Frankenstein was written by Mary Shelley in 1831 when she was only eighteen. Frankenstein is a gothic horror story and was written to entertain and scare the readers of the time. People in the 1800’s were very religious, they believed in heaven and hell and more importantly angels and demons. Frankenstein concentrates on the making of man, and gives reason to believe that human beings can be created through scientific experiments. This was thought to be blasphemy in the 1800’s, as it is playing the role of God, which was ethically wrong. However, in today’s society, such a scientific experiment would make people curious and people would probably encourage the idea of scientists creating human life. The novel is written in the form of letters from an explorer named Captain Walton (who is on a voyage in the North Pacific Ocean, hoping to discover unfound land) to his sister.
A scientist named Victor Frankenstein originally wanted to create a human life form, because he was grieving from the tragic and shocking death of his mother, who died from giving birth to Frankenstein’s younger brother William. However, whilst studying at a university in Ingolstadt, Germany Frankenstein’s reasons for creating life changed and he then wanted to create life to prove his teachers wrong (as they thought and believed that it would be impossible as well as insensitive/crude to create a human being.)
Victor Frankenstein’s creation was constructed on ‘A dreary night of November,’ where ‘The rain pattered dismally against the panes and my candle was nearly burnt out.’ This gives the reader an image of a stormy rain drenched night with Frankenstein working alone in an enclosed laboratory where no one could see or hear him. It gives a feeling that is almost frightening and we now know that something horrific and tragic was about to happen. The feeling of euphoria that Frankenstein had envisaged about creating a human being was about to be shattered. He even describes it as a ‘catastrophe.’ We know that Frankenstein’s original plan was to create human life, however once the monster had been created, this idea suddenly changed and the reality of this catastrophe struck Frankenstein,
‘The beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled my heart.’ This shows that at the very beginning of the experiment, Frankenstein had a perfect image of what was about to be made, although because Frankenstein had not thought his plans through thoroughly, his dreams were shattered, and he describes his final creation as a ‘Demon.’ This gives reference to the bible as it is a biblical term so Mary Shelley has constructed the narrative in order to; first portray the creation from Frankenstein’s perspective. This influences the reader’s perception of the creation, because the narrative is biased and the reader can only judge on Frankenstein’s point of view, therefore the creation appears as ‘inhuman.’
Once the ‘demon’ has been created, it runs away, because it is probably just as scared as Frankenstein. The doctor instantly assumes it will die, as it does not understand how to survive on it’s own. However, after the murder of Frankenstein’s younger brother William, he realises that he has underestimated the creation, and agrees to meet the in the Alps. It is here that the reader is offered the creation’s point of view. The says ‘I expected this reception.’ This shows the reader that the ‘demon’ is now thinking like a human and has human feelings; this portrays the monster as human. However, we have to remember that the creation has also murdered William and framed an innocent named Justine for the murder. Although this is morally wrong it is also human behaviour.
The creation then goes on to explain how it developed and educated itself after running away from Ingolstadt. The reader now knows that the creation was born with human instincts which developed into knowledge and understanding of human nature. ‘ I had covered myself with some clothes …’
‘I found a fire…and was overcome with the warmth I experienced from it,’ this suggests that the creation was acting like a human being, fulfilling his human needs to survive.
We later learn that the creation’s attitude changes ‘my feelings are 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.’ The creature describes his rage and then goes on to express his feelings by setting fire to the cottage in the woods and razing it to the ground. Furthermore, the monster seeks revenge on Frankenstein by murdering the doctors younger brother and framing it on Justine. This influences the reader’s opinion, because the reader realises that the creation has feelings, and he feels neglected by a family that he has begun to love. He blames Frankenstein for abandoning him and so, seeks revenge by performing horrific acts, and the creation now appears as ‘inhuman’ and a monster, because he is no longer gentle and kind.
The creation demands that Frankenstein makes him a female companion. He observed and learnt how much the family in the woods loved and cared for each other. He therefore feels unloved and rejected by everyone everyone when this same family also neglect him. The creation is full of contradictions here, he wants to love someone and be loved in return, by this the reader pities the creation, although we later learn that he murders the innocent and this cannot be accepted.
At first, Frankenstein agrees to construct a companion, but then hoes back on his word. The monster then proceeds to murder Frankenstein’s wife and ‘more than sister,’ Elizabeth. The doctor travels through the Alps searching for the ‘demon,’ and on his travels he comes across Captain Walton’s Ship, where he later dies. However, the monster also finds Captain Walton. The Captain is also shocked when the creation first approaches him; ‘Wretch’ puts emphasis on how ugly and inhuman the monster must be.
The creation attempts to justify his actions to Walter in the final chapter:- ‘The fallen angel becomes a malignant devil,’ this tells us that the creation was trying to be good by learning from other people’s actions, however when he was neglected by the family in the woods he felt like he had nobody to turn to for love and affection, and nobody taught him how to deal with his emotions, therefore he turns into a monster.
Mary Shelley gives the creation a lot of human characteristics, therefore making him human. However, the creation has not learnt how to cope with his emotions, so he murders people to get revenge on Frankenstein; I think this makes the monster appear as mainly inhuman, because such actions cannot be justified and only a monster would take another person’s life. The creation then claims that he will leave and kill himself so the whole situation can come to an end. Mary Shelley uses this ending, because it is dramatic and she wants it to end in a catastrophe, also maybe killing the monster is the only way that the story can end.