Victor Frankenstein: The Disappointed Father

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Admittedly, Frankenstein could be read and interpreted in any number of ways. Some read the novel and think that the creature is a horrible villain who should be despised and disdained; others feel no pity at all for Victor, his creator and have exceeding sympathy for the creature. Some say the myth is a hero myth while others say it is a creation myth. All of these readings have validity and arguments can be made that Frankenstein and its characters fit all these options. I found, as I read this tale, that I had complete compassion for the monster and perhaps this speaks more to my highly empathetic personality then it does to the quality of the creature itself. This compassion became even stronger at the end of the novel when the creature was conversing with Walton after the death of Victor and he recounted the lack of pleasure he felt when killing his victims: “Think you that the groans of Clerval were music to my ears? My heart was fashioned to be susceptible of love and sympathy; and when wrenched by misery to vice and hatred, it did not endure the violence of the change, without torture such as you cannot even imagine.” Here, you feel the struggle of the creature who wants to embrace his humanity yet has a monstrous urge, which he at one point says he wants to ignore but feels unable too, to do these horrific things that bring him no pleasure. I think this is a very relatable aspect in humanity and it’s even mentioned in one of the Pauline epistles in the Holy Bible. To paraphrase, the letter, Paul says that he doesn’t do what he wants to do and wishes he would not do what he wishes to do. It’s a question of self-control and the will of the carnal animal traits of humans and the morality within each of us. This is what leads me to conclude that this novel is actually a creation myth and one that specifically refers to the fall of creation out of favor with the creator, though in this case, unlike in other myths, the creation “falls” through no fault of its own but is simply rejected at birth.

The primary theme of the novel is the abandonment of the creature by his creator. The instant the creature comes to life he is abandoned by his maker who says: “The beauty of the dream vanished and breathless horror and disgust filled my heart.” Just imagine, this creature, designed to be beautiful and loved, is rejected through no fault of its own by the man who gave it life. This is patently unfair to the creature and very tragic. It also allows me to feel no sympathy at all for Victor, though he is indeed horrified by his actions.

In this story, Victor Frankenstein takes the role of both father and mother, since he creates this life all on his own. Furthermore, he becomes a parent whom abandons his child who is, at the moment of conception, innocent and has done nothing to warrant his rejection except for being made in a hideous fashion. This recalls to me the Mayan flood myth of the Popul-Vuh.

In the Popul-Vuh, the creator god makes mankind three times, and destroys it twice, each time because of flaws in their design. The first batch of men are created from mud and they are found to be “very soft and limp” in addition to being blind and unable to stand up when wet. God destroys them and tries again. God then creates men out of wood but also finds these beings imperfect. They don’t have souls or hearts and are quite stupid. He destroys them with a flood. Finally, he makes mankind as we now know it out of dough and he’s satisfied. God’s mistakes, not mans, lead to their destruction. This resembles Frankenstein very strongly.

Unlike in the Popol-Vuh, however, Frankenstein does not destroy his creation—as perhaps he should have, but instead flees from it in fear and revulsion. He tells us that, “Unable to endure the aspect of the being I had created; I rushed out of the room, and continued a long time traversing my bedchamber, unable to compose my mind to sleep.” We see here that he eventually flees, leaving the creature to fend for himself. At this point, the only crime the creature has the created is the crime of hideousness which, of course, is not a crime the creature chose to commit. It is not the creatures’ fault that he is composed of cadaver parts or that he has black lips and has skin that barely covers his muscles and joints. These things are the fault of his maker, yet his maker does not own up to these crimes. Instead, he denies the existence of this creature and abandons it, even allowing someone he knows is innocent of a crime to be convicted of and put to death for a crime actually committed by his creation. It is no wonder at this point-- when he was abandoned and left to fend for himself-- that the creature went on a murderous rampage destroying all those whom his creator held dear.


