Tag Archives: Creature

The Criminal Brain

At the Frankenstein Exhibit in the Old Capital Mall, There was a section discussing the brain of the creature. It stated, “In her novel, Mary Shelley’s monster turns to violence after he is abandoned by his creator and rejected by human society. In the 1931 film, Frankenstein, the monster is violent because he has received the brain of a criminal instead of the brain of a distinguished scientist. During the first part of the twentieth century, researchers looked for physical markers of criminality in the brain and other parts of the body.”

Could this have happened in the Frankenstein novel? Mary Shelley left a great deal of mystery surrounding the creature. It could be possible that she had developed a theory that the creature was given a brain from a criminal, but it is unlikely. This aspect was not mentioned to have crossed the mind of Victor Frankenstein. As I have blogged about before, the creature had no previous memories from his past life. I do not think that the hypothesis of the creature being given a criminal brain was the cause for his rage and violence. I think it was because the creature was left on his on to fend for himself and he developed the bad qualities from the way people had treated him. They made it seem as if violence was ok. Also, when the creature was first created, he did not try to harm Victor or anyone else. When he killed Victors brother it was because of the way he was treated by Victor, not because he felt the need to kill. I think it is an interesting idea presented by the movie, but overall not true because the creatures dangers personality was created just as he was.

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Victor Deserves Some Credit

Frankenstein takes place in the 1700’s, which was a very long time ago. Those times were very different from what we live in today. So much has changed such as are transportation, are media, and especially our medical technology. I think it is a great accomplishment that Victor brought life back to the dead. However, all of that aside, the fact that Victor built the creature is very impressive. Medical knowledge in the 1700’s was not good by any means. I really think that Victor needed more credit on the fact that he assembled a body the way he did. The creature had veins, arteries, and ligaments that allowed him to move. It is one thing to bring the life to the dead, but to do it to a fully functioning body that you built is even more impressive. The creature obviously had good blood flow to his brain, he also had great ligaments if he could “descend the mountain with greater speed than the flight of an eagle.” Victor was not given enough credit to his great accomplishment. When reading Frankenstein, I was almost as impressed with his ability to make the creature in the 1700’s as his ability to give it life. Building a body like this would be very hard and time consuming even with todays technology, assuming it would even work. Everything would have to be perfect. I do not think that Mary Shelley gave Victor the proper salutations on his creation.

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The Brain of the Creature

One of the things I was wondering when I was reading Frankenstein has to do with the brain of the creature. To my understanding, Victor assembled the creature using body parts from dead people. What I do not understand in the book is the fact that the creature had to learn how to speak, read, and write. He was comparable to an infant when it came to knowledge at the time of his creation. Mary Shelley did not clarify anything about the creatures brain. I would think that they brain could have potentially had all of its memories from the former “owner” of it. I do find it very interesting that Mary Shelley decided to do book this way. I think she chose to write Frankenstein in this manner because it allowed her to produce a hidden message about how society can corrupt someone. The creature did not know better and since he did not have a specific person teaching him what was right or wrong he had to learn on his own and what he learned is that the world can be a cruel place to live in. A simple solution to avoid the confusion of the creature having to learn everything compared to why he didn’t have any memories would be to simply say that Victor used the brain of an infant, that way he could teach it in the way that he wanted to teach it. He wouldn’t have to worry about it being a dangerous person.

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Victor’s Self Destruction

Today in class I came to the realization that Victor had very self destructive behavior throughout the novel, especially after the creation of the creature.  I feel his behavior is self destructive because all of his problems are self-inflicted.  Early on in the novel Victor was driven by a thirst for knowledge and while this drive led him to advance far beyond his peers it also became his own undoing.  Later on in the novel he could have confessed his creation and taken many paths that would have led to a happy existence.   Instead he subjected himself to psychological torment almost as a form of self-punishment for his horrid creation.  I want to break down different forms/aspects of self punishment and how they relate to Victor.

