Monsters are creatures that everyone is told that lurks in the darkness of the night. They are hideous, grotesque creatures and would kill you as soon as they look at you. It is something inhuman that has no regard for life, life, and anything good in the world. Mary Shelly brought to life a monster in her novel Frankenstein. She lures the audience into believing that the monster Victor Frankenstein created is the true horror of the novel. However, if one were to examine the deeds of Victor Frankenstein he would take the honor of being the real monster of the story despite looking and speaking like a dignified human being. Victor Frankenstein is the true monster of the novel simply because of his actions throughout the story. His selfishness, hostility, and inability to take the blame lead to many people dying at the hands of his creation. Not only that, but he abandoned his creature in a new and unknown world to it after seeing what he had made. This essay will examine the reasons why Victor is the monster of the novel and not Frankenstein.
One reason as to why Victor is a monster is that he let his pride, and successful career, hold him back from telling the authorities about the death of a young girl. Upon hearing about her death, Victor knew that it was his creation that has caused her to die:
“Justine also was a girl of merit, and possessed qualities which promised to render her life happy: now all was to be obliterated in an ignominious grave; and I the cause! A thousand times rather would I have confessed myself guilty of the crime ascribed to Justine; but I was absent when it was committed, and such a declaration would have been considered as the ravings of a madman, and would not have exculpated her who suffered through me” (Shelley).
This quote shows that Victor was aware that his creation was out murdering people and innocent people were taking the blame for it. His cowardice kept him from speaking the truth, and to preserve his ego and status he chose to withhold other vital information to the other murders. He stated that people would have called him a madman if he told the truth, which points to them not believing him. However, Victor could have easily shown them the lab and the creature as proof. Although, Frankenstein murdered people Victor was the monster for covering up for it to protect himself which points back at him working to only fulfill his selfish ambitions.
Victor’s hostility and abandonment towards the creature is what also makes him a monster. Upon first seeing the creature, he was filled with rage and wanted nothing more than to kill it.
“My rage was without bounds; I sprang on him, impelled by all the feelings which can arm one being against the existence of another” (Shelley).
The creature is new to this world and the first thing that Victor shows it is hatred and pain. This scene can be attributed to the fact that Frankenstein went out to kill people because that was the first thing Victor inadvertently taught it. Victor also abandoned the creature which caused it to have to fend for himself.
“Begone! I do break my promise; never will I create another like yourself, equal in deformity and wickedness” (Shelley).
That one action is what really makes Victor the monster as he releases a creature onto society. He could have taught the creature what it was like to be human, or at least provide for him so he doesn’t have to wander the streets at night. However, Victor’s anger at the creation he has made caused him to drive the monster onto unsuspecting victims in the city. Victor’s abandonment and hostility towards the creature caused it to take its confusion and anger out on people, thus making Victor the murderer as well.
Although Frankenstein is a grotesque creature of science and pride, his creator, Victor, is the real monster. Victor’s pride withheld him from telling the truth about who was committing the murders in the town. This lead to a lot of people being falsely accused and dying because of him wanting to protect himself. Not only does his selfishness cause people to die, but he was the one who set the monster onto the towns’ people. The first thing he taught the creature was hatred and hostility in the new world it was brought into, therefore leaving that as the only thing it knows about humans. Not only that, but he abandoned it in the city as well which lead to it having to figure out things on its own. Victor Frankenstein is the true monster in Mary Shelley’s novel due to his actions and misdeeds.
Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein (1831) Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998