In Mary Shelley’s novel, Frankenstein, the character Safie, a Muslim migrant from Turkey, represents the archetypal story of the hard working ambitious immigrant fleeing their country in hopes of eluding persecution and constructing a better life for themselves and their potential offspring. Frankenstein’s creature gives Safie’s letters- a medium used in the novel to explicitly share her experiences in migrating away from Turkey- to Victor Frankenstein in order to prove “the truth of [his] tale”. Thus the creature insinuates the similarity in the oppression which Safie had endured and that which he was enduring. In doing this the creature adopts an arbitrary sense of victimization through his empathy which stems from the incomparable amount of alienation which he feels existing in a world where he feels as if he is characterized as an “other”.

I recognize the alienation which both Frankenstein’s creature and Safie face in their own regards, however, Safie story seems reasonable and although she faces various hardships she seems to strive for better- made evident in quotes such as “Safie related that her mother was a Christian Arab, seized and made a slave by the Turks” (Shelley 111.), while Frankenstein’s creature faces minimal alienation from Victor as a consequence of the creature’s potential danger being hard to distinguish. Later in the novel, the creature seems to weep with Safie after learning about the destruction of the Native American population in the United States. According to many, this insinuates the empathy that they both feel towards the Native Americans as they both feel the same sort of Western colonial oppression which faces them in Western Europe. This further propagates the idea that the creature has adopted a sort of victimhood complex in where he sees himself as the helpless victim oppressed by all who seem hostile or intolerable of his existent. The adoption of this attitude creates resentment which is perfectly manifested in the novel through the various murders which the creature commits throughout the novel. The following quotes illustrate the level of resentment breeding by adopting this “martyr complex” where one feels like the world is conspiring against them to oppress them: “Frankenstein! you belong then to my enemy–to him towards whom I have sworn eternal revenge; you shall be my first victim.” (Shelley 165), “When I thought of my friends, of the mild voice of De Lacey, the gentle eyes of Agatha, and the exquisite beauty of the Arabian, these thoughts vanished and a gush of tears somewhat soothed me. But again when I reflected that they had spurned and deserted me, anger returned, a rage of anger, and unable to injure anything human, I turned my fury towards inanimate objects. As night advanced I placed a variety of combustibles around the cottage, and after having destroyed every vestige of cultivation in the garden, I waited with forced impatience until the moon had sunk to commence my operations. ” ( Shelley 109). These quotes serve as an insight into the deluded conceptualization of the world by those who decide to play victim in the least requisite circumstances; victimhood breeds bitterness, resentfulness, and a thirst for revenge.

by Steven Gonzalez

I decided to shift my focus away from the oppression/marginalization narrative that is attributed to Frankenstein’s monster because I fundamentally disagree with the ideas presented by critical race scholars like W.E.B Dubois, Glissant, and others who seem to promote this martyrdom complex. Moreover, I fail to see the connection between Frankenstein’s monster and western imperialism and colonization.