The author of "Frankenstein", Mary Shelley
The author of "Frankenstein", Mary Shelley | Source
An artist rendering of the Popol Vuh
An artist rendering of the Popol Vuh | Source

Due to my Christian upbringing and familiarity with the story, another story that came to mind was the Biblical story of Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve were lovingly created for God’s pleasure and in His image. In fact, at the conclusion of their creation, God calls them “Very good.” It is clear that He loves the beings He has created and provides for them food and shelter and everything else they need in an earthly paradise referred to as the Garden of Eden. Like the creature in Frankenstein, they were given a freewill and this freewill lead them to sin against God who then responded by cursing them to an eventual death and banishing them. The sin they committed was willful and deliberate and, while some would argue they were tricked into committing this sin, it was nonetheless an act of freewill by thinking, created beings. Unlike the creature that Victor Frankenstein creates, Adam and Eve did something to earn their creators’ wrath but they were not shunned entirely, just punished and banished from the Garden of Eden. They still had communion with God, it was just not as open as before and they had a gulf between them and God to go along with the shame of sin and the disappointment of their creator. They also had each other as companions.

Whereas in the Bible we see God look at Adam, whom He created first, and lament Adam’s loneliness and create a companion for him, we see the opposite actions in Frankenstein. The creature gets the chance to meet his father (Victor) and have a conversation with him, where he laments his loneliness. He tells Victor that if he were to create a companion for him that he would leave Europe forever with her and he would never be seen from again. At first Frankenstein agrees to create a companion for his creature but, upon completing the new creature-- but before bringing it to life-- he destroys it, and the first creature actually witnesses this destruction of his potential mate. This had to have fueled a stronger sense of abandonment for the creature: abandoned at birth and now abandoned by a mate before he even had a chance to interact with his mate. Again, the creature is punished for a sin he did not commit but, worse, the creature being created for him is also destroyed, this time before it even has a chance at life. We see another instance of the “fall” without any actions by the creature (this also brings to mind the idea of abortion which, some would argue, is another theme of this story.).

I also wanted to make a brief mention of Frankenstein in reference to the Mesopotamian flood myth, Utnapishtim. This myth may have the most striking resemblance to the novel. In this story, the creation is destroyed simply because the creatures are annoying the gods. The Mesopotamian god Enlil laments: “The uproar of mankind is intolerable and sleep is no longer possible by reason of the babel.” Enlil then does what any annoyed god would do, he destroys them, again using a flood. This strikes me again as similar to Victor Frankenstein. He is annoyed at his creation even though his creation is simply doing what it was created to do. Enlil created mankind with a penchant for war and babel, Frankenstein created his creation out of cadavers and expected a beautiful creature. When this didn’t occur, he rejected it and this rejection came with it a wave of destruction that resulted directly in the death of all those who were close to him and, eventually in his Victor’s own demise.

The questions remain. Was abandoning the creature and letting it live a greater crime then destroying a creature that, while innocent, was hideous? Should we hold Victor culpable for the deaths that ensued as a direct result of his creation? How much culpability should fall on the creature itself? The creature essentially raised itself and developed its own morals and killed with a purpose-- vengeance. His creator, however, selfishly created him and left him to fend for himself because the creature did not live up to his expectations. But is it really the creature’s fault he did not live up to his creators expectations? I certainly think not.

Some Good Books on Mythology

Works Cited


Leeming, David Adams. The World of Myth. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990. Print

Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. New York: Dover Publications Inc, 1994. Print

my poetry collection

Thanks for Reading.

A FREELANCE WRITER, HONORS STUDENT AND GOVER PRIZE FINALIST, JUSTIN W. PRICE (AKA, PDXKARAOKEGUY) CONSIDERS HIMSELF A POET FIRST AND FOREMOST BUT IS ALSO A SHORT STORY, BIOGRAPHER AND HUMOR WRITER. HIS POETRY COLLECTION,DIGGING TO CHINA, was FEBRUARY 2ND, 2013 BY SWEATSHOPPE PUBLICATIONS AND IS CURRENTLY AVAILABLE ON AMAZON, barnes and Nobles and throughYOUR LOCAL BOOKSELLER.

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Comments 39 comments

PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 2 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

It is a great novel indeed.


tanveerbadyari profile image

tanveerbadyari 2 years ago

lovely hub, it reminded me of the wonderful book which i have read during my college days.


