The Downfall and Portrayal of Frankenstein's Monster
Frankenstein’s monster demands that Frankenstein creates him a female companion - The Downfall and Portrayal of Frankenstein's Monster introduction. Frankenstein agrees to this in the hopes that he will be left in peace. However during creation of the female, and the monster watching him work, it dawns on him the reality of the hideous act he is embarking upon. Overcome by the image of the monster and the idea of creating another like him, Frankenstein destroys his work. The monster is distraught over Frankenstein’s actions and explains the misery he has been through whilst perusing him – he explains that he will make Victor pay if he refuses to create him his female mate.
The passage begins with the sentence “The hour of my weakness is past and the period of your power has arrived. ” This is an example of the gothic genre and also an example of how Mary Shelley manages to steer away from the classical form of gothic writing, instead placing fear in the human mind via the human psyche. One feels as though Frankenstein is acting as a slave to the monster in creating him a female. However, he comes to his senses and decides that this had been an ‘hour of weakness’ that must end in juxtaposition with the monster’s power.
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As the reader one is aware that the monster is capable of murder, and are fearful of Frankenstein’s fate in refusing to continue with the creation of the female companion. Stating that the monster cannot persuade him to create ‘wickedness’, infers that the female companion is something inhuman or unearthly, reinforcing the idea of the unnatural nature of his creation. However on reflection and realisation of the monster’s wickedness Frankenstein ceases the creation and instead to the monsters horror destroys it.
The above passage is an example of embedded narrative. It is in this passage that Victor is speaking in the first person to Walton. Victor says “should I in cold blood, set loose upon the earth a daemon, whose delight is in death and wretchedness”. The words cold blood, daemon, death and wretchedness are all examples of gothic imagery used to illustrate the appearance and nature of female monster. There appears to be an analogy drawn between the description of the monster and of a daemon.
It is here that an allegory of the daemon in Milton’s paradise lost is used when referring to Frankenstein’s own created monster. Initially we are lead to believe that the monster is Adam, while the hubris is manifested in the role of Victor. However, the monster also fits and takes the role of the Daemon, assuming the role of Satan, a fallen archangel who engineers the fall of Adam bringing Sin and Death into the world. This was an act carried out by the monster who, abandoned by Frankenstein, was left to fend for himself, as well as to contend with feelings of isolation and neglect.
The nemesis of Frankenstein’s actions, in the pursuit of dangerous knowledge, become clear when the monster, hoping to make Frankenstein share his feelings of isolation and abandonment in the world, begins killing those nearest and dearest to him. Frankenstein, decides that it is due to the feelings of anger associated for the monster killing his brother, that reinforce his firm decision not to create the monster a companion. “Begone! ” I am firm and your words will only exasperate my rage. Using elevated lexis such as the word “begone” illustrate his determination to not listen to what the monster has to say and as though the monster’s actions speak louder than his words. It is also as if Frankenstein is trying to create excuses when denying the monster of a female companion. Femininity is a theme that runs throughout the text, given that Shelly’s mother was a feminist it is not surprising.. The fact that Frankenstein destroyed, and now refuses to create the female figure can be seen as an anti-feminist action.
It is as though Victor fears the ability of the female to reproduce, to “create a race of devils” juxtaposed with his fear of the female possibly failing to satisfy the monster. It can be interpreted that Frankenstein fears creation of a female creature that he cannot control. Due to the power that the female monster could potentially possess, Frankenstein inflicts his male power on the female creature, in his decision to abort his creation, by destroying her.
Therefore, in similarity with the other female characters in the book, destroying of the female leads to her complete passivity. There is also an analogy drawn between the monster and the devil in hell manifested in “gnashed his teeth in the impotence of anger” The monster is enraged and here takes on a likeness in temperament to the devil. The monster in anger puts forward a plausible and heart felt argument reasoning “shall each man …find a wife for his bosom, and each beast have his mate, and I be alone? ” It is here that the theme of isolation can be detected.
Isolation is imposed upon him by Frankenstein, who neglectfully abandons him. The sentence makes us aware of the monster’s longing for companionship and a need for love and affection that Frankenstein deprives him of. It could also be argued that the monsters words and action’s of violence are only a subsequent action of his awareness that he may never experience love as a normal human being. This can also be deduced from the words “I am malicious because I am miserable” spoken by the monster earlier on in the book (P. 119).
