Tag Archives: Victor Frankenstein

Hank Morgan vs. Victor Frankenstein

When I was reading Mark Twain’s book, I found a lot of similar characteristics between Hank Morgan and Victor Frankenstein. The beginning of chapter 10 does a good job of showing theses similarities.

“I was pretty well satisfied with what I had already accomplished. In various quiet nooks and corners I had the beginning of all sorts of industries under way. I was training a crowd of ignorant folks into experts.”

I thought Morgan resembled Victor in this chapter because he felt like he was creating the town to be his sort of “masterpiece”. In Frankenstein, Victor was obsessed with creating this creature and I think Morgan is also obsessed with the idea of an industrialized and modern town. Hank Morgan “invents” so many things trying to make King Arthur’s Court more efficient that the town has become his creation. I also feel like Hank Morgan is very ignorant and selfish which resembles my opinion of Victor Frankenstein. He creates many things that are beneficial to him, such as the patent and Victor wasn’t thinking about the dangers of creating a monster both seemingly selfish acts in the books. I am interested to see if later on in the novel Morgan becomes less ignorant and more understanding of the time period he is in. He seems not very understanding of the time period early on in the novel and I’m curious if he continues this or starts to realize how far developed the world he is used to compared to the one he is in now.

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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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Victor Frankenstein vs. Bruce Banner

The other day I pinned the cover of a graphic novel of a comic book about influenced by Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.  While looking at the cover I thought of how the monster is always depicted as being green.  My mind immediately wondered to the Hulk and I wondered if he was inspired by the monster.  I then thought of Bruce Banner who is the scientist who becomes the Hulk after an experiment gone array and thought it would be interesting to compare the two scientists.

By writing this I now wonder if Frankenstein could be a symbol for a different side of Victor, just as the Hulk is a different side of Bruce Banner.  Another  comparison is Jekyll and Hyde which I found out was written in 1886 and was likely influenced by Frankenstein.  I don’t really think the monster or the Hulk are evil, but just different and misunderstood.  (Maybe your opinion would be a good response in the comments.)

Victor and Bruce both are scientists pushing the boundaries of their respective fields.  While Victor is reanimating the dead, Bruce studies gamma radiation.  Victor is on a questionable pursuit and unpredictable pursuit.  I feel that if the results would have been different for Victor he would have been seen as a visionary, but because what he creates is an abomination he is thrust into the mad scientist category.  Bruce on the other hand is seen either testing bombs (which protect the greater good) or attempting to use gamma radiation in the medical field.  His attempts would be viewed as noble and the goals of his pursuits are evident.  We know Victor creates a monster and Bruce become the Hulk.  These two scientists with different pursuits and intentions are suddenly both cast into the mad scientist realm.  I find it interesting that if things would have gone differently for either they could have changed the world in a positive way and had much different futures.  Instead we remember them for their failures not their ambition.

I found this Stan Lee quote discussing the origin of the Hulk

“I combined Jekyll and Hyde with Frankenstein,” he explains, “and I got myself the monster I wanted, who was really good, but nobody knew it. He was also somebody who could change from a normal man into a monster, and lo, a legend was born.” Lee remembers, “I had always loved the old movie Frankenstein. And it seemed to me that the monster, played by Boris Karloff, wasn’t really a bad guy. He was the good guy. He didn’t want to hurt anybody. It’s just those idiots with torches kept running up and down the mountains, chasing him and getting him angry. And I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be fun to create a monster and make him the good guy?’

taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hulk_(comics)

  

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Victor: Irresponsible or Scared??

During class yesterday we talked about what Victor should have  done after he had created the monster.  Many of us had answers and opinions about this situation.  Some said Victor should have faced the problem head on.  Others said he should take the monster as a friend since they are alike.  I even thought if the monster is  truly nice like he is trying to portray himself as why doesn’t Victor make him part of his family.  He helped one family out why not let him help Victor’s family out.  After I got thinking about this question and coming up with solutions on my own, I thought to himself, “If I was in Victor’s position, would I do what we all think Victor should do?” If I was honest with myself the answer would be no.  Not right away anyway.  I’m sure many of us would run from the problem if we were faced with it.  After that thought crossed my mind another one did.  Why did Mary Shelley include this type of character in her story?  A irresponsible, coward who’s afraid to deal with his problems.  Maybe Shelley was writing about what was going on around her.

I think this type of character is in the  story because this is the type of people Shelley saw around her.  If she looked out her windows or talked with a neighbor all she heard was people running from their problems.  I’m guessing she didn’t like the thought of people running from their problems, so she put it in her  writing like most writers do with their feelings.  I also think since Shelley was very smart and before her time, she put it in her book so maybe the people who would read it and read it closely would get a message from it.  The message that problems don’t go away on their own.

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Sympathy: Victor or the monster?

