People call the monster, Frankenstein. Is this careless usage or does it reflect something about the story?People call the monster, Frankenstein. Is this careless usage or does it reflect something...
People call the monster, Frankenstein. Is this careless usage or does it reflect something about the story?
The use of the name Frankenstein to represent the monster, Victor's creation, does reflect something about the story.
"Mary Shelley seems to be using the Monster as both a product of modern science’s refusal to accept the natural world and as Victor’s “dark side.” It is as if the emotion Victor doesn’t seem to have has been transferred into the Monster, who has no idea how to deal with it."
The creature's very existence has great significance to Victor's character and speaks of his use of dangerous knowledge. Victor's behavior after his creature disappoints him is monstrous. He abandons him, leaving him to figure out how to survive.
Victor alienates himself from the world and in creating the monster, has one more reason to hide. His monster expresses a similar sentiment when he says:
"I, the miserable and the abandoned, am an abortion, to be spurned at, and kicked, and trampled on." (Shelley)
The monster's name must be Frankenstein, the ownership is clear, the creature is Frankenstein's monster, the monster of Frankenstein, or simply Frankenstein, all meaning the same.
Victor, having plunged himself into researching the origins of life with such passion, doing his work with great secrecy, perfected his god-like ambition only to abandon it. In the end, he and the monster both keep running out of guilt, grief and rejection, chasing each other in circles.
I have always worked on the interpretation that the Creature is really Victor's shadow-self. That's why I suspect the story is structured in 3 layers, with each one drilling down further. You start in the outside world and drill down to Victor's world (Super-Ego to Ego). Then you drill further down (inward) to Victor's meeting the creature in a place where they are totally alone together (ID). Perhaps the ID was created as a result of Victor's isolation from his family/Elizabeth; after all the "creature" "emerges" after Victor cuts himself off from humanity (remind you of a couple Hawthorne stories?). For me, it helps explain why the creature never kills Victor (his host), but actually keeps him alive in their trek deeper and deeper into cold and isolation; to kill Victor would be to hill "himself."
If Victor had dealth with his ID when it first emerged, then it might never have turned into the creature; isn't one of his greatest complaints that Victor never accepts him, that if he had been accepted by his creator, all would have been well. And perhaps this is the real reason that Victor cannot create another creature; after all, how difficult would it have been to create a sterile mate for the creature?
One shadow-self to a customer ....
Could Mary Shelly have thought like this? Does it matter?
This is one thing I like to make perfectly clear to my students. The movies have assigned the name "Frankenstein" to the creature when he was never given a name in the novel. He is nameless, which makes him even more angry and determined to seek revenge against what some believe is the true monster: Victor Frankenstein, who created without considering the consequences and then abandoned to his fate...nameless, helpless, and destined to be an outcast.
So, who is the REAL monster? The creature who was created or the careless scientist who created him and threw him away?
The deception that the monster's name is Frankenstein is no deception. The reason the monster's name is Frankenstein is because the Victor is the monster. This "scientist" created something that shouldn't have ever been created. He took people dead peacefully (or not) and put them together into a painless life of rejection and solicitude.
However, the reason why they call the literal monster Frankenstein is because the movie needed a name for it, so why not call the monster the name of a metaphorical monster?