Characterization Of The Monster
Characterization of the Monster
The characterization of Victor’s creature, the monster, in the movie although somewhat dramatically different from Mary Shelley’s portrayal in the novel Frankenstein also had its similarities. Shelley’s views of the monster were to make him seem like a human being, while the movie made the monster out to be a hideous creation. The creature’s appearance and personality are two aspects that differ between the novel and movie while his intellectual and tender sides were portrayed the same.
From the novel the creature’s physical appearance is left up to each reader’s imagination. Shelley wrote:
His limbs were in proportion, and I had selected
his features as beautiful. Beautiful! Great God!
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 colour as the dun-white
sockets in which they were set, his shrivelled
complexion and straight black lips (p.56).
Although I imagined the creature a human being with somewhat distorted features, another reader might view his appearance as a grotesque monster. On the other hand, the movie has shown him as a hideous monster created by a mad scientist. The monster’s appearance was focused on creating life out of dead body parts, sewing the pieces together that left horrid physical scars, and activating him with electricity.
The creature’s personality, or actions toward society, was displayed as being very calm and compassionate in the novel. He made many attempts to converse with society, but society feared and mistreated him because of his hideous appearance, forcing the creature to run away. Rejection by society and even his creator, who abhorred his creature, taught the creature to hate and seek revenge. Shelley wrote:
‘Hateful day when I received life!’ I exclaimed in
agony. ‘Accursed creator! Why did you form a
monster so hideous that even you turned from me
in disgust?’ (p.124). There was none among the
myriads of men that existed who would pity or
assist me; and should I feel kindness towards my
enemies? No; from that moment I declared everlasting
war against the species, and more than all, against
him who had formed me and sent me forth to this
insupportable misery (p.130).
The movie, as well, showed the creature’s creator and society rejecting him, but the movie demonstrated his personality as being very violent. Instead of the monster running off when people acted harshly towards him, he lashed out in rage by destroying things and hurting others. An example of his violent nature in the movie was when he killed Victor’s wife by ripping her heart out of her chest, compared to him only strangling her in the novel.
The movie’s interpretation of the creature’s intelligence level seemed to be captured just as Mary Shelley had written in her novel. Although, everyone should take note that Shelley’s description of the creature’s intelligence was more vivid and detailed to give us a better understanding of how the creature learned to read, speak, and understand human nature. The movie only showed a couple of scenes and then left it up to the creature to tell Victor how he had acquired the traits. The creature first learned how to speak by listening to Felix read to the old man and Agatha, but it wasn’t until Safie moved into the cottage that the creature was taught the meanings of words and how to pronounce them. While he sat in the hovel everyday he would peer through a crack in the wall and listen to Felix teach Safie how to speak. They both “improved rapidly in the knowledge of language” (p.113) everyday. When the creature was able to read he retrieved the book, Frankenstein’s journal, that he had found in his pocket on his first night of living in the hovel. This is how the creature learned of his existence and to even hate the day he was created. Although society and his creator rejected him, he made one more attempt to make friends. When the cottagers also rejected him because of his physical features, he knew that he