Yesterday in class we talked a lot about who we sympathize for. The debate on whether we should feel bad or Victor and the monster seemed somewhat divided. Personally throughout the whole novel I have felt sympathy for both characters. The more I read though, the less I felt for Victor’s predicament. Victor is a man who, as we have discussed in length, does not take responsibility for his actions. He is put in a position to help/train the monster and instead runs away like a coward.
On the other hand the monster is born into a world that is not accepting of him. He is a blank state and learns his hatred for mankind through his personal experiences. As he describes, “The feelings of kindness and gentleness which I had entertained but a few moments before, gave place to hellish rage and gnashing of teeth” (166). This was the last encounters between him and humans before he met with Victor. He saved a little girl from drowning and in return, a man shot him out of fright due to the monster’s appearance. This is just one of many moments that defined how the monster felt about humanity.
For this I feel sympathy, because all he wants to do his fit in. He has the same wants and needs as any human, and he can’t fulfill any of them. In regards to him killing and framing…I feel like he didn’t know the aftermath of what killing a person means. But also, he knew right from wrong, and I feel like he could have controlled his emotions better.
I am pretty conflicted on who to feel bad for, but I lean more towards the monster than Victor. What are your opinions about who you feel bad for?

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Victor’s Responsibility

In class we discussed whether Victor Frankenstein should be held responsible for his creation’s malice behavior or if he was destined to be this way.  During the Romantics period they believed that all were born good and then were eventually corrupted by society and their soundings.  I believe this to be true in the case of this story; the creature only turned evil due to a reaction of the hostility he recieved from villagers due to his gruesome appearance.  After being denied time and time again he realized the safest place for him was to hide in the trees and travel by night.  This eventually drove him to threaten Victor by saying if a companion was not created for him he would tear Victor’s family apart piece by piece until he was just as miserable as him.  Thus reenforcing the beliefs of the Romantics during this time period.

A lingering question in regards to Victor’s responsibility is not only did Victor abandon what he deemed to be a horrible mistake when first bringing his creation to life but he continues to avoid the problem.  When confronted on the mountain by his creation he continually screams at him to begone rather than try to destroy this monster.  Only after much persuasion does Victor agree to go with him to his hut and hear him out.  In my opinion Victor is horrified of what he created but he is unwilling to take responsibility for him as well as the deaths that he has indirectly been responsible for.  Victor seems to prefer to pity himself rather than work to make things right.

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The Relationship Between Intelligence and Social Skills

Today when we were talking about Victor’s inability to communicate his feelings to others it made me think of how intelligent people are often portrayed in popular culture.  Hyper-intelligent characters are often displayed as socially awkward or inept individuals.  I think this is because they are considered preoccupied with their intellectual pursuits and let relationships fall by the wayside.  Victor had no contact didn’t see his family for an extended period of time because he was seeking knowledge and this may have hindered his ability to communicate his feelings.  While he is not socially awkward I think his lack of human interaction has altered his social skills and in a way I see him as inspiration for how we see intelligent characters portrayed.

When I first starting thinking about what shows Victor could have inspired I immediately though of The Big Bang Theory.  I haven’t seen much of the show but the premise is based around extremely intelligent men who have trouble in social situations.  They, like Victor, focus on their challenging and time consuming careers.  In our culture we believe these individuals must have no social skills because of their intelligence and while this may sometimes be the case it is amplified for entertainment value.  House is another show based around an individual who can solve medical mysteries with ease but finds it more challenging to interact with others, especially those not as intelligent as himself.

I’m not saying Victor is as awkward or socially inept as these characters, but he does seem to have some social deficiencies.  I feel that this character could have been one of the earliest portrayals of the relationship between a person’s intelligence and their social skills.

Here is an article that further explains my rambling.  There is a mention of mad scientists near the bottom.

http://psychology.wikia.com/wiki/Correlation_between_intelligence_and_social_deficiency

      

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Who is Walton like? (Warning some analysis is from Volume 2)

In discussion we talked a little about who Walton is. I want to look into the characters and analyze them more. Pages 49-62 of the book are the letters Walton writes to his cousin Margaret, which is where we started in class and is where I will start now. There are many comparable traits between Walton, Victor, and the Monster.

1) No Friends. Walton writes to his sister about being lonely and wanting a companion by his side who he could talk to. Victor shuts himself away from the world for over a year to work nonstop on the monster and subsequently dismisses all his family and friends from his life. The monster is so hideous no one will look at him or give him the chance to talk to them. Multiple times the monster recounts, “I was a poor, helpless, miserable wretch” (p.129) referring to his deformity as well as his inability to meet friends.

2)Wanting to die. This is not all the time but several times within the novel all three break down to admit they do not want to live. “I have lost everything, and cannot begin life anew” (p.61) Walton says this while confiding to his sister. Victor after creating then dismissing the monster realizes the drastic mistake he has made and also admits he should just kill himself. The monster also contemplates extinguishing the light that Victor has sparked in him. Ironically they all think about death, but the only ones to die are the ones around them.

3)Seeking knowledge. Walton wants to know about Victor and how he got to be on his boat. He yearns to know more about him. Victor at a very young age wants to learn and read. “I read and studied the wild fantasies of [these] writers with delight” (p.68). As he gets to college the amount of information he takes in is enormous. The monster wants to learn the language of the people he spies on. He wants to be able to communicate with them so he can try to obtain them as his friends.

These were the most prominent ideas to me while reading the first part of the book. Do you see any more similarities between the characters?

 

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