My review of my blog posts led me to the conclusion that Frankenstein’s monster is not so much the anti-thesis of society as it is an attack on the bourgeois social dynamic represented by Victor and Walton. The society that Mary Shelly attacks with the monster is the canonical sanctum of civilization that so very often represents the whole. Therefore the conflict in the novel is not defined by the Burke-an ideals of the human and the beast, but by the Marxist concept of class that, in some extreme conditions, transcends the petty boundaries of species.

For instance, a formal definition of society would include Victor, Walton and Justine in its ranks, and reject the Monster based on some abstract criterion for civility. And yet, ironic as it may seem, all these characters, at some time, experience solitude in their own way. Victor finds no parallel in intellect; Walton, none in curiosity; Justine, none in misery; and the Monster, none in, well, anything. And so no matter whose perspective the reader favors, a shared predicament means that all characters elicit some measure of sympathy. Curiously, however, both Victor and Walton find companionship in each other in the end, whereas the Monster and Justine exit the novel as alone as they had entered. Thus, this communal solitude erases one line and draws another.

Similarly, Justine and the Monster are both betrayed. Justine, by the prospect of reciprocated justice; and the monster by the prospect of reciprocated humanity. In one case it is Victor’s silence that seals Justine’s fate; in another, it is his impulsive disgust. And strangely, Walton’s journal does not contain any comments about his disapproval of Victor’s actions. It is worth noting that, again, on one side of this new line, Walton and Victor are in perfect harmony whereas the proletarian characters are suffering the consequences.

Having established that class division is a driving force, a question arises: Was not Victor too betrayed by his monster when his relatives and friends were murdered? Perhaps he was. However, both Victor and his Monster are appearing distinctly on the opposite ends of this class division that they consider synonymous with right and wrong. Who betrayed who is a matter of perspective. What matters is the fact that both sides evolve in parallel. Moreover, their evolution is triggered by the other side; a chain of causality that maintains the contextual relevance of both classes (that they are mutual anti-theses). Take for example, the monster’s evolution in response to victor’s rejection, or Victor’s vowed vengeance after his brother’s murder. Both the bourgeois and the proletariat need the other side to evolve and to justify their actions. Therefore in the paradoxical face of this mutual dependence that allows each side to proclaim absolute righteousness, the much more baser division of class starts to seem counterproductive. Had there been no class divisions, there would have been complete homogeneity that the bourgeois and the proletariat now only individually enjoy.

Advertisements