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Victor Frankenstein as the Monster in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

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In the novel Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley, Victor Frankenstein is the true monster, not the creature himself.

Victor Frankenstein grew up in Geneva. He had a strong interest in reading the works of the ancient and outdated alchemists, and was fascinated by science and the 'secret of life.' One day he decided that he wanted to study further, so Victor actually created a person of his own out of old body parts and strange chemicals. When the creature came to life, he was a hideously ugly beast. The creature does have beauteous features such as ?lustrous black hair,? and ?teeth of pearly whiteness,? but they do not look good because they are out of place in relation to his other features, such as his ?shriveled complexion,? and ?watery eyes.? His beautiful features are wasted because they are set next to such ugliness (Halberstam 60). He was also a huge eight foot tall mall with the mind of a newborn child. Perhaps the creature could have turned out to be a normal decent human being if he had not been abandoned by his creator directly after his onset of life. But instead, he was left to fend for himself and learn everything on his own, merely by observing others and learning from their mistakes. Due to neglect and abandonment during his early stages of his life, the creature developed an aggressive attitude and began to take on many grotesque characteristics.

The term ?monster? is a key term that is used in this story. Throughout the entire novel, the creature was named and classified as a monster. However, it was actually Frankenstein who caused him to act out in monstrous ways. The word monster is used to describe a person who ??deviates from the normal or acceptable behavior or character; a threatening force; or a person of unnatural or extreme ugliness, deformity, wickedness or cruelty? (Webster?s 769). In this case, the only definition that can solely apply to the creature and not to Victor as well, is the one that associates with physical appearance. It is physical behavior that defines a monster, rather than physical appearance. Throughout the story, the creature did kill and endanger many lives; however, his actions were only a reaction to the cruel behavior that Frankenstein portrayed to him.

Frankenstein sees the creation as if he were the devil when the creature tries to make an effort to embrace him (Mellor Mary Shelley 357). When he sees ...

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...rced him to be. ?I was benevolent and good; misery made me a fiend? (Shelley 95).

Although most people assume that in Frankenstein, the creature was the murderer, the truth is the exact opposite. Victor was the real murderer. He is the murderer when the novel is viewed on three different symbolic levels, as a Romantic novel, Archetype novel, or a Gothic novel. On the romantic level, Victor is the monster because he abandoned the creature and left him to fend for himself. The creature was miserable and simply wanted a companion, but because of the poor behavior and attitude of Frankenstein, it was impossible. On the Archetype level, Victor is the monster because he tried to play the role of God. He wanted to be worshipped like a god, by creating his own species, and creating life from plain matter. Although in doing so, Victor disturbed the natural order of things. Finally, Victor is the monster on the Gothic level. He and the creature are part of a greater being, and Victor's subconscious wants William and Elizabeth dead, which is why the monster actually killed them. Despite the fact that Victor did not physically murder anyone, he was the ?monster? of the novel (Ellis 155).
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