It is in hindsight in his narrative to Walton that Frankenstein says he feels he had “feelings of affection…requited by detestation and scorn”. This seems an ironic statement as it is clear to the reader that Frankenstein did not share a motherly bond with the creature at all but instead outcast and abandonsed him failing to nurture his own creation. Frankenstein’s egotistic and solipsistic nature can be detected in the words “I had feelings of affection” thus despite the monsters obvious misery Frankenstein is only concerned for himself showing no sense of compassion for the creature.
An analogy can be drawn between the monster and the devil when the monster threatens Frankenstein with the words “Man you may hate but beware! ” and in continuation “your hours will pass in dread and misery” this threat may be due to his feelings of isolation. The monster, who has the mind of a small child, can think of no other way to make Frankenstein experience the isolation he exists in other than by seeking revenge. In the words spoken by the monster “soon the bolt will fall which must ravish from you your happiness forever”.
It could be argued that the monster uses the word bolt referring to a bolt of lightening, in parallel with the spark of lightening that was infused upon him in his moment of creation. The monster associates his spark of creation with the misery of his own existence, and in referring to a bolt of lightening falling on Frankenstein implies that the monster wants Frankenstein to share the same misery of existence and isolation. “Are you to be happy while I grovel in the intensity of my own wretchedness” further explains the monsters wish for Frankenstein to share the misery of his existence with him.
The monster draws attention to, and understands that just as the words ‘light’ ‘food’ and ‘death’ are the basic necessities of, mankind; his death is more important and more important than this is his revenge on Frankenstein. In this passage the monster uses the sun as a personified fiery image from the natural world, in juxtaposition with himself, a fiery image from hell, a monster created from unnatural consequences, who along with the sun will gaze upon the misery of Frankenstein.
The monster that has been abandoned by Frankenstein, shunned by others and who has watched the destruction of his female companion has lost everything that is nearest and dearest to him, and feels as though he has experienced the worst that could possibly happen to him. It is due to this that he has gained both in strength and power, and the upper hand over Frankenstein, who still has many friends and relatives alive whom he cares for.
This can be understood by the words spoken by the monster “Beware for I am fearless, and therefore powerful” There is further use of an analogy drawn between Satan in the bible and the monster who speaks the words “I will watch with the wiliness of a snake, that I may sting with its venom. Man you shall repent of the injuries you inflict. ” This is also used to illustrate the biblical theme that is running through the book as the word repent is used along with the use of allegory of the old testament in the bible.
The devil was said to watch through the eyes of the snake tempting eve to defy god by eating the forbidden fruit. Similarly the Monster takes on the role of the devil, watching through the eyes of the snake saying that he “may sting with his venom” implying that he will cause harm upon Victor, making him feel the pain, isolation and sorrow that the monster already feels in loosing everything nearest and dearest to him. Frankenstein then draws an analogy between the monster and the snake watching hrough the eyes of the devil by telling him not to “poison the air with these sounds of malice. ” Poison and malice are both imagery of the Gothic genre used to describe Frankenstein’s unnatural creation. Irony is detected in the line “ I am no coward to bend beneath words” As we are aware that victor is cowardly in that he does not commit to full responsibility of the monster he has created and abandons it through realisation and disappointment of his own creation. We are also aware that he is too cowardly to admit to responsibility of the monster whose actions result in Justine’s death.
We later become aware that Walter sets out to revenge the monster, however does not commit to his word “I swear to persue the Daemon” (p. 171) by later asking Walter to undertake his work. (p. 185) The monster then speaks of his plans to seek ultimate revenge on Frankenstein with the peripetaiea “Remember, I will be with you on your wedding-night” giving the reader a sense that things will somehow go wrong for Frankenstein on this special occasion, and the feeling that he will seek revenge on Frankenstein by killing Elizabeth who is to become his wife.
It can be said that the monster who later kills Elizabeth is only doing to Frankenstein what Frankenstein has already done to him, by the destruction of his female companion. It is by killing Elizabeth that the monster hopes to install the feelings of isolation that are already felt by the Monster. However Frankenstein who is his blinded by his own egotism and solipsistic nature believe that the monster is planning to kill him, and fails to protect Elizabeth from her death.