Tag Archive: name

The initial thing that a lot of people, including myself, seem to notice when they read Frankenstein, is that the novel is named after the scientist rather than his monstrous creation. The identity of Frankenstein seems to be the first preconception that is vanquished when one actually reads the book.

Our culture is inundated with references to the hideous abomination that is called Frankenstein, from it being used as an argument against any controversial scientific advances, or as a potential Halloween costume. This is what comes to mind when we think of Frankenstein, this green, sub-human, destructive creature, very different from the eloquent, intelligent, deeply emotional being that is depicted in Shelley’s novel. Not only have we gotten the identity of Frankenstein wrong, we have completely changed his character too.  This is a very odd and huge misconception for an entire society to have, and after reading the book it seems incredible that it hasn’t been corrected.

I think its because we have forgotten, or maybe would like to forget, that this story is not about the Creature but about its creator. If it was simply about the Creature the novel could be passed off as a horror story and warning to think on the repercussions of an act before going through with it, and this is indeed how I thought of it before reading it. The depiction of Frankenstein as a lumbering, dim monster also makes the horror story more convincing than having the more disconcerting, very human, reality. However, the novel is truly about Frankenstein the creator, and is much darker, as it is a discussion of the arrogance of a man who brings himself to the same level as ‘God’ by bestowing life, and finds only loneliness and a burdened soul in that ultimate power. The arrogance may be subconscious but it raises questions as to the arrogance residing in each one of us. The picture below is of the Dr. Frankenstein from a modern TV show called Once Upon A Time. In this show magic and the like is very common, but even in that environment Dr. Frankenstein’s power to bring people back to life is treated as extraordinary and God-like. I chose this picture because you can see Frankenstein’s complete confidence in his abilities and his arrogance in his almost disdainful expression, and also see the supernatural power that is held in his hand.



I don’t know about the other students in the course at large, and maybe my assumptions were trivial, but as a child I believed Frankenstein to be the monster and not Victor Frankenstein the scientist. I haven’t been under this impression for quite sometime, however this was undoubtedly the case in my youth.  Frankenstein was a ferocious monster, incapable of effectively communicating with the human world, physically unappealing, and seeking to randomly destroy other life. I cannot say how I came about these conclusions, however I knew they could not be self generated ideas. After all, most preconceived notions are formed by the influence of one’s surrounding cultural environment. In the novel the monster does possess the ability to converse, and although physically unappealing, experiences a desire for human love. When this love is denied him, he turns violent, unable to comprehend why he is unworthy of the same treatment as the other humans he encounters. He is even rejected by his own creator, something that would lead to huge psyche flaws and an inability to deal with this isolation, as indicated by the ensuing killing spree. I googled the phrase “why do people think Frankenstein is the monster” in hopes of finding individuals who believed the same myth as myself. On another blog in particular, a mom discussed the concern she had for the misleading reference to “Frankenstein’s brain” in the opening credits of a popular cartoon. http://blogcritics.org/culture/article/frankenstein-is-not-the-monster/ While the words are sung in the opening credits, the characters of the cartoon open the brain of the monster, implying that Frankenstein is indeed the monster and not the scientist, his creator.  I do not know the origin of my false beliefs about Frankenstein, more specifically his actual identity, however I am not alone in my assumptions. Our culture helped shape not only my beliefs about the character but is continually and currently shaping the ideas of this generation’s youth.