The novel by Marry Shelley Frankenstein is a fascinating story written in quite a Gothic style. The author admitted that an inspiration for writing this story she took from her dream. This novel is commonly recognized to be one of the best horror novels of the Gothic art in the whole world.
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Frankenstein is told to us through correspondence. There are three different narrators: Walton, who is a natural explorer writing letters to his sister and whom Frankenstein tells the story of his life when he is on the edge of death; Victor Frankenstein, who retells about the creation of the monster and all the events preceding and following it; and Victor, who also tells us the monster’s words. However, the book is written in such a way that we feel like the monster tells the story from the first person’s perspective – that is why we say that there are three main narrators. Such duality in narration allows us to work out different points of view on the same character, clearly noting both positive and negative features. Although such a way confuses a reader from time to time, eventually we have to recognize that without it, the hidden sub-context of the story would not be understandable for us.
Walton, Frankenstein, and the creature somehow resemble one another. All of them have this powerful aspiration to study, to learn the surrounding world, especially the mother-nature. They all like to get to know better human behavior, to learn how people ‘function’. Amazing to observe how each of them acquires the needed knowledge, applies it in practice; and it is interesting what outcomes they get. Only by analyzing their behaviors we can learn more about the human nature, the weaknesses we have to reveal each coming day when taking decisions and making choices. It provides much information about the behavioral psychology. Mary Shelly perfectly illustrates the main mistakes we do in our lives: losing family by being too obsessed with our careers, pushing away friends by not appreciating their importance for us, taking unreasonable decisions without proper consideration, ruining our lives by being led with the false goals and actually being unable to establish those goals which can bring us happiness.
I must admit that I do not agree for the creature to be treated as a monster. Shelly does not even give a name to it as if trying to show all the misery and meanness of the creature. However, this fact does not allow us to judge the uneducated living thing who could have become a smart man with positive inclinations if it were not for the circumstances which led to the opposite. If something can be educated and reveals all the desires towards it, if it shows longing for kindness and tenderness and tries to care for others in its own special way, then no matter how it looks or what physical abilities possesses, it must be given a chance to become a human being (even when literally it is impossible).
It is evident from the language the creature uses that we are faced with quite a civilized person who is making first steps to become mature. The creature explains how it has learnt the language. And this is the most fascinating thing about it, in my opinion. We see a great potential in it. To learn the language by just listening to other people talking, by finding the books and trying to read a word in it when you do not even know how to pronounce a single letter is truly amazing. Step by step, with a great wish to understand what people talk around it, the so-called monster learns the literary beautiful language within quite a short time. The creature desperately desires to be able to communicate with everyone, but is afraid to make the first steps, knowing that the people will get tremendously scared only at first sight of it.
Despite all the woes that the monster encounters when trying to make at least some contact with human beings, it does not stop loving mankind and trying to learn how to behave according to their rules. The greatest kind-heartedness of the sufferer is revealed in its ‘communication’ with the poverty-stricken family from the village, De Laceys. When the creature realizes that they are poor, it does everything in order to alleviate their miserable existence at least in some way. It admires those people. It finds them to be the best examples of the humankind. It longs to have the opportunity to talk to them one day. And this day comes. The monster goes inside the house where only a blind man is, the father of the family. Without being able to see the creature, De Lacey accepts it to be a very nice person. However, when his children enter the room, they are utterly horrified. Felix tries to fight the monster. Agatha falls unconscious. The creature does not fight back, it escapes to the woods. It has considered this family to be its own family, its parents.
The creature behaves very human-like, even gentleman-like, I would say. The only act of monstrosity happens when the creature sees its reflection in the mirror. On the whole, it does very well for a being who has never been accepted by anyone nor taught through direct communication.
Surprisingly, the monster educates itself on such books as the Sorrows of Werter, Ruins of Empire by Volney, Paradise Lost, a volume of the Lives by Plutarch, and many others. Let us agree that this is not an easy choice to comprehend such books without certain experience and background knowledge. The creature is motivated greatly to become as people around him one day. This idea inspires him to pursue his self-education.
At the end of the novel the monster is found in the Antarctica, where it has been led by Victor who was triggered by revenge for murdering his close ones. Maybe the creature dies there with the breaking of the ice, maybe survives; Mary Shelly does not tell us. However, the idea presupposes that we will never see it again.
There is a great number of movies filmed basing on the plot of the Frankenstein’s story. Beginning from 1910 and up to 2011, the cinematographers have depicted the creature in its most different forms. Some of them show it as a tragic hero, and others, which are the majority, film its evil nature and monstrous sides. For example, the 1957 version filmed by Hammer Film Productions begins with Victor in prison, just before his execution; he retells his life story to a priest. Frankenstein assembles the monster from the corpse found on the gallows; its brains comes from the well-known professor, who Victor invites for a friendly visit and then kills. When the creature becomes alive, Frankenstein gets scared of its appearance and locks it up, but it escapes and kills one blind man. Victor with his mentor who assists him hunts the creature, shoots it, and buries it in the woods. After a while, Victor revives the monster again to kill his maid, Justin, who threatens him to tell the authorities about all he has done. Finally the creature escapes again and threatens to murder Elizabeth, Victor’s beloved bride. This time Frankenstein pushes the creature into the bath with acid, which dissolves the body of the monster not leaving a sinlge proof of its existence. Victor is executed for killing Justin.
This is the plot of one of the movies. We see how inadequete it is and what false idea it passes to people. Unfortunately, most of the versions are like this, and only few follow the Mary Shelly’s book. One thing that I like in this movie is the way Frankenstein is treated. In my opinion, the only monster in this whole story is Victor – in his aspirations he unreasonably gives life to the creature and does not even want to deal with the circumstances which arise afterwards because he is scared. When the creature appeals to him for help, he pushes it away; he is revengeful and selfish because apart from listening to the monster’s story, he does not try to help it. And the creature has proved many times to be very moral, understanding, perceptive, and helpful. However, inequality wins, showing that people are shallow and misled by appearances.