Frankenstein: The Novel vs The myth

by Alex Luna

If I were to see an image like the one I have chosen, a large series of misconceptions would occupy my brain regarding Frankenstein. This creature I  see would be illiterate, and would be trying to choke the life out of people. I would see this creature often during Halloween, seeing the green makeup. Now imagine my surprise, when I discovered that Frankenstein was the creator, not the monster. While a surprising fact, everything regarding the monster and the myth remained in my mind. Dr. Frankenstein was surely a mad scientist, who must have yelled out “It’s Alive!” upon the birth of the monster. The monster must be illiterate, have green skin, and have bolts coming out of its neck. 

Upon reading the original novel by Mary Shelley, I have come to find most of my preconceptions to be completely false. For one, the monster is completely literate and intelligent. Victor, while still a bit crazy, isn’t such a maniac and expresses regret at his creation.

There are many characters that have been completely lost from the myth, such as Felix and Safie, as well as Robert Walton. To me, Felix and Safie are the most tragic, because they reflect a much deeper side to the story that most aren’t aware of. This missing piece relates to the creatures attempts to be accepted by humanity, to be loved and have companionship. The creature watches Felix and Safie from afar, hoping to recieve their friendship.  It’s tragic that this aspect of the story has been lost, because it makes the creature feel less like a creature and more of a misunderstood figure that eventually embraces their role as a monster upon being rejected by society. This makes me as a reader relate more to the creature, because most people have experience some sort of alienation from others at some point in life. 

Shelley’s novel has essentially caused a huge shift in the way I think whenever I hear the name “Frankenstein”, or see an image like the one I have chosen. Rather than seeing a big bad green monster trying to kill whatever comes its way, I now see a misunderstood being, who became what it did due to a sense of isolation caused by humans. The monster is truly more than a monster.

 

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