Self destructive behavior may be used as a coping mechanism.  This directly applies to Victor as when he first sees his creation he flees and then becomes ill.  I found it odd that whenever Victor had any stress he would get sick for months at a time.  I see that as psychological because he is wanting to avoid or push away the idea of dealing with the creature for as long as possible.  Self destructive behavior may be an attempt to drive others away.  I have always felt that Victor has had a weird relationship with others and even feel he may be a schizoid.  The creature may have been an attempt to create someone who he could feel a connection to.  His odd behavior after the he created the creature should have driven those close to him away.  He may have been doing this because he felt that he didn’t deserve companionship.  Victor may have self sabotaged his achievement, a trait of self destructive behavior, because he may have felt unworthy of such a revolutionary act.

Self destructive behavior can be derived from clinical depression and these patterns may have been learned earlier in life.  Victor had sort of a mopey attitude and in present time would have been seen as depressed due to his behavior.  I also think that losing his mother at a young age could have somehow attributed to his behavior.  Do you think this painful episode in his life would have effected the way Victor handled this situation?

I’m not sure whether Mary had been trying to portray him as self destructive, but I think that novel is definitely about his spiral downwards.

Here are some articles that mention self destruction in the novel

Self-discovery, Destruction, and Preservation in Frankenstein

Does Knowledge Lead to Self Destruction

The Reflecting Glass

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What IS the “being”?

The in class discussion today sparked my interest in what the creature actually is? Shelley uses multiple words to describe Victor’s creation; creature, monster, wretch, demon, and fiend are all used many times in the text. Although creature stands out in the reading because it is used the most, I found that I personally relate him to the word “wretch”. One of the Oxford Dictionary definitions of wretch is as follows:

“One who is sunk in deep distress, sorrow, misfortune, or poverty; a miserable, unhappy, or unfortunate person; a poor or hapless being”

Another definition described a wretch as a despicable person. Although, they both relate to the reading very well, I liked the definition above becasue it adds a sense of emotion to the being. I think the other words (creature, monster, demon) don’t give “him” the human like features of having emotions and feelings. I think he has more layers to him than a typical monster does. He expresses feeling and emotions in the text. One key example of this is when he walks into a village and the people are so taken aback by his appearance that he goes into hiding for what seems like years. He is so self-concious about how he looks and I think this emotion gives him more depth than what we would consider a monster.

I do consider wretch to be the best word that describes Victor’s creation, however, I think Shelley correctly uses all the words to describe him. She wanted to create a fictional character in which the reader would have different reactions to depending on the situation in the story line. Based on the time of the book, Shelley uses a different word for the being to create a specific reaction from the reader. When he murders, he is a demon; when he is laughed at, he is a wretch. This is how I have interpreted the reading.. What do you guys think?

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Frankenstein’s pursuit of happiness

In Volume II in this novel the creature confronts Victor on a desolate mountain in a last ditch attempt to plead his case for the need of a companion.  The creature retells the struggles he has endured since originally being brought to life such as the horror he has been met with by unsuspecting villagers.  In addition to the struggles he edured he also relays his discovery of a family in the country side and through intent observation had taught himself how to speak and write.  Most importantly however through his observation of this family he began to develop a sense of compassion and began to yearn for companionship. Victor realizing his debt to the creature and feeling partially responsible for the miserable life he had left him too agrees to this request.

Is Victor right in agreeing to solve the problem at hand by creating another creature of similar strength and grotesque appearance?  In my opinion I found it arrogant for Victor to believe that all problems can be wiped under the rug by providing a companion for the creature to live with.  Victor doesn’t take the time to consider any possible consequences of this action instead he looks at the situation with tunnel vision and decides that if he creates a companion he and his families hardships will end and therefore should comply.  What if the creatures are capable of mating? What if they grow tiresome of living in a desolate area and head back to civilization and once again begin to wreak havoc.  This lack of thought about consequences by Victor is the exact thought process that created his original problems.


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