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Danira Ortega

Professor Batty

English 102

13 November 2017

Frankenstein: Humans as Monsters in Disguised

Monsters are a subject that many people are intrigued by, whether is the physical aspect

of a monster, the behaviors of a monster or even what determines a monster. A field that

discusses this subject is Literature. One of the works in literature discussing monster is

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. In this novel, a scientist called Victor Frankenstein is obsessed

with knowing how creating a life works, which leads him to make a creature. This creature does

not meet the expectations Frankenstein has, so he abandons the creature which at the end, kills

Victor. Although some people may believe the creature is the true monster, I believe otherwise.

The true monster of this novel is Victor because he is an ego centrical person who lets his Id rule,

which leads him to seek recognition, have a lack of empathy and responsibility.

The main reason Victor makes the creature could be because he wants recognition. His

obsession with creating a life begins at a young age when he starts to read books of Agrippa.

Even though his father expresses to him that these ideas are incorrect, Victor still decides to

continue studying this subject. The main point where I believe his obsession starts to increase by

a large amount is after he speaks to one of his professors, Mr. Waldman. After speaking with this

professor, Victor states, I will pioneer a new way, explore unknown powers, and unfold to the

world the deepest mysteries of creation (Shelley 48). Shortly after, Victor starts to do research

in different fields of science to fulfill his obsession with knowledge of life. This is a clear

example where Victor lets his Id, which is libidinal desires, rule over him. Sara Marklund, in her
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journal called Good and Evil in Man: The Double Nature of Victor in Frankenstein, explains

why Victor could have created the monster. She states, His real and somewhat unconscious

reason for creating the Monster seems to be a desire to obtain awe and fame, and to make sure

that his name makes a mark in history (4). Because of his thirst for recognition, Victor has no

limits in what he would do to fulfill his obsession, which makes him a dangerous person. He

does not know where the decisions he is making are affecting other individuals, and we can see

this throughout the novel.

Victor has no empathy towards other human beings in the novel, and if we compare him

to his creature, we can see that even his creature has more empathy for humans than he has. After

Victor abandons his creature because of his appearance, the creature has to find a way to survive.

He finds a little family that he steals food from a while, and by observing this family, he notices

they are not happy and are poor. After this, he decides to stop stealing their food. The creature

states, I had been accustomedto steal a part of their store for my own consumption, but when

I found that in doing this I inflicted pain on the cottagers, I abstainedmyself (Shelley 118).

Furthermore, after he stops stealing their food, he decides to help them by cutting wood for them,

which shows how he has empathy for this family and wants to make up for the pain he has

caused when trying to survive.

Victor in order to understand the body, and how life is created, has to observe bodies that

are decomposing, and in doing this, he becomes immune to it and slowly becomes insensitive to

humans. In the section of the novel where he is just about to begin his creation, Victor states, I

seemed to have lost all soul or sensation but for this one pursuit (Shelley 55). His insensitivity

towards humans affects a lot the decisions he makes because he does not realize that his ego

centrical actions, ruled by his id, can affect the individuals he treasures the most. George V.
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Griffith in his journal called An overview of Frankenstein, explains what Victors actions lead

him to do. Griffith states, Frankensteinsucceeds in his intellectual pursuit but a great cost. He

loses a friend, brother and wife. He loses all contact and sympathy with the human community

(Griffith). As Griffith states, because Victor is only taking in account the goal he wants to reach,

he loses empathy towards humanity. After comparing Victor with his creation, we can see that

the creature has more empathy for humans than Victor. This is an interesting perspective because

many people consider the creature not being human like, yet, Victor who is a human, has a lack

of this quality that is known from humans.

Throughout the novel, the lack of responsibility of Victor is visible. From the beginning

of the story, he does not take responsibility for his actions. In the section of the novel where he

starts to increase his obsession with human life, he even blames his father for not explaining to

him that the book he has been reading is incorrect, just right after his father has said to him that

this book is trash. Victor states, If instead of this remark, my father had taken the pains to

explain the principles of Agrippa had been explodedit is even possible that the train of my

ideas would never have received the fatal impulse that lead to my ruin (Shelley 38). Victor is

trying to show that his father is responsible for not stopping him from continuing with this

obsession, but clearly his father is not the only one who tries to warn him that these ideologies

that he has learned from Agrippa are not accurate and have been proved incorrect. Even his

professors explain to him that these ideas are inaccurate. David Minden Higgins in his book

called Frankenstein: Character Studies, mentions the lack of responsibility that Victor has. He

states, he refuses to blame himself for his actions in creating the Creature (32). Victor never

takes responsibility for all the killings that happen in the book, even though he knows he could

have done something to stop it.


