Why does the monster vow eternal hatred of humans?Chapter XVI

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M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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In chapter XVI of Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley, we find the creature hiding when he hears Felix explaining to his landlord that the DeLacys have to leave town, for good. Nothing would convince them to stay; it is all because they are too scared of the creature.

Remember that this chapter is preceded by the incident where the creature, hungry for affection, enters the DeLacey cottage while the younger DeLacys are gone. The creature is eager to speak to the blind, elder DeLacey. The care and attention of Mr. DeLacey prompts the creature to get carried away and to bring himself into a situation where he becomes susceptible and, hence,  prone to be seen.

I had not a moment to lose; but seizing the hand of the old man, I cried, ‘Now is the time!—save and protect me! You and your family are the friends whom I seek. Do not you desert me in the hour of trial!’

‘Great God!’ exclaimed the old man, ‘who are you?’

The effects of this moment are horrid to the returning DeLacys, as well as to the monster; we know that Saffie faints at the sight of the creature, that Felix attacks him, and that the entire incident leaves a deep dent in the psyche of the monster. Chapter XVI begins with the monster's laments.

CURSED, CURSED CREATOR! Why did I live? Why, in that instant, did I not extinguish the spark of existence which you had so wantonly bestowed? I know not; despair had not yet taken possession of me; my feelings were those of rage and revenge. I could with pleasure have destroyed the cottage and its inhabitants, and have glutted myself with their shrieks and misery.

It is because this chapter marks the moment in which the monster truly realizes the extent to which his presence can cause the hatred, fear, and disgust of those who see him.

The reality is that the monster is hurt. He is scorned, humiliated, insulted, and most of all, he is heartbroken. Considering that he has no other way to overturn what has just happened, his only solution is to give up the feelings that he had just nursed: community, family, love, and affection, and vow his revenge on the rest of the world.

I continued for the remainder of the day in my hovel in a state of utter and stupid despair. My protectors had departed, and had broken the only link that held me to the world. For the first time the feelings of revenge and hatred filled my bosom, and I did not strive to control them...

...But again, when I reflected that they had spurned and deserted me, anger returned, a rage of anger...

Therefore, the creature feels deserted and quite hurt. He relied on the DeLaceys' natural good instincts, thinking that they could include him in their circle. It was all in vain. The monster now wants his revenge.

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