Frankenstein and True Monster Essay
“With great power comes great responsibility - Frankenstein and True Monster Essay introduction. ” As cliche as this popular Hollywood quotation may sound, it is extremely fitting to describe the situation where Dr. Frankenstein finds himself. When one has the ability, knowledge and power to create another living, breathing and thinking piece of flesh, a burden is immediately presented to whomever holds this invaluable control. Will this power be used to create horrible monstrosities that will be a form of destruction on society?
Or will this knowledge be used for the betterment of the populace? Vast knowledge is extremely dangerous, because if someone believes that they have immense power, but is unable to harness it, there is the possibility that events can get out of control and lead to disastrous conclusions. In Dr. Frankenstein’s case, his lack of control over his vast supplies of enthusiastic knowledge leaves the reader questioning who the actual monster is, Dr. Frankenstein or his monster.
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Great power and great responsibility go hand in hand, and using great knowledge in a responsible manner has the capability to formulate something new and spectacular that the world has never before seen, but when there is a lack of responsibility, there will be monstrous ramifications that cannot be undone. Abandoned upon creation, the monster in Mary Shelley’s novel, Frankenstein, is deprived of the care and attention that others experience during their formative years. Dr. Frankenstein had sacrificed his sanity to create this being, but upon creation was met only by “breathless horror and disgust” (34).
Unfortunately, instead of fulfilling his “parental” responsibilities to the helpless creature he creates, Dr. Frankenstein flees, leaving the creature to fend for itself. He does not have the responsibility to care for who or what he brought into the world, and this lack of attention, care and upbringing made the monster an instinctive animal. When Dr. Frankenstein uncovers the knowledge to create another living being, he is unearthing the power that scientists and civilians around the globe have forever yearned.
It is now possible to take the brain of someone else, and insert it into a new and fresh body that is bursting with life. The power and possibilities of this discovery are endless. This is where Dr. Frankenstein loses his control of his knowledge. Blinded by the enthusiasm of his knowledge, Dr. Frankenstein becomes power-hungry, and desires the fame and fortune that will behold him if he can successfully create a new being. What Dr. Frankenstein didn’t know, however, was how to properly administer his knowledge of pro-creation.
He didn’t have the complete knowledge and preparedness to successfully duplicate a human. He attempted to beat God, and God prevailed. Shelley’s novel reveals the effects of Dr. Frankenstein’s narcissistic decision to imitate God and then abandon what he created. With nowhere to turn, the deserted monster battles overwhelming feelings of neglect and loneliness and is plagued with a sense of worthlessness and insignificance. These intense emotions are the origin of the monster’s violent and non-violent behavior.
When the monster murders Frankenstein’s younger brother, William, as well as when the monster decides to reveal himself to the De Lacey family are examples of methods by which the monster attempts to ease the pain of his torment. When Dr. Frankenstein has a chance meeting with the monster later in the novel, the monster informs his creator of the “intense suffering” (164) he has endured since his abandonment. The monster has lived as a societal outcast due to not only his physical appearance, but also his apparent lack of societal mores.
The monster demands a female creature from his creator; someone who is “as hideous” (170) and with whom he can find happiness, solitude and love. The monster then proceeds to convince Dr. Frankenstein to create him a companion by telling stories of “shunned and hated by all mankind” (169). The monster concludes his proposition with the promise of never troubling Frankenstein or any other human again by “quitting the neighbourhood to man” (171). After complying with the monster’s demand, Dr. Frankenstein aborts his promise when the female monster is near completion.
He quickly destroys his latest creation before things get further out of hand. This is the straw that breaks the camel’s back, as soon after, the monster lashes out in uncontrollable rage. Infuriated by Dr. Frankenstein’s seemingly cruel act of indifference, the monster seeks revenge by murdering Dr. Frankenstein’s fiance, Elizabeth. Elizabeth’s murder shows the undeniable parallel between the monster and Dr. Frankenstein. The monster’s only desire was to enjoy some form of companionship, but when Frankenstein denies him of this possibility, the monster becomes dedicated to destroying Dr. Frankenstein’s happiness and love in return. Dr. Frankenstein’s immense supply of knowledge not only has created a physical monster, but his knowledge has also made a monster out of himself.
Dr. Frankenstein held the absolute authority over the happiness of the monster’s life, but in his own act of monstrosity, rather than using his knowledge to create contentment for an otherwise desolate creature, he takes away the one aspiration that keeps the monster sane. While the monster and Dr. Frankenstein are vastly different creatures, it is the alarming similarities that make these characters so deeply intertwined. For one, it was Dr. Frankenstein who brought the monster into the world, but then turned around and in an act of utter monstrosity, abandoned the monster. The monster fits the bill much better than his predecessor when it comes to physical attributes, but knows no better when acting out of line. Both the monster and Dr. Frankenstein kill each other’s potential life partners, but the monster is an estranged creature acting purely out of instinct rather than following a plan.
The monster is an instinctive animal searching for an identity; searching for a purpose. Dr. Frankenstein is an immature, power-hungry scientist who wants nothing more than fame and glory. It is in this self-absorbed blindness that Dr. Frankenstein commits the same act of treachery as the monster he consciously brought into the world, thus leaving one to realize that it is in fact Dr. Frankenstein who is the monster in this epic tale of creation, heartbreak and despair.