Frankenstein, The Creation of a Monstrosity

In order for one to look in monster evolution one must look at two very important issues the first being what determines a person or object to be a monster. The second issue is what makes the person monstrous or a monstrosity.  In this case we will look at how Frankenstein is a monster, and how he changes in the various texts.  Webster’s dictionary defines a monster with three different explanations.” Firstly, it refers to “a strange or horrible imaginary creature,” secondly, it says that “something is extremely or unusually large,” and thirdly, it mentions “a powerful person or thing that cannot be controlled and causes many problems”. (Websters) When we look at Frankenstein we can see that he can fit into each of these explanations.  Frankenstein is an imaginary creature who is very tall and large and is one who is a powerful creature and cannot be controlled.  Webster’s Dictionary also defines monstrous and monstrosity as; “a malformation of a plant or animal, something deviating from the normal, the quality or state of being, an object of great and often frightening size, force, or complexity,” and finally “an excessively bad or shocking example.” Webster’s dictionary explains the word monstrous as “extremely or unusually large, very wrong” and also “very ugly, cruel, or vicious.”(Websters) Throughout the primary texts we can see that Victor Frankenstein the Doctor that created Frankenstein can be defined as monstrous due to the fact that the imaginary creature called Frankenstein is cruel and vicious through his actions.  The primary texts that will be evaluated would Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein, the second would be The Ghost of Frankenstein release in 1942 by James Whale, and thirdly the movie released in 1994 of Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein by Kenneth Branagh.  

Dr. Victor Frankenstein created the imaginary creature and named him Frankenstein This new creature could represent in what we see in monster theory as the Monster body is a cultural body.  Which in term can represent that just because doctors can create life doesn’t mean they should.  This new form of life that doctor Victor Frankenstein had created in his lab was to be a creation of new life that would benefit humanity.  In which he did a monstrous thing creating the monstrosity that we call Frankenstein, which was created to be a superior race.  This imaginary form then backfired on doctor Frankenstein this new life form deviated from the social norm.  In Mary Shelly’s book Frankenstein, the modern Prometheus.  We can see that doctor Victor Frankenstein rebels and deviates against the laws of nature how life is naturally made, and as a result is punished by his creation.   We could in term say that that the monster called Frankenstein, and Dr. Frankenstein could be considered to be called monstrous and the act of his creation could be considered as a monstrosity.

In the  time period  that doctor Frankenstein created Frankenstein this would be close to the romantic period.  In this time period and in Shelly’s book we can see that the ideal family was a mother, father, and a child comprised the modern family.  Frankenstein wanted someone to love so he asked doctor Frankenstein to create a person like himself so that he could be loved, but Victor Frankenstein had already made up his mind with the creation of Frankenstein that it was such a hideous creation.  It is seen in the romantic period that everything needs feminine touch.  “Frankenstein actively raised and educated his creation, the monster would have lacked the morality inculcated by a feminine touch.  The man’s work is to kindle the fire on the hearth, the woman’s is to maintain it”(Gettysburg).  In the romantic era they believed in companionship amongst the gender role.  This is seen in today society that companionship is like a glue that sticks people together and help the world evolve.  We can see this also in Shelly’s book and relate it to monster theory in the monster thesis number four which is the monster dwells at the gate of difference.  Frankenstein by wanting a female companion relates to this idea, because he wants to change and be human like everyone else something to love and take care of.  This idea also relates to the companionship deemed wanted in the romantic era also.  Frankenstein does not like himself and wants to be different just like everyone else in society.  Throughout the book we can definitely see Frankenstein changing to wanting to adapt to his looks and creation so they he can be loved by another human.  Dr. Frankenstein in the creation of Frankenstein is seen as a monstrosity due to the fact that this doesn’t follow the social norm that all life as seen in the romantic era needs a companion to love and be loved. 

