The Power of Frankenstein and Manfred
Throughout the novel Frankenstein, author Mary Shelley clearly illustrates the moral of the story. God is the one and only creator; therefore, humans should never attempt to take His place. Literary critic Marilyn Butler sums up that we aren’t to tamper with creation in her comment: “Don’t usurp God’s prerogative in the Creation-game, or don’t get too clever with technology” (302). Butler warns that as humans, we should never assume the position of God. As Victor Frankenstein takes advantage of his deep scientific knowledge, he is punished for taking his experimenting too far. The novel opens as Victor Frankenstein recalls his curiosity and fascination with human life. Frankenstein quickly becomes obsessed with experimenting, and he attempts to create a living being out of dead body parts. He succeeds, but his creation turns into a living monster. Exclaimed by Frankenstein, “It was the secrets of heaven and earth that I desired to learn” (Shelley 33). Victor is extremely horrified by his grotesque looking creation and falls into a severe illness. While Victor is ill, the monster escapes to the woods where he watches a family and tries to befriend the humans. But once the monster makes his presence known, the family can’t accept Frankenstein’s ugly appearance. Because all humans he encountered reject him, the monster begins to hate people and believe that they are his enemies. Frustrated, the monster returns to his creator and demands that Frankenstein makes a female companion to cure his loneliness. The creature promises Victor that he will leave with his female companion, travel to South America, and never come in contact with humans again. However, two years beforehand, the creature spitefully murdered Victor's brother William to get back at him. Holding a grudge against his monster creation for the death of William, Victor refuses to make a friend for the monster. In an effort to make Victor as miserable as himself, the monster seeks revenge on his creator. The monster takes his frustration out on everything and everyone dear to Victor, and murders of Frankenstein’s family and friends. The remainder of the novel revolves around the struggles Victor Frankenstein encounters as he attempts to escape from the mess of a vengeful monster he has made.
The moral of the story doesn’t simply stress that God is the only Creator, but it also emphasizes the responsibility we need to take for our actions. Humans all make mistakes, but we are all held accountable. Victor Frankenstein creates this monster and then runs away from the disaster he makes. Similarly, parents are responsible for the children they have, even if the pregnancy wasn’t desired. Frankenstein creates a monster he doesn’t want, but he is still responsible to take care of his mistake, which he fails to do. Victor Frankenstein expresses: “It was a strong effort of the spirit of good, but it was ineffectual. Destiny was too potent, and her immutable laws had decreed my utter and terrible destruction” (Shelley 38). Victor describes his intention to create as a good intent, but because the monster he created was sinful, his effort was useless. Victor is quick to blame his terrible creation on destiny saying that he was only trying to do honorable actions, but they weren’t successful. Though the message of the story is apparent, the antagonist and protagonist of the story can’t be as clearly identified. In the beginning of the novel, Victor Frankenstein is the bad guy for creating his monster and not caring for it. However some readers may say that as the story develops, the monster turns into the antagonist. The monster is searching for ways to make his creator unhappy. The monster’s god is Victor, he doesn’t know of any higher power. The monster learns to be evil and vengeful as he observes the humans, so he acts upon what he sees. Clearly, the monster’s sins such as murder are deliberate. The monster, however, wasn’t taught...
Cited: Butler, Marilyn. “Frankenstein and Radical Science.” Shelly 302.
Byron, Lord. Manfred. Vol. XVIII, Part 6. The Harvard Classics. New York: P.F. Collier & Son, 1909-14: Bartleby.com, 2001. www.bartleby.com/18/6/. [September 26, 2012].
Levine, George. “Frankenstein and the Tradition of Realism.” Shelly 209.
Shelly, Mary. Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus. Ed. Simon & Brown. 1818.
Warren, Ashley. "Association of Young Journalists And Writers." UniversalJournal AYJW. Web. 29 Oct. 2012.
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