At the root of the relationship between the creature and Frankenstein is the desire for control and the subsequent struggle by each party to assert control. Namely, we see that Frankenstein’s control over the creature is violently challenged by the creature, and Frankenstein responds in violence. The relationship can be generalized to the observation that all challenges to control is propagated by and is immersed in violence.

Frankenstein is born into a wealthy, upper class family, thus from the beginning he holds privileged station in life. His money and privilege allows him to not only exert control in a multitude of ways, but his exertion of control is never directly challenged. Frankenstein’s subsequent studies into biology and chemistry are an extension of his desire for control, as they are means for him to control a realm uninfluenced by human ideals of money and class: the natural realm. Frankenstein creates the creature driven not by an idealistic altruism, but rather a desire to control life, the ultimate untouched realm for man, and thus the ultimate expression of control. Although he reviles the creature and rejects its existence, he still maintains a passive control over the creature, by virtue of the fact that it is his creation, and he is its creator.

However, we see that the creature does not want to be under the dominion of Frankenstein. It learns language and learns of culture, essentially receiving the fundamental components of being human. When the creature attains this near humanness, it begins to display human qualities, most notably sympathy and free will. If it begins to display human qualities, it will inevitably begin to experience human desires, thus, the desire for a female companion, and more importantly, the desire for control. The sheer magnitude of Frankenstein’s control over the creature drive it towards violence, as it correctly determines that the only way to free from Frankenstein’s control is violence. This is the first direct challenge to Frankenstein’s assertion of power, and Frankenstein responds with violence as well. He does not try to reason with the creature and is willing to sacrifice both his ideals and his station in life to destroy the creature, not out of choice, but out of necessity. The deaths of William and Justine, acts of violence by Frankenstein, not only serve as catalysts for the transformation of Frankenstein, but they also ensure Frankenstein that he himself would be destroyed if he does not embrace violence. This antagonism between the creature and Frankenstein strikingly parallels the class antagonism elucidated by Marx. In conjunction with Marxist philosophy, their relationship can be generalized to reveal a somewhat dark and cynical portrait of humanity, in which struggle for control is ubiquitous and bloody.  

Advertisements