Tag Archive: necrophilia

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

Samantha Shapiro

Victor’s “wildest dream” invokes a connotation of disgust and repression from a long-held desire to “infuse life into an inanimate body,” which is seen with the usage of a “double” and a sort of “return of the repressed.” This dream, where Victor embraces and kisses Elizabeth, his cousin/sister figure, only for her to turn into “the corpse of [his] dead mother,” highlights this Oedipal desire for a mother-like substitute, but in a markedly different manner—in his own awareness from his dreams, he brings to light something meant to stay unconscious and ends up rejecting and repressing it. This repression establishes the theme of Victor’s horrible treatment of his creation, as he uses it as a “double,” and his dread from “repression into morbid anxiety” establishes the uncanny within Frankenstein (The Uncanny 429).

The burial “shroud”

The readers are able to interpret Victor Frankenstein’s repression from his own view of his dreams. Frankenstein had dedicated two years to “the sole purpose of infusing life into an inanimate body,” but after having finished, the “beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled [his] heart” (Frankenstein 60). This begins to establish the obsessive nature Victor had originally created, and later goes to become connected to his mother to his dreams, through establishing a “double.” A double, in this instance, refers to an individual “doubling, dividing, and interchanging the self” through the substitution of the foreign, identical self with the individual’s own self (TU 425).

The wedding “shroud,” the “bloom of health” and the “miserable monster whom I had created”

 This double is established seemingly in both Elizabeth, “in the bloom of health,” and his mother’s corpse to attempting to make his desires come to fruition with the creation—in the process of his dream conflating the two with intimate touch, something desired in infants at a young age from their mothers, and lost to Victor with his mother’s death, he associates it with the creation. This is seen with his realization leading to “breathless horror and disgust fill[ing his] heart,” with the knowledge that his desire for his mother was the very “aspect of the being [he] had created” (F 60). The comparison and substitution of Elizabeth, his mother, and the creation highlight his disgust with himself in having this come to light, quite literally, with the “dim and yellow light of the moon” illuminating his repression with the creature staring him down, something that shouldn’t have been desired (F 60). This state begins to highlight his own mentality behind the creature, as he projects onto the creature an uncanniness due to his own repression—the monster’s develops into a return of the things that should remain repressed. 


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

Esther Quintanilla

The Oedipal complex, as explained by Sigmund Freud, is the repressed desire for a son (or daughter) to have sex with their mother (or father) and is in a constant battle with the father (or the mother). These desires, as mentioned before, are repressed deeply into the son’s unconscious. However, in the novel Frankenstein, this is not the case at all. After the animation of the creature, Victor Frankenstein experiences a very vivid dream in which he is kissing his love Elizabeth but then shifts into Frankenstein’s departed mother.

This wild dream says quite a bit about the psyche of Victor.

The Oedipal complex is an unconscious desire that is repressed by the son/daughter. However, Victor experiences this desire in his sleep, in his subconscious-which is very different than the unconscious. The subconscious is defined as concerning the part of the mind of which one is not fully aware, but which still influences one’s actions and feelings. The unconscious is defined as the part of the mind that is inaccessible to the conscious mind, meaning, it would have no effect on the way Victor acts or the dreams the he dreams. The fact that Victor dreams about kissing his mother shows that Victor has a desire to sleep with his dead mother, and that he is not trying very hard to repress it or to change it. Elizabeth was raised by Victor’s mother, and therefore is a byproduct of her being. Elizabeth is the most identical person to his mother, and that leads to the idea that Victor only wants to be with Elizabeth because he has an unrepressed desire to sleep with his dead mother.

In regard to the animation of a corpse made of severed body parts, this may be the unrepressed desire coming to the surface of Victor’s mind. Perhaps Victor wanted to animate this creature in order to fulfill his necrophilia-oedipal desire. But when the creature turns out to be something that is hideous in Victor’s eyes, something unlike his mother (or Elizabeth), he abandons it in hopes that it will destroy itself. Thus, creating the conflict of the novel: Victor running away from his unrepressed desires in the hopes of them going away on their own.

