Frankenstein The Creature
by Mary Shelley

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The Creature

Extended Character Analysis

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The creature is the product of Victor Frankenstein’s labors, a shockingly ugly, eight-foot-tall being assembled and animated from dead tissue. Victor designs him to be beautiful, a higher version of the human form. However, after seeing the creature’s ghastly visage for the first time, Victor flees in disgust, and the creature is left alone in the world. However, despite the creature’s repulsive appearance, Victor has apparently succeeded in creating a superior being; the creature is faster, stronger, and more resilient than the average human, and he shows himself to be articulate, rational, and capable of deep emotional reflection.

After Victor abandons him, the creature flees into the woods and begins reverently observing the De Lacey family. He educates himself using one of Victor’s journals and a bag of abandoned books that he finds in the woods, which contains Paradise Lost, Plutarch’s Lives, and The Sorrows of Werter. These novels shape the creature’s understanding of the world and allow him to construct a sense of self. Guided by Milton, the creature compares himself to both Adam and Satan: created to be the first of a new species like Adam but rejected by God and living in wretched misery like Satan. Increasingly aware of his own loneliness as a result of his newfound literacy, the creature endeavors to befriend the De Laceys by approaching the blind patriarch. However, his intentions are misinterpreted by the rest of the family, and they attack him. Disillusioned, the creature endeavors to confront his creator and arrives in Geneva, Victor’s hometown.

During his journey, the creature attempts to save a young girl from drowning. However, an observer mistakenly assumes that he is attacking the girl and shoots him with a gun. The creature then vows vengeance against all of humanity, realizing with bitterness that his appearance will bar him from ever obtaining the love and acceptance he craves. This event marks the beginning of his murderous escapade, as he subsequently arrives in Geneva and murders Victor’s younger brother, William. Having given up finding companionship with humans, the creature petitions Victor to create a mate that is like him. However, when Victor reneges on their agreement, the creature seeks revenge and begins to systematically kill everyone Victor loves.

One of the central questions regarding the creature is whether he is an evil and unnatural villain destined to perpetuate destruction, an innocent victim of Victor’s experimentation and subsequent neglect, or a complex blend of both. From Victor’s perspective, the creature is a remorseless villain who is out to commit endless “mischief” against humanity. By this interpretation, the creature’s unnaturalness renders him inherently wicked. This reading is supported by the creature’s murders of Victor’s family and friends, as well as his torment of Victor. By the end of the novel, the creature has become an evil, villainous figure whose only purpose is to inflict the same misery on his creator that he himself has experienced.

However, despite his capacity for violence, the creature proves capable of deep, insightful thought and shows genuine remorse for his actions. Seen in terms of these qualities, the creature is more akin to an abandoned child than a heartless villain. Abandoned by his creator, attacked by the De Laceys, and falsely accused of murder after his attempted rescue of the little girl, the creature lives a life of rejection and isolation. His quest for love and affection proves fruitless, so he ultimately seeks out the only form of attention he can get from his creator by inspiring Victor’s hatred.

Yet another interpretation unites the creature’s villainy and victimhood. This reading posits that proof of the creature’s humanity lies in his ability to simultaneously be both victim and villain. Just as Victor is both a villain to the creature and a victim of its revenge, the creature is...

(The entire section is 1,062 words.)