The initial thing that a lot of people, including myself, seem to notice when they read Frankenstein, is that the novel is named after the scientist rather than his monstrous creation. The identity of Frankenstein seems to be the first preconception that is vanquished when one actually reads the book.

Our culture is inundated with references to the hideous abomination that is called Frankenstein, from it being used as an argument against any controversial scientific advances, or as a potential Halloween costume. This is what comes to mind when we think of Frankenstein, this green, sub-human, destructive creature, very different from the eloquent, intelligent, deeply emotional being that is depicted in Shelley’s novel. Not only have we gotten the identity of Frankenstein wrong, we have completely changed his character too.  This is a very odd and huge misconception for an entire society to have, and after reading the book it seems incredible that it hasn’t been corrected.

I think its because we have forgotten, or maybe would like to forget, that this story is not about the Creature but about its creator. If it was simply about the Creature the novel could be passed off as a horror story and warning to think on the repercussions of an act before going through with it, and this is indeed how I thought of it before reading it. The depiction of Frankenstein as a lumbering, dim monster also makes the horror story more convincing than having the more disconcerting, very human, reality. However, the novel is truly about Frankenstein the creator, and is much darker, as it is a discussion of the arrogance of a man who brings himself to the same level as ‘God’ by bestowing life, and finds only loneliness and a burdened soul in that ultimate power. The arrogance may be subconscious but it raises questions as to the arrogance residing in each one of us. The picture below is of the Dr. Frankenstein from a modern TV show called Once Upon A Time. In this show magic and the like is very common, but even in that environment Dr. Frankenstein’s power to bring people back to life is treated as extraordinary and God-like. I chose this picture because you can see Frankenstein’s complete confidence in his abilities and his arrogance in his almost disdainful expression, and also see the supernatural power that is held in his hand.

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