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 3 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Thank you, Torillyn. I appreciate the comment.


torrilynn profile image

torrilynn 3 years ago

PDXKaraokeGuy,

really cool hub that you have here

i find it very informational about Frankstein

and the preconceived notions about

the novel. thanks.

voted up


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Thomas, thanks for your story. If you have an interest in myths, please check out the amazon links in the body of the article. Those are some of the best books on mythology that are around. Any method of sharing is the best, as far as I'm concerned :-)


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Thanks CC. I'm pleased that you found this interesting.


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Cyndi, thanks. It's interesting. i read Frankenstein on my own and hated it. I generally hate the style of writing that it's written in. But, while I still hate that style, having to read it and analyse it for school made it much more enjoyable.

Thanks for reading and commenting


ThoughtSandwiches profile image

ThoughtSandwiches 4 years ago from Reno, Nevada

Justin...

I'm glad I saw this one cross my feed. I took a European History Seminar in Grad school that was devoted to this topic as interpreted from a feminist viewpoint.

The class was composed of my professor reading excerpts of his (as yet)unpublished novel, "The Memoirs of Elizabeth Frankenstein" as narrated through Victor's half-sister and fiancée. We also watched a lot of Frankenstein movies.

In a (perhaps?) interesting side note...that professor, Theodore Roszak actually coined the term "Counter Cultural" ...go figure. When I looked him up to remember how to spell his name for this posting...turns out he died last year.

Anyway...I ramble...I like your look at this topic. I was unaware of the 'Mayan flood myth of the Popul-Vuh' ...you are correct...it's very reminiscent. It always amazes me how different cultures adopt similar creation myths.

Voting and (trying to figure out the best method of) sharing!

Thomas


cclitgirl profile image

cclitgirl 4 years ago from Western NC

Very cool! I like the creation-myth analogy, too. I like how you've delved into some of the symbolism and meanings behind what meets the eye. Voted up and interesting!


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 4 years ago from Georgia

I read Frankenstein in high school, though not as an assignment, but because I wanted to. Enjoyed the book a lot. I'm not sure I went so deep with my analysis back then, but I have enjoyed the depth of your analysis. I, too, felt sympathy for the creature who was only responding to his nature, even though he was conflicted at times. His Creator, his Father, seemed cold, unrelenting in his disgust for the creature. Thank you for giving us such a well thought out "A" paper.


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Carl, thanks for reading.. I love the story but I'm not a big fan of Shelley's writing style.


CarltheCritic1291 profile image

CarltheCritic1291 4 years ago

Great Hub, I remember reading this in high school. It was really good. Thanks for posting voted Up, Useful, Awesome, and Interesting :)


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

racin, I had to read it for a class. Otherwise, I would not have done this analysis.

Jeff, absolutely. Share away! I always appreciate a good pimpin. One of the beautiful things about this novel is that it can be read and analyzed in so many different ways.


Jeff Hileman profile image

Jeff Hileman 4 years ago

May I share you hub?


raciniwa profile image

raciniwa 4 years ago from Naga City, Cebu

even if I have read the book, it doesn't stay in my memory as what you have here Justin, what a great tribute to the writer Mary Shelley, and what a great way to present the story...


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

excellent analysis, Jeff. Thanks for commenting


Jeff Hileman profile image

Jeff Hileman 4 years ago

Mary Shelly daughter to Mary Wollstone feminist philosopher and father Phillip Godwin a philosophical politicalist. In my so called Level 1 commenter's opinion. Describes the effect of society's swayed views, through fear on the family ideal. Through the creation of society's controllers, who become the proverbial 800 pound monster in the room. And we as a society then become so influenced by shinny objects and personal prestige. We turn our backs on the very monster we create. Not taking our power in control back or for most of us even admitting there are monsters. But it always comes back to us doesn't it? When the child is born and is the monster of its creator or creators. The creator or creator's tend to abandon it. Not taking responsibility for the mess that the creator or creators have made of it.

Mary's The Modern Prometheus was published 1818, Remember, that she had lost a child previously. And had once described her inspiration being "when she personally shed her own adolescence". Or to mean that the world we live in as it appears to be structured is decaying. Eventually we will find our monster rules us, but when if ever will we face that it was our own arrogance the got us there.

