In Mary Shelley's novel titled Frankenstein, what are the creature's first words and how might you react to them?

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vangoghfan | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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In Mary Shelley’s novel titled Frankenstein, the first confrontation between Frankenstein and his creature occurs in the mountains, when the monster rushes toward Frankenstein and Frankenstein berates his creation:

"Devil," I exclaimed, "do you dare approach me? and do not you fear the fierce vengeance of my arm wreaked on your miserable head? Begone, vile insect! or rather, stay, that I may trample you to dust! and, oh! that I could, with the extinction of your miserable existence, restore those victims whom you have so diabolically murdered!"

"I expected this reception," said the daemon. "All men hate the wretched; how, then, must I be hated, who am miserable beyond all living things! Yet you, my creator, detest and spurn me, thy creature, to whom thou art bound by ties only dissoluble by the annihilation of one of us. You purpose to kill me. How dare you sport thus with life? Do your duty towards me, and I will do mine towards you and the rest of mankind. If you will comply with my conditions, I will leave them and you at peace; but if you refuse, I will glut the maw of death, until it be satiated with the blood of your remaining friends."

As Frankenstein admits, he is full of rage and contempt when he meets the creature, partly because he is angry about the two deaths the creature has already caused – one directly, one indirectly. He continues to be enraged after the creature speaks. Different kinds of reactions to the creature’s first words, however, might have included the following:

  • astonishment at the creature’s capacity to speak, let alone to speak so articulately and thoughtfully
  • guilt at having created the creature in the first place
  • guilt about the murders the creature has committed
  • a certain pity for the creature, especially after it describes itself as a miserable, hated wretch
  • guilt for having reacted with such immediate rage and hatred
  • fear at the extraordinary, superhuman strength of the creature
  • guilt at having “sport[ed] with life” by creating the creature in the first place
  • fear of the threats the creature now issues

 

 

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