Mary Shelley’s novel challenges the myths and preconceptions of the monster Frankenstein in several ways. In popular culture, the monster is depicted as a creation gone awry who causes mayhem and goes on a killing spree. In order to save humanity, the monster must be subdued. In essence, the monster is depicted horrendously as a malicious, frightful creature and the horror genre is emphasized more in comics, movies, and plays. The image of Frankenstein below, as a zombie-like, distorted creature has become popular because of Hollywood but is nowhere near the image portrayed in Mary Shelley’s novel. 

 

The monster is rarely depicted as a compassionate or emotive figure, and attempts are made to dehumanize him and portray him as an aberration. In fact though, the monster only wants friendship and love, just like Victor Frankenstein. His story is never understood and because he is different and has a “deformity”, many run away from him. The science fiction aspect also became more recognizable in the novel, as it became clear that the entire novel revolved around Victor Frankenstein’s ambitions and aspirations as a scientist. Victor’s inability to foresee the consequences that can result from science in the creation of a monster that longs for acceptance and a home but is unable to do so. Moreover, the Frankenstein myth has been used even in modern times to oppose genetically modified organisms, stem cell research, and other scientific research. Frankenstein must be looked at holistically, as a blend of the different Romantic and Gothic genres emphasized by Mary Shelley, and not in a vacuum to document the wrongdoings of scientific research. While Victor’s desire caused him to forego any possible repercussions, the monster must also be seen in a social commentary as what is essentially wrong with our society. The monster isn’t really a new creation or a monster, as my photo reveals, but instead a figure that symbolizes our innermost desire for compassion, acceptance, and love. The monster, portrayed as violent and backward in this picture, is only seen as such because he isn’t truly understood. Perhaps that would render the horror aspects of Frankenstein less fitting and cause us to reflect more on the monster in sociological terms if we understood that the monster is us.

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