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Frankenstein's Revenge Theme in Novel

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Before delving into the omnipresent theme of monstrosity in Frankenstein, it is crucial to appreciate the true meaning of the word. When thinking of the word “monster,” one may picture a repulsive three-eyed creature hiding under a bed, or perhaps a gigantic being covered in fur, that lurks in the snowy mountains. Of course, when thinking of this word “monster,” most people will likely refer to supernatural beings, or a biological occurrence that does not transpire with the natural order. However, a monster could simply be an inhumanly cruel, or wicked person. Not only that, but it can simply be a state, or fact of pure monstrosity. Frankenstein revenge theme is revealed in detail in the novel.

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Victor’s acts of selfishness and cruelty caused him to become the true monster in Frankenstein. To be fair, if the term “monster” is going to be thrown around, Victor must also be labelled as one. He expresses the characteristics that make a monster. Not only does he have no compassion for others, but he turns his back on a helpless creature who needs him. Victor is immediately hostile towards the creature once it comes to life, however the creature has yet to earn such hatred. He has an unnatural obsession with being like God. Victor believes that “a new species would bless me as its creator and source; many happy and excellent natures would owe their being to me. I might in process of time renew life where death had apparently devoted the body to corruption”. Victor devalued his creation’s life for personal gain, which inevitably led to his own great personal suffering and the aching of those close to him. Besides his obsession with creating new life, Victor is a lonely person. He only has one friend, Henry Cherval, as it seems he has a hard time creating, and maintaining relations with others. Victor marries his step-sister/cousin, Elizabeth, yet his relationship with her seems to be one based on his possession of her rather than one of great feelings or love, for Victor envisions that “was to be mine only’. One of Victor’s greatest flaws is the fact that he never takes into account the consequences of his own actions. Victor shows monstrous characteristics, and the lack of compassion he has for his creature is what initiated the long quest of revenge between the two of them.

Frankenstein’s creature is the product of evil, rather than the creation of evil. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is the story of an unusual act of creation, of a monster which torments his miserable creature. Shelley strongly grasps the idea that mankind is capable of both tenderness and hostility. She displays the ‘humanity’ of the creature; his actions and his nature are like those of mankind. Considering this, if the creature’s evil is amplified by the injustice brought upon him, perhaps he isn’t the real monster in this story. He is instead the mere product of wickedness. When the creature spends time observing a human family, this provides Shelley with the chance to showcase the true nature of mankind. The positive nature is captured by the actions of the two young cottagers, who “several times… placed food before the old man when they reserved none for themselves”. Their actions demonstrate a human’s capacity for compassion, and selflessness. When the creature reflects on their actions, saying that, “this trait of kindness moved me sensibly”. It is shown that he identifies with expressing kindness in a positive way, rather than being on a mission for destruction. Not only does the creature admire the kindness, but he also goes to show his own. He sees that the cottagers are often left hungry, and with little to eat, so the creature makes it a point to stop eating their food. Among this, he takes the family’s tools to cut wood for them. These small actions are done in high hopes of helping the family. The creature has the desire to help, and please. He says himself “that it might be in my power to restore happiness to these deserving people”. Contrary to being a purely evil and cruel being built for misery, Frankenstein’s creature proves to be a selfless being who wants to bring joy. When it comes to the thought of revealing himself to them, he does not think that the cottagers could turn away someone who “solicited their compassion and friendship”. He hopes for the good in mankind to look past his differences, and ultimately accept him. Unfortunately, when he finally reveals himself to the family, they quickly reject and attack him. A “fatal prejudice clouds their eyes”. The creature desires companionship, and his misery is derived from his loneliness. He says that he “admired virtue and good feelings and loved the gentle manners and amiable qualities of my cottagers, but I was shut out from intercourse with them”. The cruelty he endures is what enhances the negative aspects of his own nature. He vows “ever-lasting war against the species” and that his “sufferings were augmented also by the oppressive sense of the injustice and ingratitude of their infliction. My daily vows rose for revenge – a deep and deadly revenge, such as would alone compensate for the outrages and anguish I had endured”. The need for revenge is what causes him to commit such brutal acts of murder and torment his creator, Frankenstein. Interestingly, Both Frankenstein and his creature are initially of good nature. They both become driven by revenge, which in turns brings out their immensely dark attributes. The monster of revenge itself makes its place within them both.

This thirst for revenge is triggered by the evils brought upon them both, such as isolation, and misery. Just as the case with his creator, the creature is only motivated to be evil after enduring such mass amounts of it. Perhaps this then makes the true monster in the story the very thing which provokes that evil in the first place: revenge. Nonetheless, Frankenstein’s creature is a product of evil, and quickly reveals the monstrous traits within him. Most of these traits could be tame, rather than so evident, had he been shown the necessary love in the beginning of his life.

Throughout the entirety of the novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, the theme of revenge is expressed as we see the Monster and Frankenstein struggle with the harsh reality of their situations. The plain idea of revenge is the true monster in Frankenstein. Early in the story, after being created, the creature seeks revenge on his creator for making him physically hideous and for having neglected him while he was vulnerable. Taking a deeper look at the word “revenge,” the goal of it is not just to punish someone, but rather to hurt someone, to repay them for the pain they caused. Thus, the monster’s motivation is selfish, as revenge is what he desires. The creature is sent down the slippery slope toward committing injustice himself, as his emotional desire for revenge causes him to repay evil with evil. A series of murders against Victor’s family and friends initiates, as the creature feels rejected and betrayed by him. The creature therefore feels he has the right to hurt Victor. On the other side of this, Victor’s motivation for seeking to kill the monster is the same as the monster’s quest to annihilate Victor’s family: revenge.

While the monster seeks revenge against the rejection of his creator, Victor feels compelled to impose revenge against the monster as a result of his own role in the deaths of his loved ones. Victor creates the monster who kills them. Therefore, he cries, “I was seized by remorse and the sense of guilt” regarding the murders. Not only does he feel responsible for their deaths, but he is also compelled to bring justice to the one who physically committed the crimes.

Thus, Victor thinks it is acceptable for him to kill the monster. Interestingly enough, as each character inflicts harm on the other, each becomes more hurt and isolated. This proves that revenge is what causes the most harm in Frankenstein, and motivates both Victor and his creature to say and do monstrous things.

There are many monsters in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, some more evident than others. The novel looks at both monstrosity, and humanity, in a deeply analytical way. While a monster may be typically considered a giant, gruesome being with deformities and an agenda to kill, a monster could just be a selfish, wicked human. True monsters lack compassion, and willingly destroy the hearts of others. Throughout the story, as each character continues to inflict harm on the other, they each become more isolated and hurt. This proves that in the end, Victor Frankenstein, his creature, and the monstrous theme of revenge itself are all the true monsters in this story.                         

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