Rilee Hoch

The connection between Victor’s “wildest dream” and his uncanny, unconscious are both strong and highly disturbing. Victor, like most human beings, starts out in a state of polymorphous perversity. He feels deep attraction to his mother and is jealous and hateful towards his father, yet whilst he is still developing his mother dies. Because of her death Frankenstein develops his own unique Oedipus complex but in a way Freud could have ever predicted, he becomes a necrophiliac. He still has the desire to be nurtured and to have sexual intercourse with his mother, but because she has died it transforms into a lust for her dead corpse. Like most Oedipus males he tries to find a replacement for his mother with a woman who looks just like her, that replacement is Elizabeth. Yet, as we seen his dream (60) as he goes to embrace her she turns from alive into the corpse of his mother so he wakes up with a start, and for good reason. His superego is attempting to save him from the revelation of his deep desire from his unconscious, because that desire must remain repressed in order for him to avoid loosing his mind. These wishes are only allowed out, as Freud has theorized, in dreams. The creature here then represents his true desire the uncanny, and his attempt to fulfill his sexual need with Elizabeth proves to be a failure and does not satisfy. She fails mainly because she is a living person and he is conscious of her, for example when he willingly goes to kiss her.

Image result for morgue

Frankenstein set out to make a beautiful corpse which might have given him the sexual satisfaction he so needed, but when it comes to life it turns into a monster in his eyes. This reversion is because the final living and conscious creature is not what he wants in his unconscious. It cannot be beautiful if it is alive because his idea of beauty comes from his dead mother. Frankenstein cannot face his desire which is why when he wakes up and see his creation there he runs away, he cant handle his own ego, if it is reveled to him like it is through the monster he will loose his sanity. We see his mental degeneration throughout the novel, every time he sees the creature and his repressed thoughts are resurfaced, he slips further into insanity. He gets upset because it is a reminder of his most deep and twisted lust and his conscious self is unable to handle that truth. Latter in the novel Frankenstein is still holding onto to the useless hope that Elizabeth can make him feel complete so he marries her, but the creature reminds him that on his wedding day he will be there (146). He cannot comprehend what that means in his conscious mind. When the creature comes and murders her however, he looses his mind. The Creature’s murder of Elizabeth symbolizes his desire for a dead woman and his attraction is revealed when he expresses deep love for her only after she’s dead. This same thing occurs when his best friend Henry Clerval dies. These deaths send Frankenstein into fits of insanity because he cannot express his emotion and his strange unconscious tries between love and death that have been a part of him since his childhood.

oedipus (Frankenstein).jpg

– Mark Acuña

The word uncanny, such a particular and out of the common vocabulary of many Americans. How would one help explain the meaning behind when something is particularly uncanny? Sigmund Freud, a neurologist and founder of psychoanalysis, states in his renown novel The Uncanny, that “uncanny, in discussing things that appear to slip outside of normal assumptions…effects of the unconscious that surprise us and create an effect of uncanniness, because we are unaware of the operation of the unconscious.” (418). Why is this material so relevant to the passage in the novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelly? As critical thinkers, we can make a connection between the passage on Chapter 5, pg. 60 and analyze the thoughts going on through Victor Frankenstein. In the novel Frankenstein, it demonstrates that Victors dream was described as, “I saw Elizabeth, in the bloom of health, walking in the streets of Ingolstadt. Delighted and surprised, I embraced her; but as I imprinted the first kiss on her lips, they became livid with the hue of death; her features appeared change, and I thought that I held the corpse of my dead mother in my arms…”. This envision of Victor’s mother seems very repulsive and very confusing for many readers that aren’t too familiar with the psychoanalytical breakdown. The best way to put it is from Sigmund Freud in The Uncanny, he states that “The source of uncanny feelings would not, therefore, be an infantile tear in this case, but rather an infantile wish or even merely an infantile belief. There seems to be a contradiction here; but perhaps it is only a complication.” (425) He also states that “the discovery that whatever reminds us of this inner repetition-compulsion is perceived as uncanny” (427) We can see that Victor Frankenstein see’s his sister as a replacement or for comfort for the absence of his dead mother, wanting to have sexual relation with her and create life. Which also leaves us wondering whether the creation of the “monster” was an attempt of bypassing the thought of falling in love with his mother, and instead create his own – which he ultimately regrets with disgust and horror.