Mary Shelley started to write “Frankenstein” in 1816 when the idea to write it came to mind when her husband Lord Byron, Polidori and herself were reading ghost stories on a rainy day, Lord Byron, was the one who said ‘We will each write a story’. They all thought of one except Mary. She wanted to make one which would “dread the reader to look round”, and to “curdle the blood and quicken the beatings of the heart”. She was asked and asked if she’d thought of a story, but the answer was always negative.
When Shelley went to bed one night she had a terrible nightmare of a ‘Pale student and a ‘Hideous phantasm’ and saw someone working on something with ‘Signs of life’. This nightmare gave her a story, one that would make the readers blood curdle, it started with the words ‘It started on a dreary night of November’ – and became “Frankenstein”. A modern reader’s expectations of a horror story are; that they have to be gruesome, twistful and has to have monsters, strange characters, blood, and of course a storyline.
The modern expectations of a monster are that they have to be strong, ugly, dead, gory, evil, and huge. But the monster in ‘Frankenstein’ is different to these expectations because the monster in the story is capable of feeling human emotions, it has the potential to be good and help people, it can also speak, feel, read, and fend for itself. It wants acceptance, love and companionship. The main plot of ‘Frankenstein’ is that Victor Frankenstein creates a monster with dead corpses body parts and electricity and then he abandons it.
The monster seeks revenge by killing Victors Dad, Elizabeth, Henry Clerval, and frames Justine for the killing of young Willy, which results in her death as well. It ends with the death of both Victor and the Monster. In the 1700’s scientific progresses were Concerned with using electricity to make things move. In 1802 Galvani wanted to use electricity to make a frogs legs move. And also in 1803 Aldini attached a battery to a corpse of a criminal and the body began to move and twitch and an eye opened along with the legs, which set in motion.
Now we are in the 21st century we can do more with science than in the 1700’s, We can transplant hearts, livers, kidneys and lungs; pig’s valves can be put into human hearts. Moreover you can have plastic or steel hips and shoulders, skin can also be grown in laboratories, there is now artificial blood and limbs can be amputated, cut of, sewn on, and you can even have a new leg that is mechanical. If a twenty-first century person read ‘Frankenstein’ they might think its a Murder story not a horror story because in our modern day’s society we get much more scarier films and books with more imaginative creatures in it.
But if someone from the same era as the book read it they would find it fascinating, intriguing and horrific because they were uneducated about the possibilities of electricity and scientific progresses. The book begins with Robert Walton writing a letter to his sister. The letter describes the first time he sees the monster. He uses the words ‘Strange sight’ which gives me the impression that he thought what he saw was strange and different and that he has never seen anything quite like it.
Also Walton describes the monster as a ‘gigantic stature’ which tells me that the monster is an abnormal size and that its huge and from there tells me that its powerful, and muscular. ‘A savage inhabitant, is what Robert writes to his sister, which gives the impression that the monster is uncivilised, wild and animal like. In chapter five when the monster first come to being, Victor Frankenstein describes him as having ‘yellow skin’ which makes a picture in my head that he is disgusting and dead-which he is I think this because well yellow skin is dead skin.
Also the book says the monster is like a ‘Demoniacal corpse’, which makes me, think he is evil, demon like, ugly and hideous – I think this because demoniacal is demon like, and demons are known to be described as this. Finally Victor describes it as ‘A miserable wretched monster’ which says to me that the thing is, sad, evil and distraught. My opinion of the monster is that it is very ugly from what the book says and very different. When Frankenstein meets the monster on the mountain the monster is described as a ‘Man advancing towards me with superhuman speed’.
This makes the monster seem supernatural, strong, fast and superhuman and therefore dangerous. Also the monster is described as ‘Its unearthly ugliness rendered it too horrible for human eyes’- which shows that the monster is too ugly for him to look at. The monster is made to seem evil by the way Victor refers to him as an evil being. He implies this by saying that the monster is a ‘devil’; the quote make the monster seen evil because devils are always seemed to be evil creatures.
There are things that the monster said to Victor to stop him killing him, they are ‘How dare you sport thus with life? , do your duty towards me’. I think this means that the monster is trying to make a point that – Victor shouldn’t play with life he can’t kill him at his disposal he has no right and he isn’t God. The monster then says ‘Victor has a duty like a father. Further more the monster describes his situation, he says, ‘everywhere I see bliss, from which I alone am irrevocably excluded’. What I think the monster is saying is that he is excluded from love, care, joy, and happiness.
Frankenstein’s response to this is ‘Be gone I will not hear you’. The monster at this point appears honest and willing to be good because he says ‘I was benevolent and good: misery made me a fiend. Make me happy and again I will be virtuous’. This is a contrast to how Victor portrays him as he isn’t totally evil. When the monster ran away he ran to the forest and found shelter, where he slept. He wakes in the night and cries because he is alone. The monsters eyes catch the moon and it enchants him.
Gradually after days and nights in the forest he starts to distinguish between his senses. He discovers the law of fire and cooks his food. He finds and enters a hut but the owner runs away and the monster eats his dinner. The monster has a love for nature and in real nature his love is the moon and stars they enchant him. But then he has a love for the nature of love, happiness, and family, as he watches one, one in a cottage. From this family he discovers language and learns their thoughts and feelings and understands what the family is saying.