The Mirror's Reflection Essay

1170 words - 5 pages

Within Frankenstein is a world divided between the egotistical ideas of a mad man and the monster that is created through his insanity: in Lacanian terms, between the Symbolic and the Imaginary Orders. According to Lacan, “the Imaginary [is a] field of images and imagination, and deception” ( ); Victor’s imagination being reflected solely on the monster that is created by his own guilty hands. To Victor, his creation reflects the idea and ego that cultivate through him, it is the spark that takes the ordinary and turns him into the “alienated.”
While Victor imagines himself to be a part of society, he soon comes to realize how his work has instead done the opposite, sheltering him completely. “I shunned my fellow creatures as if I had been guilty of a crime (Shelley 60). By alienating himself, Victor is then able to feed his ego with only his thoughts, gradually building it (as he does his monster), until the mind is practically drowned out by the self. “A new species would bless me as its creator and source; many happy and excellent natures would owe their being to me” (Shelley 58). By grasping firmly to the idea of playing God, Victor lets his imagination, his deception free him into believing that the dead could inevitably be brought back to life without repercussions. With this he loses all moral graces and overlooks the rationality of his actions. The task overtakes him and gains enough control to have Frankenstein go the depths of grave-robbing.
Of course this intention is fueled by the death of his mother, the representation taking on a meaning that comes to symbolize an awakening of the dead, a new beginning, and an immortality that in reality can never be given without a price. With Lacan in mind one could say the “Real” in the story is brought to life the moment Victor sees his awakened abomination for the first time. “Oh! No mortal could support the horror of that countenance…I had gazed on him while unfinished; he was ugly then; but when the muscles and joints were rendered capable of motion, it became a thing such as even Dante could not have conceived” (Shelley 61). The beauty that was once imagined in this reincarnation is now washed away with the complete burden of reality—Victor has made a monster. No longer can Victor be satisfied, for the true daunting reality of his actions is now staring literally back at him. It is in this moment that Victor’s fear reveals his new lack of control for the creature—the monster has a mind of its own.
Lacan justifies that Victor’s lack of fear for the monster (when unfinished) is natural because Victor neglects to see the separation between them. When under construction, Victor sees the monster as a continuation of himself, somewhat like a mother would when pregnant with child. Never does the mother in pregnancy see her child as a separate entity for the child itself cannot physically be separated from the mother. It is not until she gives birth that the concept is...

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