Tag Archive: caroline frankenstein


Bianca Lopez Munoz

The Oedipus Complex, a theory created by Frued, basically revolves around the idea that a biologically female child will grow up with a sort of envy towards their father because he has a penis and that a biologically male child will subconciously love his mother and want to have sex with her and try to relate to the father in an attempt to make the mother like them, but in later life, will instead seek a woman to replace his mother.

In the beginning of Frankenstein, we are introduced to Victor’s parents. They are both described as very kind people who gave him a nice childhood. He describes his mother Caroline as very beautiful and as, “a guardian angel to the afflicted”(41). After his mother dies, Victor tells us that he, “… need not describe the feelings of those whose dearest ties are rent by that most irreplacacle evil; the void that presents itself to the soul; and the despair that is exhibited on the countenance it is so long before the mind can persuade itself that she…can have departed forever––that the brightness of a beloved eye can be extinguished…” (49). The sudden death of his mother was obviously a huge deal to Victor. Right after her death, Victor moved away to start his studies at the university where he would eventually become obsessed with putting together a corpse and giving it life. It can be argued that Victor’s attatchment to his mother, her sudden death, and his desire to animate a corpse are all connected through Freud’s oedipus complex. In Freud’s The Uncanny, he talks about how children at some point wish for their dolls to become alive. This sort of infantile desire can be seen in Victor’s scientifuc endevour. Victor’s wild dream about his mother demonstrates his obsession with his dead mother, whom he loves and possibly wanted to be intimate with. His creation of the creature was his attempt to create someone to love as a replacement for his mother which could only be a corpse. Therefore, Victor has necrophlilic desires. When the creature first awoke, Victor describes its eye as “dull” and “yellow” and also states that the creatures body convulsed and that it breathed hard. The eyes of the creature did not have the ‘brightness’ of his mother’s eyes before she died. Nor was the creature as beautiful as he had hoped. This dissapointment felt is a result of the creature not living up to Victor’s expectations which were expectations of the creature being as lovely as his mother.jesse-pinkham-holding-skull

the creation

Finding it difficult to wrap my head around Marxist theory, I tend to defer to the experts. So when Warren Montag, in “The ‘Workshop of Filthy Creation,’” argues that the creation is “not so much the sign of the proletariat as of its unrepresentability” (Montag 395), I’m inclined to believe him. And the more I think about it, this makes a lot of sense considering the confusing mishmash of emotions I’ve felt toward the creation.

The creation’s interaction with the portrait of Frankenstein’s mother illustrates what Warren Montag calls the “combination of pity and fear” (388) that the proletariat naturally elicits. The creation initially looks at the woman “with delight on her dark eyes, fringed by deep lashes, and her lovely lips” (Shelley 127). The beauty of the elite bourgeois that Caroline Frankenstein represents contrasts starkly with the poor creation’s “dull yellow eye,” “dun white sockets” and “straight black lips” (60). In fact, this is likely what the creation remembers, as his joy quickly disintegrates and turns to rage, recalling, “I was for ever deprived of the delights that such beautiful creatures could bestow” (127). The ugly, poor, neglected creation is unique in that only he cannot receive affection from human beings. Important, however, is that this monstrosity is still capable of feeling delight and is even “softened and attracted” (127).

But why does any of this matter? Well, the creation declares, “I only wonder that at that moment, instead of venting my sensations in exclamations and agony, I did not rush among mankind, and perish in the attempt to destroy them” (127). This is the constant tension that underlies the relationship between the bourgeois and the proletariat. On one hand, the poor and neglected, like the creation, are at once sympathetic and pitiable, but on the other they are also capable of immense destruction and harm. In what Montag calls “a rural world dominated by scenes of a sublime natural beauty” (394), the creation sticks out as the singular entity of contradictions, a being of tenderness that can turn to rage in an instant. So why didn’t the creation go absolutely manic in that moment? Maybe there’s no way of knowing for sure. And maybe that’s the lingering uneasiness and obscurity of the unrepresentable proletariat.