The main focus in this story is the decision as to whether Frankenstein’s creation is a creature or a monster. Mary Shelley’s use of language gives the reader contrasting feelings of hatred and sympathy throughout the novel. When the creature is first created the setting is presented as ‘a dreary night of November.’ The weather is an indicator of what is going to happen. Bleak, dark dreary and cold as it is November. This is much like what the creature’s heart turns out to be.
You feel a lot sympathy towards the creature when he is created; Frankenstein describes him as a ‘catastrophe’ and Shelley emphasises how disappointed he was at his creation. It is significant that he’d chosen all these body parts that he thought were beautiful but in realising his dream they turn out to be repulsive looking. Shelley is trying to show that it’s a person as a whole that’s beautiful, not individual parts. They need to build up their personality and depth to their person over time and need to grow and learn, not just be made as an adult. Frankenstein doesn’t allow the creature to do this; he doesn’t even listen to him.
Frankenstein ‘worked hard for two years for the sole purpose’ of infusing life into his creation. It is ironic that in order to bring this new being to life, Frankenstein had to stop is. Frankenstein’s heart was filled with ‘breathless horror and disgust.’ This was probably passed onto the creature. If he saw Frankenstein showing disgust towards him then the creature would probably feel disgusting and worthless and this isn’t a very strong basis for a good life. The creature’s life started off with regret at him being born but also ended with regret after what he’d done.
A modern reader would know that research shows that children who neglected have a strong possibility of becoming a dysfunctional adult. Frankenstein uses lots of contrasting images of love and death ‘kiss on her lips became lived with the hue of death.’ This is an indication that what was supposed to be beautiful turned out evil. It is significant that the creature looks at Frankenstein with a grin wrinkled on his cheeks; because the creature is smiling at what he thinks of as his father. Frankenstein refers to it as the ‘daemonical corpse’ and the creature would have felt alone, rejected and probably very resentful towards Frankenstein.
Frankenstein’s pulse beat so quickly and hard that he felt the palpitation of every artery. It’s as if he was feeling his own blood and his creation’s blood flowing through his veins, always reminding him of what he’s done. Shelley presents the creation as a creature at this point; as vulnerable as a new born child. We feel very sorry for him because he’s been rejected. At this point Frankenstein appears to be the monster because he is being callous turning his back on his responsibility. After Williams murder Frankenstein refers to William as a ‘dear angel.’ This is ironic that Frankenstein who has tried to play God refers to his brother as an angel. Then the light ‘illuminated’ the creation. We associate illumination with angels being lit so Shelley makes the reader think of who really is the angel?
The words used make the creature seem like a monster at this point. She says ‘it stole’ out of ‘the gloom’ with its ‘gigantic statue’. This makes the creature seem monstrous because he’s murdered William and the words in this section all have a semantic field of darkness and fear. Frankenstein says he thought the creature murdered William and ‘no sooner did that idea cross my imagination than I became convinced it was true.’ This statement is generally what the whole book is about. The creature is being accused of something before anyone has actually got any proof, just because of the way he looks.
This is relevant to society today because we automatically associate certain people with certain things that happen. We generally assume working class people will have performed petty crimes compared to upper class people. Shelley made Frankenstein refer to the creature as the ‘devil’. This is a sharp contrast to calling William an angel. Shelley makes a reference to good and evil and makes it seem simple, but explores the idea that life isn’t really as simple, but explores the idea that life isn’t really as simple as this. Frankenstein says he has been trying to forget what he created. Shelley makes this Frankenstein’s fault so I’ve begin to feel sorry for creature because he didn’t bring this on himself; he never asked to be created.