The destruction of the monsters mate was symbolic of her child's death and the death of both her mother and Percy's first wife. Man chooses through free will, the path he creates including the death on the face of it which we fear. The parts required to build the creatures represents the various parts we create as controllers in society. All the while describing the parts of family's through generations. Which create the newest members, sometimes as still born or even monsters.


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

tsmog, thanks for reading. i recommend reading it, but it's not light reading by any stretch. Be prepared to reread paragraphs. On the bright side, the book is only around 130 pages and has a lot of good action and violence :-)


tsmog profile image

tsmog 4 years ago from Escondido, CA

A very interesting read, although complex for me now. I am motivated to read the work, so I can understand more. Yet, the 'long winded' part frightens me, since recently I don't seem to be able to finish anything I start.

Reading it my mind wandered a tad as the interpretation(s) alluded, for me, toward the sub-conscious and conscious of an individuals mind. I was seeing Victor as the sub-conscious or the hidden recess of past memory vs.Frankenstein being the conscious mind. The contrast of new experiences of the conscious with programming of the sub-conscious.

Inspirational paper indeed PDXK. I will be looking for a kindle version soon. I have two reads to complete first for work and then this will be a pleasure book of great interest for sure.


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Beth, thanks for commenting. i actually hate the style the story is written in. It's very dense and long winded, and that's my preferred reading (or writing) style at all. That's one of the reasons I loathe Shakespeare. but, i took a mythology course over the summer and we had to read the book and write a report on it, comparing it with other myths. I enjoyed the story int hat context, but I wish it had been written differently. A creature speaking as eloquently as the creature in Frankenstein really takes me out of the story, IMHO.

Thanks for reading and commenting!


bethperry profile image

bethperry 5 years ago from Tennesee

You bring up several very interesting comparative observations about god and Dr. Frankenstein, especially the god of Judeo-Christian beliefs. Some have to wonder how much of an abstentee, or at least self-pitying, irresponsible father-icon Frankenstein represented.

I have to give you credit, too. I've read Frankenstein and it was tough trying to stay awake to finish that novel. Mary Shelly had a fantastic premise and her Prometheus analogy was fascinating, but dang that woman could be long-winded.

Great hub, voting up.


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

cool. I'll be adding that now. Thanks for the crosslink!


Aka Professor M 5 years ago

@DPXKaraokeGuy: I'd be happy to add this to my hub as well,DPXKaraokeGuy. Here is the link to my poetic version.

http://hubpages.com/t/29af16

I shall link mine to yours here as well, my friend!

Regards Mike (Aka professor M) ;D


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Professor, thank u for stopping by. I appreciate your comment. I'd be happy to crosslink your HUB with this one. It would be fun to show contrasting viewpoints on the same issue. Would u mind sending over a link to your HUB?


Aka Professor M 5 years ago

@PDXKaraokeGuy:Appears that you and many of our Hubbers are in agreement as to the victim of the tale, is in fact, the Creature that Victor animated. Like Epigramman, I too, have used "The Creation of Doctor Frankenstein" as the Subject of one of my hubs as well.

The symbolism that you have alluded to, above follows in the same vein that I expressed as thoughts the creature itself experiences. That I did in a lyrical format, sir.

So it would appear that we have all been touched by the same muse with different results as it should be. I have enjoyed your version and have voted it up! I have pushed the buttons that applied to it as well!

Regards Mike (Aka Professor M!) ;D


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

This is a fascinating analysis, PDXKaraoke Guy. Although I've always loved reading I've never read Frankenstein, excepted in an illustrated, abridged form when I was a child. This is one book that I must put on my reading list.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 5 years ago from New York

You do Mary Shelley proud. To think that such a young girl could write such a deep tale based upon a dream! Your interpretations bring so much into play that I believe I have to analyze your writing as well. I have always had pity for the Frankenstein "monster" for as you said, he is abandoned by his creator...what worse fate could any creature have? It is truly a wrenching novel and you can't help but feel for the creature. Your writing is excellent and thought provoking. Excuse me while I re-read and think about what you wrote.