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Victor could potentially have stopped the killings in the novel if he would have given

attention to the creature, and not ran away from him. Also, the creature gives an option to Victor

that could have saved some of the people that he treasures the most. In one of the sections of the

book, the creature tells Victor that if he creates a female for him, that in gratitude, he would not

kill anyone else because he will have everything he needs with her but, if he decides not to, then

he will take revenge. The creature states, If I cannot inspire love, I will cause fear, and chiefly

towards you my arch-enemy (Shelley 157). If Victor had not stopped with the creation of the

female, then the creature would not have a reason to take revenge on him, but since Victor drags

on the misery of the creature, then the creature into an extent, wants to show Victor how much

pain he has inflicted onto him. Once again, Victor is not taking into consideration the aftermath

of the actions hes taking. By creating the female, he could have saved his wifes life and even

potentially, also his life.

There are many reasons why some people may believe that the true monster of the story

is the creature. If we take into consideration one of the definitions of monster given by the

Oxford Dictionary of English, which describes monster as A large, ugly and frightening

imaginary creature (Monster), then we can see why many people may believe that the creature

is the monster. In the novel, Victor describes his creature as, His yellow skinhis hair was of a

lustrous blackhis watery eyes, that seemed almost the same color of the dun-white sockets in

which they were set, his shriveled complexion and straight black lips (Shelley,58). If we take

the descriptions of the creature given by Victor, then we can see why some people may come to

the conclusion that the creature fits into the descriptions of a monster, therefore, the creature is

the monster of the novel.


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The reason why I argue that Victor is the true monster is because if we take another

definition for monster given by the Oxford Dictionary of English, that states that a monster is,

An inhumanly cruel or wicked person (Monster), then we can see why Victor is the true

monster. As shown before, Victor has no empathy for humans, lets his id rule him, and does not

takes responsibility for the damage he has made. He is always trying to put the blame on other

people because he does not want to acknowledge the mistakes he has made, or the consequences

that came with them. Since he decided to abandon the creature after seeing his appearance, we

can see why he is cruel person. His creation into some extend, is his son. He left the creature to

wonder on the world alone just right after he had given him life. If we compare it to todays time,

then it would be like a mother leaving a baby on the street. If Victor had spent time with the

creature, he would have notice that the creature was not evil, he had qualities that could describe

him as a human, which means that the outcome of the story would be a more pleasant one for

everyone.

Victor is the true monster of the novel because he lets his Id rule him, has a thirst for

recognition, has no empathy for humans nor, takes no responsibility for his actions. Victor in this

novel is a representation of the human condition in todays time. Sometimes, in order for us to

see our mistakes, we need to see the consequences that other people had. I believe that the reason

why Shelley decided to write this novel is because she wanted to illustrate how our obsessions

can lead to our destruction. If we let our Id rule us, then we become ego centrical, and leads to us

to not care about other peoples suffering through our actions and potentially, become monsters.

The more we let our ID rule us, the less human we become because we can start losing empathy

towards other humans. This eventually would lead us to go beyond the limits set by society to

accomplish our selfish goals or obsessions. Lastly, if we take into consideration what the
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consequences of our actions are, then it is more likely we would see that we not only hurt

ourselves, but also hurt the people we treasure the most.


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Works Cited

Griffith, George V. An over View of Frankenstein. Literature Resource Center, Gale,2017.

Higgins, David Minden. Frankenstein: Character Studies. Continuum, 2008.Continuum

Character Studies.

Marklund, Sara. Good and Evil in Man: The Double Nature of Victor in Frankenstein. June

2010.

Monster |Definition of Monster in English by Oxford Dictionaries. Oxford Dictionaries |

English, Oxford Dictionaries

Shelley, Mary, Douglas Clegg, and Harold Bloom. Frankenstein. New York, Signet

Classics,2013