The following academic paper highlights the up-to-date issues and questions of Frankenstein Playing God. This sample provides just some ideas on how this topic can be analyzed and discussed.
There are a number of reasons that support the opinion that the creature is a monster; his atrocious appearance unquestionably resembles that of an inhuman being, his fiendish murders are outrageous and disgraceful, and his genesis was simply an experiment of Frankenstein’s. However, as the reader continues through the novel they begin to realise that despite being cursed with a ghastly appearance, the creature has the personality of a human.
He endures feelings of both utter compassion and uncontrollable fury.
He can distinguish between good and evil. And his despicable acts can almost be excused as people’s iniquitous behaviour filled him with complete indignation as they failed to even share pleasantries with him. Therefore the creature is human in every way except for his grotesque appearance. In fact if the creature was privileged with a normal exterior then he would be no different from an infant entering the world; he has a thirst for knowledge, he desires a loved one, and he is dramatically influenced by his surroundings.
Therefore, Mary Shelley creates the question: What possesses the creature to behave in such a despicable way? I believe the answer is the abysmal way in which humans behave towards him. If people didn’t behave in such a hostile manner then there is no question in my mind that the creature would have behaved no differently to a typical human being.
Throughout the novel the creature is consistently burdened by his hideous appearance.
At the creatures creation Frankenstein describes his exterior in detail: ‘His yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath; his hair was of a lustrous black, and flowing; his teeth of a pearly whiteness; but these luxuriances only formed a more horrid contrast with his watery eyes, that seemed almost of the same colour as the dun white sockets in which they were set, his shrivelled complexion and straight black lips. ‘ This clearly describes an abhorrent and monstrous exterior where even the few human qualities detract from his overall appearance.
The muscles and arteries protruding through the yellow skin, the peculiar eyes and sockets, and the repulsive lips create a disturbing imagine, however it’s the human qualities of the white teeth and lustrous black hair that make his appearance sound so sickening, as if qualities that a human desire simply worsen his overall exterior then he must be the most inexcusably grotesque creature ever created. However, the above quote is not the only description we have of the creature’s appearance. We learn how frightfully hideous the creature really is when he first views his reflection.
‘At first I started back, unable to believe that it was indeed I who was reflected in the mirror; and when I became fully convinced that I was in reality the monster that I am, I was filled with the bitterest sensations of despondence and mortification. ‘ The creature is not upset or saddened by his appearance but mortified. He is so revolting that his reflection caused him to start back in fright. However as the creature detests his appearance this quote can be used as evidence supporting the point that he is a human, as all humans desire a more attractive exterior.
Appearance is meaningless to a monster, as it does not long for a companion, whereas a human does. Therefore I believe this quote supports the point that he is a human. The best passage, however, in the novel to describe how foul the creature really looks is when the cottagers observe him; ‘Who can describe their horror and consternation on beholding me? Agatha fainted; and Safie, unable to attend to her friend, rushed out of the cottage. ‘ This quotation illustrates how nauseating the creature is as he immediately alarms anyone who glimpses at him.
This explains that he is not just ugly or unattractive but so alien that people cannot even sustain consciousness when they come into contact with him. This is a definitely a reason supporting the idea that the creature is a monster. However, although his exterior is monstrous, that does not make him a monster. We learn that the creature has the capability to distinguish between right and wrong; ‘I did not strive to control myself’. This illustrates that the creature has the ability to control his emotions which is a trait that a monster lacks.
The language the creature used portrays a character showing remorse, as he does not use the casual word; ‘didn’t’ he used the words; ‘did not’. If he had said this in a casual way it would insinuate that the creature shows no remorse and thinks of the disgraceful act as a usual occurrence. However, as he spoke in a formal and powerful manner, he shows regret and remorse. In the creatures narrative we learn that the creature desires more than just the raw animal needs of warmth, food and water. Instead, he behaves similar to an infant learning about his surroundings.
The creature describes the difficulty of walking, eating and speaking. He describes his thoughts when he comes into contact with fire; ‘In my joy I thrust my hand into the live embers, but quickly drew it out again with a cry of pain. How strange, I thought, that the same cause should produce such opposite effects! ‘ This is vital evidence that the creature is human as he is not angered by the pain as a monster would, but is simply curious; ‘How strange’. Not only is the creature curious about his surroundings, but he gains a thirst for knowledge.
He has a clear interest in the world. He wants to know why the cottagers are both content and miserable at times. He wants to know where he’s placed on the social hierarchy. He wants to discover the history of earth. Therefore when the book Ruins of Empire came into his possession he studied it fervently, which excited a mixture of feelings. This is definitive evidence that the creature’s personality is human, as not only does he have a keen interest in knowledge but the tales animated feelings of both compassion and fury as he empathized with the characters.
A monster is selfish. It cannot understand feelings of compassion as it cannot empathize. It lives to eat, drink and sleep and has no other interests. The creature has acquired a passionate interest in knowledge and is capable of feelings of compassion. Therefore, despite having the appearance of a monster, he has the personality of a human being. The creature’s narrative of himself is a complete contrast to Frankenstein’s narrative of the creature. Frankenstein tells the story of a vile monster thoughtlessly killing innocent people.