In the novel Frankenstein, How does Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs resemble the creature?

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M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Not only does it have a connection with Manslow, but also with Eric Erickson's stages of psycho social development as well. I wrote my thesis on the latter.

As far as Manslow's Pyramid of Needs, the creature's very human nature despite its creation shows that every living creature with a thinking process would eventually require the same needs no matter who they are, or how they developed.

The creature's Physiological needs were clear in his seeking a shelter to live in, and ending up hiding by the cabin. He saw his shadow as he bent over to get water, and his appreciation of nature and its qualities as he began his quest of self were evident to be necessary for him.

His Safety Needs were met also in the cabin where he hid. He saw the reaction of the villagers as he walked by and he suffered their wrath, understanding the meaning of danger. He also knew HE posed a danger to them. He also understood the psychological reaction he caused on the passersby and, instead of moving on, he hid to avoid their fear, and his own embarrassment.

His Social Needs were evident from the moment he was created, came to live, and immediately seeked to make a connection with Victor. He felt the rejection, and wondered off to make more connections. He formed an attachment by peeping through the hole in the cabin, and he literally formed attachments with everything he saw.  Finally, he wanted a mate,and demanded Victor for one. This shows his need for a connection.

He had massive Esteem Needs: He was aware and self-conscious of both his appearance and his nature. This made him feel left out, but curiously, he felt as if he was deserving of a place among the rest of the world. He also wanted Victor's recognition (or at least some piety) for having been created a monster against his will. After all, he was put on this plane of existence by an arrogant and ambitious psycho. Why would he be the one who suffers?

Finally his Self-Actualization needs demanded that he can in some way make a difference. The creature tried his best at times to fit in. He even read Paradise Lost by John Milton, and learned all sorts of things on his own.  The fact that he self-taught himself a range of different things means that he wanted to better himself, to be more than just a "creature".

Unfortunately, he was not able to ever fit in, and spent the rest of his days in the temporary company of his evil creator.

mkcapen1 | Student

1.               Physiological Needs:  The creature must first find food and water.

2.               Security Needs:  The creature sets up a home in the cave.  He has it hidden away from people who might hurt him.  He is able to watch the family that lives in the cottage nearby.

3.               Social Needs:  The creature ventures out and asks the blind man for him and his family to accept him and save him.  He is very lonely and needs to interact with humans.  He demands Victor to make him a female so he can have someone to interact with him.

4.               Esteem Needs:  The only self-esteem that the creature gains is his recognition that he has learned to read and survive.  He experiences low self-esteem because he keeps getting rejected.  His creator also rejects him.

5.               Self-actualizing Needs:  The creature has become self actualized in a sense.  He recognizes that he needs others, that he is not the evil one that others see him to be.  He has come to terms with the realization that the evil one was Victor who had created him.


Maslow would say that he would have to have reached the self-esteem stage first, but I believe that the creature can never have full self-esteem or fully reach self-actualization because the creature knows that he is not accepted by the human’s whose acceptance and communication that he craves and needs.

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