Sunnie Day 5 years ago

Hi PDX...I realized I said Epi...sorry about that....Colin had shared on face book with us..but I really enjoyed this once again..Again such a great hub.I am one to also sympathise with the creature..:)

Sunnie


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

glassvisage, I'm glad you enjoyed this and I hope you do take another look! A book like Frankenstein is great because it can be read in so many different ways! Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment!


glassvisage profile image

glassvisage 5 years ago from Northern California

Wow, this is a very deep and thoughtful work around Frankenstein. You connect it to so many themes in life and it it gave me an opportunity to think of the work in another light. Fascinating and makes me want to take another look :)


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Thanks for reading Molo. The beauty of Frankenstein, in addition to the language, is the way the novel can be read and interpreted in so many ways. Indon't think there's a right or wrong way to read it, as long as your conlusions can be supported with evidence from the text.

Thanks again for reading!


molometer profile image

molometer 5 years ago

A compelling analysis of the Frankenstein character and the authors circumstances. It made me think. Thank you.

I read the novel years ago and thought it spoke to the pursuit by man/woman to control nature which is along the lines of you discourse. To become gods themselves and of the abuse of science and technology in the furtherance of those goals.

The "monster" represents/is technology and as we know once a technology is in the world there is no knowing where it will lead/end?

A cautionary tale indeed. Great hub voted up UI.


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Thanks for the comment, Flora. i look forward to reading more of your work. The story about the ghost stories and Lord Byron has always facinated me. I learned that the story was also inspired by a miscarriage she had. Apparently after one of her miscarriages (she had several) she had a dream. In this dream she was craddling her srtillborn child and she placed it by the fire and the warmth from the fire caused her baby to come back to life. Not sure if it's true of course, but it's interesting.


FloraBreenRobison profile image

FloraBreenRobison 5 years ago

Hello, Justin. Thanks to Epigramman for bringing us together. I am indeed most interested in this article. I am familiar with both the novel and the 1931 film. Shelly wrote this book based on a nightmare she had. she, her husband (well, no one is sure if she and Percy were ever legally married but she called herself Mrs. Shelly) and Lord Byron had dared each other to write a story-she couldn't comeu p with anything until after this nightmare. she told them about it and they insisted she write it.

Personally, I have always seen this as a condemnation on mankind -in the form of Frankenstein-for people destroying and manipulating the Earth and other people. I see Frankenstein's monster as a symbol of everything mankind has done wrong.

as a general comment about classic horror films compared to later versions in the 1970s, the so called monsters in these movies-with the exception of Dracula-were sympathetic creatures and mankind was the real evil. I sobbed for hours after seeing The Thing From Around the World."


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Epi- thanks for the kind words and for sharing my hub with others. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Sunnie, thanks for stopping by. Glad you enjoyed this Hub as well, though yous eem somewhat confused by the author :-) Look fwd to reading both of you!


Sunnie Day 5 years ago

Hi Epi,

What a wonderful analysis of this book. I really think I may have to go get this book or if it is on Kindle..I have always enjoyed the movies when I was younger..I can only imagine how much better is the book..Good to see you today..Hope you are having a restful weekend.

Hugs,

Sunnie


epigramman profile image

epigramman 5 years ago

...great writing my friend and so very impressed with you as a scholar and an academic that I will post this to my Facebook page with a direct link back here so hopefully more people will read this. FLORA BREEN ROBISON is one lady you should check out - tell her I sent you and make sure you tell her about this hub subject - I am sure she would be most interested. Thank you for your endorsement of my humble little hubspace by the way - coming from such a great writer like you really means a lot and I just recently wrote one about Frankie's monster a couple of hubs ago and gave him a 'swishy' gait to his walk - lol lol

lake erie time 3:19pm ontario canada


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

THanks for stopping by Dizzy!


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 5 years ago from Oakley, CA

Very well-thought-through analysis--interesting points raised.

This story has had so many incarnations and re-makes by Hollywood, that virtually everyone on earth knows the story--or thinks they do. Yet how many have actually taken the time to analyze it and look for the deeper meaning? Not many.

Good job!

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