Frankenstein has changed in many different ways throughout the primary texts. This change can relate to what is seen in Jeffrey Cohen’s work “Monster Culture (Seven Thesis) in thesis number three The monster is the Harbinger of category crisis.  “This refusal in the classificatory “order of things” is true of monsters generally; They are distributing hybrids whose externally incoherent bodies resist attempts to include them in any systematic structuration.  And so the monster is dangerous, a form suspended. Between forms that threatens to smash distinctions”.   Seen in Shelly’s Frankenstein the body of Frankenstein can be correlated to that of a human, an animal, and a hybrid.  This is to be deemed that Frankenstein is composed of human and animals like parts thus creating the hybrid.  How can on classify what Frankenstein really is well one could say that he is a hybrid due to his human like features in being created by victor Frankenstein.  One more thing that makes Frankenstein a hybrid is that he is also composed of animal parts as well he was stitched together by science to make a human hybrid.  A hybrid can be determined in Frankensteins case as being an imaginary intimate object that has human and animal like qualities.  This is due to the way he was created by doctor Frankenstein which seems to show a kind of machine creator point of view.  Frankenstein was created in a lab of human parts, but he was not created like a human naturally so in term he can be said to be a hybrid.  

Victor stubbornly insists on his decision “to make the being of a gigantic stature; that is to say, about eight feet in height, and proportionally large” (Shelley, 2012, p. 47). It is obvious that Victor does not think of the monster as of a man, so he does not see any problems concerning the gigantic body in connection with the monster ̓s appearance and his incorporation into society, in so far that the monster is assumed to be a prototype hidden in a laboratory, essentially to be at disposal for scientific aims”.(Masaryk) Due to the machine like aspect of the creation of Frankenstein thought he has human, and animal like parts this brings a question up will Frankenstein then be deemed to be a human monster machine?  Personally, I don’t think so and the reason is that the form of a hybrid seen here is not composed of machine like parts in the fact that there are no gears or any other machine-like parts in the creation of Frankenstein.  

Although the monster was construed as a machine because he was not born like a child, “The relationship of the creator and the monster corresponds to that of a father-child relationship. The father-child relationship can be finished entirely after their death, so under these conditions, one of them has to die, as the monster mentions; there are some “ties only dissoluble by the annihilation of one of us” (Shelley, 2012, p. 97). The question of mortality introduces another, but not the last, feature supporting the monster’s existence in human nature; it evidently highlights the fact that the monster has been made of the parts of a human body”. (Masaryk) 

In Frankenstein’s case one could state that the morality of this case is that because science says you can do something let’s not do it.  We can see that this creation has led to be used as an example that the monster created by doctor Frankenstein is in fact something that should have never been created.  We see that the hybrid created has evolved from being created as a machine in a lab setting, but it still is life like in the sense that it still has human, and animal like qualities.  These qualities are seen across the texts and can be seen as a changing phenomenon one might even question the morality seen here if we can create a monster what is next in society to be created or discovered.  Just because we can create something doesn’t mean we should in Frankenstein’s case he was created to become a superior race in the Romantic Era to be created to love as like a human would.  

Annotated Bibliography

Žaneta. “Monster and Monstrosity in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.” Informační Systém Masarykovy Univerzity, Masarykova Univerzita, 1 Jan. 1970,  This source was used to add supporting detail in the claim made. Many facts were made due to the emphasizing detail of the claims made and to be used to give support.  I will be using this source to add emphasis on the claim made.  This is a credible source though it is not peer reviewed it is scholarly. This source was used to show detail in the Romantic era to show how, and why Frankenstein was created.  I will use this source to emphasize my claim on how the Romantic era in which Frankenstein was created correlates to the reasoning in this time period.  This source is scholarly so I feel that it is appropriate to be used in this context.  

“Dictionary.” Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster,  In this source the terms were define they include monster and Monstrosity.  I am using this source to emphasize the correlation of how Frankenstein is a monster, and the creation of Frankenstein by doctor Frankenstein can be determined as a monstrosity.  I believe that this source should be used for this correlation to add emphasis in detail to support the claim made.