My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I have just finished reading Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and in lieu of a review, I would like to take this moment to say a few things to its main character, Victor Frankenstein.
I fear there is no polite way to say this but you, sir, are an idiot. An idiot, I say! Let’s set aside the obvious moral of your story – that messing around with the laws of God and Nature almost always leads to trouble – and let’s skip over the stunning display of hubris you showed in even making the attempt. (What? Weren’t Greek classics covered in your fancy university?) I don’t feel the need to dwell on these issues because even you got the hint eventually. However, I would like to point out the many, many ways much of the resulting unpleasantness could have been avoided if you had shown even the slightest bit of common sense or the tiniest shred of moral substance or personal responsibility.
First of all, in all the time that you were attempting to create your creature, did you ever think of what were you planning on doing with it after you were done? Most likely, you never thought that far. Proactivity and recognizing the probable consequences of your actions just doesn’t seem to be your strong suit. But really, this does seem to be a rather glaring indication that you were headed for trouble. The whole thing strikes me as rather shortsighted and irresponsible, much like people who get their kids a bunny for Easter but get tired of taking care of it by Memorial Day.
Then, once the monster had been created, you come down with a serious case of mad scientist’s remorse. Why? Not because of anything the creature did or any indication that it would be dangerous (other than its size, which really you should have noticed before this point) – just because it was ugly. And then when it runs off, you just go about your life like nothing ever happened! I can’t believe that you didn’t look for it, or try to do anything to clean up the mess you made. I mean, there are only a couple of ways this situation can go:
A) the thing is dangerous and now, thanks to you, it is wandering around where it can hurt someone,
B) the thing doesn’t actively mean anyone harm and now, thanks to you, it is wandering around homeless and alone and without the basic social or vocational skills to make any sort of decent life for itself.
C) both of the above.
Still, no matter which of those scenarios were true, ignoring the problem is just selfish, irresponsible, stupid, and downright cruel! This is why your 8 foot tall abomination of nature with a tendency to strangle people and frame others for the crime comes across as more likable and sympathetic than you do.
This book is subtitled “The Modern Prometheus” but you are nothing like Prometheus. In the myth, Prometheus steals fire for mankind because he takes pity on them and wants them to be able to take care of themselves. If you had taken pity on your creation and given it the means to make a place for itself, things would not have gotten as out of control as they did.
Prometheus also bore the punishment for his crime and didn’t mope and brood while the consequences of his actions landed on his brother, friend, and wife. Maybe it’s because I am a girl and I grew up reading Beauty and the Beast but if it were me and the monster was demanding someone to keep him company or he would strike out at my family, it would occur to me to actually be that someone. I mean, I know he was asking you to make him a wife but he had just finished telling you about how he tried to befriend a family and how he originally grabbed your brother in the hopes that he could make a companion out a child who hadn’t been taught to fear him yet. So obviously, he was just looking for someone, not necessarily a mate and it would have been a very appropriate penance for you to fulfill that role. You may even have come to enjoy it. I mean, far from being the inarticulate brutish creature that we see in the monster movies (what smear campaign was that!) your creation was smart, reasoned, and articulate. Anyone who learns to read using Paradise Lost and then references it during an argument to make his point, may turn out to be an interesting person to know.
But no, you would rather rant and rail and mope and brood and basically make Prince Hamlet look like an emotionally healthy and decisive person in comparison to you. I guess what I am trying to say is that we may refer to your creation as Frankenstein’s monster but in my opinion, your stunning display of selfishness, irresponsibility, and total lack of compassion makes you the true monster of this story.