victors-dream

According to Freud’s Oedipus Complex, infant boys feel attraction towards their mothers because they associate her with safety and comfort. But they feel a sense of rivalry towards their father because they associate him with threatening to taking away that comfort and safety that is the mother. So they feel the “unconscious desire to kill the father.” However, as they grow older the boy tries to find a way to win over the mother’s love (in a sexual way?) by “identifying” with his father. By doing so his desire to kill his father is repressed and he then grows up to live his adulthood as a heterosexual. As an adult he finds an “object” of replacement—in another woman—to displace the desire he has for his mother. However, if he doesn’t allow for this displacement he ends up becoming a homosexual.

When connecting this theory to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, one wonders how could these two possibly be connected? Well, on page 60 we see a hint of this since Victor describes the way he slaved over his experiment and the aftermath of doing so and what that reveals to himself. Just as others have said, in my own personal opinion I think Victor has a thing for the “forbidden.” To cement this statement, we go to the obvious example, Victor’s aspiring experiment is to bring to life a dead corpse of which he crafted to be the “perfect human being.” However, when his “perfect human” is brought to life he shuns it and disregards it acting as if it is the vilest thing he has ever seen. This shows that not only does Victor like to test the limits of life, but he enjoys playing around with dead bodies if and only if they are dead.  Which leads to my next point, when Victor has the dream about Elizabeth who turns into his deceased mother it goes to show that he in fact plays into Freud’s Oedipus Complex theory. Elizabeth who represents the “object” of replacement turns into his mother meaning that he must feel some kind of attraction towards her. And the fact that he wakes from the dream in horror with all kinds of ailments means that he knows there is something wrong with what he dreamed about. He knows that the fact that there is something wrong with the fact that the one living thing that he desires turns into desire for the dead thing he has unconsciously repressed. Therefore, by reanimating a corpse he is trying to justify that repressed desire for his dead mother. Basically, he is a necrophiliac due to repressed feelings for his mother that emerged when he was an infant and didn’t go away even after she died, uncanny isn’t it?

-Laura Mateo Gallegos