October 4, 2014
Victor Frankenstein's monster became a monster due to the never being nurtured, being betrayed by his creator and being unable to communicate with others due to his lack of communication skills and his appearance. Through her story, Mary Shelley reveals the human trait of dealing with things that are different with revulsion and hate, something which tortured the monster throughout his life.
In birth, the creature is described near the beginning of chapter four of the first volume as one whose “yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath,” of one whose “hair was of a lustrous black, and flowing,” of one who had “teeth of a pearly whiteness and watery eyes that “seemed almost of the same color as the dun white sockets in which they were set” (935). In this section, the creature is described and referred to as a man. By looking beyond the obvious difference from one actualized from Christianity’s God, a being not of human origin, one does see him as such. However, merely an image of one does not constitute his humanity, at least in most peoples’ view. His external image becomes, as Cynthia Hamberg states in her web page on her description of him, as “the cause of all his problems” because “people are frightened when they see him, which keeps […] him from making contact with them” (“My Hideous Progeny: Mary Shelley's Frankenstein – Character Descriptions”). And so, as he is brought into the world of the living, he already is externally differentiated and is set up to be ostracized and be set at the margins because of his physical difference. With relation to “true” human beings, one only needs to look to oneself and recall those moments of loneliness when one felt estranged because of lack of physical relation with others, whether with others of one’s sex, body type, skin color, or other physical feature, to get an inkling of the creature’s forthcoming feelings and emotions. And if not with one self, then to those many people with physical “ambiguities” and disabilities who feel betrayed, shunned and criticized for not being like the norm. This disdainful dejection that Frankenstein’s monster feels consequential to his general public’s (his creator, the De Lacey’s, Clerval, and others he encounters) refusal to accept him because of his appearance (because of fear) and often times also because of their association of him with the ghastly and hellish, drives him to hatred and murder. That which was Frankenstein’s two years of ongoing devotion in hopes of bettering the state of humanity instead becomes, as stated in the web page, “Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein: Myth for Modern Man,” a “horror, not joy” (Neal 4).
With Victor’s refusal to take responsibility for his creation, his choosing to not make an effort to help or teach it, his show of dissatisfaction and disappointment for it that his unearthly child later reads in his journal notes, and his change of mind to make a companion for it, his creature becomes enraged and sets out to cause his destruction (936; 1001). In the perception of the creature, feeling that he truly does not fit anywhere in the “Great Chain of Being,” there was not any other plausible alternative. Revenge, he says, is his motive. The creature’s comment after Frankenstein’s refusal to make him a mate implies this: “Your hours will pass in dread and misery, and soon the bolt will fall which must ravish from you your happiness for ever” (1001). However, from this, so is his intent on getting his creator’s attention as his comments to Robert Walton near the end of the story imply: “For whilst I destroyed his hopes, I did not satisfy my own desires. They were for ever ardent and craving; still I desired love and fellowship, and I was still spurned” (1033). Specifically, his purpose was to make Frankenstein miserable, but also to have someone to pay attention to him because no one else would. When Frankenstein died,…