Thursday, 8 March 2012

Frankenstein's Monster

Mary Shelley's version of Frankenstein

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein: The Modern Prometheus is widely regarded as one of the best classic horror stories. It is widely regarded as one of the first examples of Science Fiction and is about the dangers of playing God.

The name Frankenstein has been incorrectly attributed to the monster in the story but actually refers to the character Victor Frankenstein who creates the monster. The monster in the novel goes unnamed marking Frankenstein’s rejection of his creation by refusing to give it an identity. He refers to his creation only as “monster”, “daemon”, “it”, “wretch”, “fiend”, and “devil”. Mary Shelley did refer to the monster as “Adam” during a telling of Frankenstein and the monster himself refers to himself as the “Adam of your labours” when addressing his creator. This obviously refers to the first man in the Garden of Eden and further relates to Victor Frankenstein’s role as God in creating his first man.

It is ironic that people think of the monster when they hear the name Frankenstein these days for it can be argued that the true monster of the story is Victor Frankenstein himself while his creation, the monster, can actually be viewed as a somewhat tragic figure. He is a creature rejected by his own creator who is doomed to be alone as no one will accept him.

Frankenstein’s monster is described by Shelley as an 8 foot tall, hideously ugly creation, with translucent yellowish skin pulled so taut over the body that it "barely disguised the workings of the vessels and muscles underneath"; watery, glowing eyes, flowing black hair, black lips, and prominent white teeth.

Boris Karloff as Frankenstein's Monster

Of course Boris Karloff’s look in the 1930’s film version of Frankenstein is the most popular version even today. Now the monster appears mainly as a tall, flat-headed monster with bolts on its neck and green skin. It normally wears a black suit and walks with a slow gait rather than being quicker and more agile than man as described in Shelley’s novel.

Frankenstein’s Monster will always terrify us and teach us that there are some things man should never mess with.

No comments:

Post a Comment