Throughout Mary Shelley’s novel

Throughout Mary Shelley’s novel, Frankenstein, we read of how his creation committed ghastly acts. In response to his rejection by society, and also Frankenstein, his creator, who was in essence his “father”, we see this new being evolve into a criminal. Many suffer at his hands as he victimizes several members of Frankenstein’s family, and friends, in an effort to exact revenge. Although the initial impression of Frankenstein’s creation is that he is an evil monster, to which he is often referred, upon further inspection and delving more in depth to his character, we find him to be quite the opposite.
Victor Frankenstein’s monster is created, not born. This in itself is unnatural.From the very beginning something struck me as odd about the scientist, Frankenstein. To create another living being seems an absurd idea and I believe it shows that Frankenstein was searching for validation and acceptance. Even more so, it seems that he was looking for the attention that such a feat would bring without any consideration for the consequences. His knowledge caused him to seek power, and his misuse of that power proved to be detrimental.
He is horrified when realization strikes and he has to accept that while his vision has become a reality, he did not achieve the desired outcome. “How can I describe my emotions at this catastrophe, or how delineate the wretch whom with such infinite pains and care I had endeavoured to form?” (Shelley Ch 4). At this point Frankenstein acts irresponsibly when he flees, thus abandoning his creation. This is the first time that the monster feels rejection, but as we know, it won’t be the last.
The monster longs to fit in, initially watching from afar and admiring the De Lacey family without them even being aware of his presence. While he desires interaction, he is also fearful of how they will react. Thinking it safest to approach the elder De Lacey while he was alone, “My voice, although harsh, had nothing terrible in it; I thought, therefore, that if, in the absence of his children I could gain the goodwill and mediation of the old De Lacey, I might, by his means, be tolerated by my younger protectors,” (Shelley Ch 14) the monster lied in wait until the time was right. He knocked at the door and upon invitation, entered the cottage. It is at this time that he feels accepted for the first time but it is short lived. Before long, Felix, Agatha and Safie return. The women scream in fear and Felix attacks the monster without question. The monster once again feels the sting as “He attempts the company of men and is rejected with horror, fear and abuse” (Badalamenti 430).Based solely on his outward appearance, and because he didn’t conform to society’s standards of what was the “norm”, he was misjudged based on people’s perceptions rather than his true character.
I liken Frankenstein’s creation to a small child. Children rely on their parents to guide and mold them, teaching them right from wrong, this new being shared this same need. He craved knowledge and sought to unravel the mysteries surrounding him, however, just as a neglected child “grows upwondering about their own self-worth and value” (McBride 2017), so it was with Frankenstein’s so-called “monster”. Traumatic experiences at a young age can alter the way that the brain develops (McBride 2017). The monster was child-like and it would seem that his brain was altered by his rejection and abandonment which resulted in him using violence to seek revenge.
As if a “parent’s” rejection isn’t harsh enough, Frankenstein’s creation was continually shunned by society as a whole since he didn’t fit the norm. “Norm, in popular usage, means a standard. In sociology our concern is with social norms, that is, norms accepted in a group. They represent “standardized generalizations” concerning expected modes of behavior. As standardized generalizations they are concepts which have been evaluated by the group and incorporate value judgements” (Sociology Discussion – Discuss Anything About Sociology, n.d.).
As a result of multiple rejections, we begin to see Victor’s creation transform into something wicked. The want for revenge consumes him and to such a degree that he even says, “revenge, henceforth dearer than light or food” (Shelley Ch 19). In what appears to be true evil, the monster murders several of Frankenstein’s relatives and friends. He is so enraged and consumed by his hatred, that it would appear he feels no remorse for his actions, partially defining why many considered him to be deviant.
As one who has been pushed to the brink of destruction, the monster remains optimistic that he may still have a chance at happiness. Though he has done much to inflict the same suffering he has felt on his tormentor, he has enough nerve to request, perhaps demand is a better word, that Victor Frankenstein create a companion whom he can walk with through life. “You must create a female for me, with whom I can live in the interchange of those sympathies necessary for my being. This you alone can do; and I demand it of you as a right which you must not refuse” (Shelley Ch 16). Is that such an outlandish request? Is he not deserving of tranquility and contentment? Frankenstein was moved by the words his creation uttered and after reflecting on his request, consented. He began his new project and set out to create a life-mate for the monster but ultimately had second thoughts about his decision. Victor, who had up to this point shown himself to be a selfish man, was concerned about whether he would be strengthening the monster’s power by creating a similar being. Creating a second being could go one of two ways: The monster and his new companion would travel far away and live a deserted life together. The joy of having each other would be enough to sustain their happiness, or, the monster would enlist his new friend as an accomplice for his malicious acts. Having no certainty as to which would be, Frankenstein destroys the work he has done thus far, and in that act, delivers the final crushing blow to the monster’s last hope.
Even though Victor was concerned and had his reasons for doing what he did; I still believe it caused unnecessary pain. He was cruel in his initial abandonment, but even more so in providing false hope to the monster and then once again crushing him by promising the creation of a companion and later refusing to do so. This decision condemned the monster to a bitter life of loneliness, isolation, and despair.
Based on the psychological abuse and neglect that the monster suffered, is it undeniably evident that he was evil as he was accused of being? Early on, we see that the creature showed himself to be compassionate. In the end, we see that he is remorseful and even perhaps, feels regret for all that he has done. While Frankenstein lies dying, he weeps and says, “Your abhorrence cannot equal that with which I regard myself” (Shelley Ch 23) “Blasted as thou were, my agony was still superior to thine; or the bitter sting of remorse may not cease to rankle in my wounds until death shall close them forever” (Shelley Ch 23) Had he been accepted by Frankenstein when he was first brought to life, could he have benefited from being loved and supported so that he could develop his character into what would’ve been socially acceptable?
Victor’s arrogance is apparent from the beginning when he takes on a “God-like” role of creating life. His intentions were disguised as being for the betterment of mankind but were more selfish in nature than he would have anyone believe. Creating this new being, and then abandoning him was morally reprehensible and his actions caused much suffering and pain. Innocent lives were lost because of his recklessness and lack of consideration for the resulting consequences.
Considering all things, the question now becomes, who was the true monster? Based on the evidence, I feel that we can clearly discern that Victor, the creator, not the creation, was indeed the monster in this story. The creature was unjustly named as such, while in reality, he was simply misunderstood. He was forced into an existence full of suffering all due to Victor’s selfishness.