him if he did and decided that his life and reputation was far more important than that of the worthless monsters.
Victor throughout these chapters has not only shown his stupidity but also extreme amounts of cowardice. When Victor discovered that his own brother, William was dead, he immediately pictured his own creation murdering his brother and guilt poured over him. However, rather than coming clean to the police that a possibly dangerous monster was on the loose because of his own lack of responsibility, he kept his mouth shut and acted as if he had done nothing, and knew absolutely nothing of what could have happened to his dearest brother. The fact that Victor was able to put his own reputation before the lives of his own family and village members emphasizes to the reader again just how selfish he really is. Even when his childhood friend, Justine Moritz was convicted for William’s murder and sentenced to execution, Victor still did nothing. He continually stayed silent despite the fact that he knew she was innocent and her death would be unjust.
Victor had the control and power to shape his creature. With his help the “monster” could’ve grown to be a kind soul and learned the skills and morals necessary to live among the people in the society. He could’ve used his break through in science to do good in the world, there are an endless amount of things he could’ve used his newfound knowledge for. However, rather then giving up his own time and possibly risking his reputation he chose to abandon the “monster” and risk the lives of those around him instead. Thus, making any of the wrongful acts committed by his creation nothing more than his own fault.
Perhaps, later on in the novel Victor will learn from his mistakes and do something to fix them. However, if he does not I can only predict things will get increasingly worse and that what may seem bad now will be more disastrous than ever .
Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft. Frankenstein. Penguin Publishing Group, 2013.