Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

1133 Words5 Pages
“Abhorred monster!” screams out Victor, In Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, passionately as he is confronted by the most detestable thing in his entire existence (Chapter 10). Thurston analytically states “A monster of vaguely anthropoid outline, but with an octopus-like head” while looking at a sculpture of Cthulhu. The word monster is used in both the above quotes, yet one is used as an insult about evilness, and the other is used as a descriptive word about the physical appearance. The same word is used two different times with different definitions bringing up the question of what makes something monstrous. Both Shelley’s Frankenstein and the Lovecraft stories feature monsters and help the reader better understand what a monster truly is. In some aspects, these authors’ definition of monster is the same, and in other ways the definition diverges.
Though Shelley and Lovecraft’s monsters are characterized by their physical appearance, the outer appearances of their monsters do not determine the monstrosity of their characters. The true monster of the stories is the character that does ugly actions regardless of if their exterior is ugly. While Frankenstein’s creation is described by Victor as “hideous” (chapter 5), and the creation is referred to as a monster multiply times, he himself is not the true monster of Shelley’s novel. Victor, who is responsible for the wickedness of his creation, is the true monster of the story. By creating a hideous individual and shunning him, he forces the creation to survive on his own with a forced handicap; Victor becomes evil. This evilness is equivalent to breaking someone’s legs in the middle of the forest, with no way of getting home, and then leaving them alone. Victor creates ...

... middle of paper ...

...; the giant monster in “The Dunwich Horror” was invisible, despite modern science stating that invisibility is impossible, and the fish people in “The Shadow over Innsmouth” were bred by combining a human and a fish, despite the ridiculousness of this idea. Lovecraft’s monsters are not only impossible, they are vague and unexplainable. This contrast with Shelley’s Frankenstein in which science, rather than disproving the possibility of the creatures, is the reason for the creature. Though the reader never finds out how the creature is made, we are led to believe that Victor’s scientific mind is the cause of his creation; he labored for years studying the sciences required to revive life. Both Lovecraft and Shelley are influenced by the time period they’re in, but Lovecraft’s definition of monster is shaped by the modern era while Shelley’s is shaped by Romanticism.
Open Document