The proletariat was originally meant to rise up and create a new world order that took the power away from the bourgeoisie. This theory never proved true however because the proletarians would buy into the same traps of capitalism that the burgeoisie did. In this way the proletariat did not quite represent itself the way it was meant to. Montag’s conclusion that Frankenstein’s Creature is “not so much the sign of the proletariat as of its unrepresentability” (480) is a conclusion that I agree with.

The reason I agree with this conclusion is because throughout the novel there is a constant sense that the Creature is not meant to be viewed as an equal. It is monstrous, unnatural, and wrong for the entirety of its existence in the eyes of its creator. A creator who cannot handle what he has created and who prefers to live oblivious to his “monster.” Within the text there is one example that stood out to me of this inability to exist together equally. On page 93 there is an exchange between Victor and the Creature that exemplifies exactly what I mean:

“Begone! I will not hear you. There can be no community between you and me; we are enemies. Begone, or let us try our strength in a fight, in which one must fall.”

“How can I move thee? Will no entreaties cause thee to turn a favorable eye upon thy creature, who implores thy goodness and compassion? Believe me, Frankenstein: I was benevolent; my soul glowed with love and humanity: but am I not alone, miserably alone? You, my creator, abhor me; what hope can I gather from your fellow-creatures, who owe me nothing? they spurn and hate me. The desert mountains and dreary glaciers are my refuge. I have wandered here many days; the caves of ice, which I only do not fear, are a dwelling to me, and the only one which man does not grudge. These bleak skies I hail, for they are kinder to me than your fellow-beings. If the multitude of mankind knew of my existence, they would do as you do, and arm themselves for my destruction. Shall I not then hate them who abhor me? I will keep no terms with my enemies. I am miserable, and they shall share my wretchedness. Yet it is in your power to recompense me, and deliver them from an evil which it only remains for you to make so great, that not only you and your family, but thousands of others, shall be swallowed up in the whirlwinds of its rage. Let your compassion be moved, and do not disdain me. Listen to my tale: when you have heard that, abandon or commiserate me, as you shall judge that I deserve. But hear me. The guilty are allowed, by human laws, bloody as they are, to speak in their own defense before they are condemned. Listen to me, Frankenstein. You accuse me of murder; and yet you would, with a satisfied conscience, destroy your own creature. Oh, praise the eternal justice of man! Yet I ask you not to spare me: listen to me; and then, if you can, and it you will, destroy the work of your hands.”

There is a lot to unpack from this quote but let us focus on some of the things the Creature tells Victor about being a creation. Much like the proletariat is a creation that got out of hand for the new emerging elite so did the Creature get too out of hand for Victor. The Creature is aware of this and goes further to say that Victor is the one who can do something about him being so out of hand, that “it is in your power to recompense me, and deliver them from an evil which it only remains for you to make so great” because as the creator of the monster Victor is the one with the ultimate power to stop him. Much in the same way that the newly emerging elite should have been able to stop their creation: the working class. Yet both creators were unable to take control back from what they had created.

Here the tension is obvious between Victor and the Creature, it is quite clear that they are “enemies” and yet the Creature is imploring to be heard before he is judged even further. It again comes back to the disconnect between the working class and the new elite of the time. The desire to be represented and heard being ignored and pushed aside must certainly caused those oppressed people to rise up to be at least acknowledged. The Creature is quite a good symbol of this aspect of the working class. Throughout this passage the motif of justice is recurring and in conjunction with words like “goodness,” “benevolent,” and “compassion” almost makes it seem like there is a possibility for a positive outcome. However, Victor never interjects with any semblance of possibly changing his mind when the Creature speaks. Which suggests that Victor will not acknowledge his creation and will not forgive or pass fair judgement on his creation. There is no real justice in this despite there being an attempt of it within the passage.

The last thing I will focus on is the narrative voice and the style of the passage. This is a dialogue between Victor and the Creature told from Victor’s perspective. Victor’s feelings no doubt affect how the Creature comes across to the reader. The bitterness on Victor’s part and the almost pitiful pleading on the Creature’s part are conveyed in the style of the passage and in the words themselves. As this is a retelling of the conversation from Victor, it could be entirely possible that the Creature was not as pitiful as Victor likes to see him as. Perhaps the Creature was more angry and intent on getting what he wanted from this moment but Victor retells it so it does not seem that way.

Ultimately the Creature is symbolic of the “unrepresentability” of the proletariat because he is a prime example of a creation that went wrong and could never be viewed as more than a huge mistake. A mistake that should be forgotten and not put at the forefront for being so monstrous and unlikable in the eyes of its creator.

 

By Diana Lara