Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is perhaps one of the most famous monster stories ever written. In the various film adaptations, Frankenstein’s creature is hideous, has a limited vocabulary, and is irrationally afraid of fire. All of these traits go along with the idea of the stereotypical monster. However, in the original novel, the creature is articulate and respects the power of fire. Although Frankenstein’s creature is also ugly in the novel, he was built with the intention to be beautiful.
Some may believe that the unnatural ugliness of Frankenstein’s creature is enough to brand the character as a monster. But everyone has heard that looks don’t really matter. And there is another reason as to why Frankenstein’s creature is considered a monster, which goes back to the moment the creature was brought to life.
When Frankenstein’s creature was first given life, the first thing he sees is Dr. Frankenstein running away from him. As his backstory reveals, when Frankenstein’s creature first awoke his mind was like an infant’s. Frankenstein’s creature had no one to teach him the ways of the world, so he had to teach himself.
By observing a family, Frankenstein’s creature learned what a normal child would have learned from their parents. By listening to people talking, Frankenstein’s creature learned to speak. He even taught himself to read, although Frankenstein’s creature thought that works of fiction like Paradise Lost were histories. After all, there was no one to teach him otherwise.
Frankenstein’s creature lives a typically harmless life until he meets Dr. Frankenstein’s younger brother William. William deems the creature a monster just because of his outward appearance. Learning that William is related to his creator, Frankenstein’s creature murders the young boy. Then he finds Dr. Frankenstein and threatens to kill everyone the doctor cares about unless Dr. Frankenstein builds the creature a bride. Frankenstein’s creature commits these crimes as revenge for his abandonment by the doctor.
Frankenstein’s creature becomes a monster because of Dr. Frankenstein’s abandonment of his creation. Dr. Frankenstein was like the creature’s mother, and without a mother figure to nurture him the creature became the very monster he appeared to be. Frankenstein’s creature was born with a good heart, but over time it grew as ugly as his face… and all because he was abandoned at birth.
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