Surely, a monster does not speak that eloquently? – Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

The dreaded number

I always thought of Frankenstein as a green-skinned monster with giant screws at his temples. This is what I gather from video games. So it baffles me why my edition shows the image of a fair man standing on a mountain peak and gazing at the nearby mountains covered in mist.

That’s because Frankenstein is not a monster. Not the monster. Frankenstein is a nerd who is so excellent at the various sciences that he was able to bring life to nonliving matter. He was so bent on this project that he spent two years in pursuing it. But lo, he created not a man but a monster, the monster, which he immediately ran from right after the daemon, as he called it later, first blinked his eyes. He let it live on its own.

This will have its consequences, and upon their first meeting after the daemon’s creation, probably two to four years later, I was surprised to hear the daemon talking in such a manner:

But where were my friends and relations? No father had watched my infant days, no mother had blessed me with smiles and caresses; or if they had, all my past life was now a blot, a blind vacancy in which I distinguished nothing. From my earliest remembrance I had been as I then was in height and proportion. I had never yet seen a being resembling me, or who claimed any intercourse with me. What was I? The question again recurred, to be answered only with groans.

One of my bookish friends speculated that his brain must have come from a scholar, which I insisted was not entirely the case since the daemon is the sum of the scraps that Frankenstein collected from God knows where. At the middle part, the daemon tells his creator the story of his learning about the world through the wonderful cottagers that he observed without their knowing. A beautiful, heart-smashing tale, if you ask me, and I ended up sympathizing with this daemon more than Frankenstein.

Furthermore, I don’t think this novel, at this time, can be considered scary. The first intention of the writer is to write a ghost story, but it did not end up being that scary. I think one proof of it is that the daemon is only described as big and ugly and hideous. No further details. Is that scary? Also, no gory acts. How can that be scary? Or am I too numb to feel scared?

Since the daemon is all alone, he demands that his creator create him a mate with whom he could share his wretched life. It’s actually a threat because the daemon swears that he will make his creator’s life miserable if he doesn’t submit to his request.

As a creator and a god in some way, what will Frankenstein do? There’s a lot at stake here. First, will his conscience allow him to create another monster that will threaten the society? Second, will this guarantee that the daemon will no longer bug him? Third, will this be a happily ever after for everyone?

So there’s one lesson that Frankenstein learns with his ambitious project. It’s also a lesson that the daemon learns with his observation of that happy family. It is that too much knowledge is too dangerous.

Date Started: May 3, 2012. 8:30 PM. Book #24 of 2012.

The Classics Challenge: Book #04 of 75.

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7 thoughts on “Surely, a monster does not speak that eloquently? – Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

  1. In a lot of ways, Frankenstein is very tame on the horror front, as you noted. It seemed to me to be much more about inspiration/creation, the problem of being an artist/creator. That is to say, more about the “monstrous idea” than the physical monstrosity.

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  2. No, it’s not scary at all; it’s achingly sad. It broke my heart the first time I read it decades ago as a teenager, and it did again when I read it last year.

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