In Frankenstein, Mary Shelley uses the motif of monstrosity to convey the theme that a person’s outward appearance is not what makes them a monster but rather their actions or inactions that classify true monstrosity. Despite the fact that the monster Victor Frankenstein creates is a literal example of monstrosity in the novel there are many parts that give meaning to monstrosity within character’s actions. Although Victor appears normal, since he is human his ambitions, secrets, selfishness, and inaction makes him a monster himself. Along with monstrous characters the pursuit of knowledge that is seen in Victor, his monster, and Walton in Frankenstein prove that knowledge can be a monstrosity. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is created using the life stories of different characters in the novel. The novel itself could be seen as a monster created similarly to Victor’s monster.
A monster is defined as an imaginary creature that is typically large, ugly, and frightening. By this definition, Victor’s creature who is depicted to be eight feet tall and hideous
“His yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath; his hair was of a lustrous black, and flowing; his teeth of a pearly whiteness; but these luxuriances only formed a more horrid contrast with his watery eyes, that seemed almost of the same color as the dun-white sockets in which they were set, his shriveled complexion and straight black lips,” would be classified as a monster.
However repugnant he was on the outside, when Frankenstein’s creature begins to tell his tale of sorrow and rejection the creature does not seem to be monstrous. Although rejected multiple times by the humans around him when he finds a family in poverty and “suffering the pangs of hunger” he helps them. “I often took his tools, the use of which I quickly discovered, and brought home firing sufficient for the consumption of several days.” This quote is important in showing Shelley’s theme because although a monster on the outside Victor’s creature proved to be a kind and caring fiend. Victor’s creature, like most humans, just wanted to be accepted by society and loved by something. The creatures need for acceptance and his will to learn made him more of a saint then a monster, until provoked.
Although on the outside he is a normal human accepted by society Victor Frankenstein is the true monster in Mary Shelley’s novel. Although the creature that Victor created was the one who committed the murders Victor was the creator making the deaths of his family and friends his fault. “I called myself the murderer of William, of Justine, and of Clerval.” Victor’s initial action of creating his creature is what made him the true monster in Frankenstein. “I had been the author of unalterable evils, and I lived in daily fear lest the...