In the Frankenstein, there are six characters that die in the novel. What is the fundamental cause of their death? Who is the real killer? One may argue that this question is meaningless because it is obvious that the nameless monster kills almost every character except victor’s mother, who died naturally. However, the real killer should not be just the one who kills people by his hand, but the one who causes the death of so many innocent people, fundamentally.
In the novel, initially, the nameless creature is a really benevolent creature, but, with time went by, people’s discrimination gradually changed him to devil, who determined to revenge his creator by killing his beloved. Therefore, discrimination is the real killer. First, examining how the six characters died may lead to insight for the questions on hand. Caroline Beaufort, Victor’s mother, dies of scarlet fever. William Frankenstein, Victor’s youngest brother, is strangled by monster in the woods outside Geneva.
Justine Moritz, a young girl adopted into the Frankenstein household, is executed for William’s murder. Henry Clerval, victor’s boyhood friend and Elizabeth Lavenza, victor’s the wife, are strangled by the monster too. Alphonse Frankenstein, Victor’s father, is overcome with grief over the deaths of his close family members. The monster is, directly or indirectly, involved every time character dies except victor’s mother’s death. But why does he do this? Is that because of his nature? No. The monster is virtuous at the beginning. The whole village was roused; some fled, some attacked me, until, grievously bruised by stones and many other kinds of missile weapons, I escaped to the open village, and fearfully took refuge in a low hovel, quiet bare, and making a wretched appearance. ” (73) I found the monster’s reaction to people’s sudden attack is not him fighting back or an act of revenge, which is the normal response of killer or any other evil creature, but escape. “I lay on my straw, but I could not sleep. I thought of the occurrences of the day. What chiefly struck me was the gentle manners of these people; and I long to join them, but dare not”.
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The monster wants to merge into a warm family instead of trying to hurt them. It means he also really wants to be loved and love others. The above quotes suggest that the monster’s nature is good, meaning he is not the one to harm another purposefully. How does a nice creature, which goes after love, gradually become an evil devil? Something must have happens and gradually change his thoughts. Look at how he was born. “It was dark when I awoke; I felt cold also, and half frightened, as it were, instinctively, finding myself so desolate. (71) This description above shows the monster is left alone by Victor because of the monster’s appearance and suffered from coldness and loneliness since the first day when he was created, while it is just the start of his miserable life. Look at the first times when he met a human being. Suffering from hunger, the nameless creature went into a small hut and an old man sat there. “He turned on hearing a noise, and perceiving me, shrieked loudly, and quitting the hut, ran across the fields with a speed of which his debilitated form hardly appeared capable”(72).
Once the old man notices the nameless creature and runs away because the monster’s appearance is terrifying and he assumes the monster will hurt him. We can see the old man as a representative of the ordinary people. He judges the nameless creatures by his appearance instead of quality. Imagine this situation: you are a really nice person and keep trying to make friends with others, but they discriminates you because of your skin color, gender or any other characters you have. This will make every emotional creature hurt.
Actually the monster’s situation is even worse than that, because he has no companion and the only reason why everyone in this world discriminate him is his terrifying appearance which is not his fault. Therefore, it is reasonable for his inner world to gradually become dark. If people just try to avoid him, maybe, it is still acceptable. But what if his beloved try to destroy him? Please look at this sentence: “Agatha fainted, and Safie, unable to attend to her friend, rushed out of the cottage.
Felix darted forward, and with supernatural force tore me from his father, to whose knees I clung, in a transport of fury, he dashed me to the ground and struck me violently with a stick. I could have torn him limb from limb, as the lion rends the antelope. But my heart sank within me as with bitter sickness, and I refrained. ”(94) At the sight of the monster, worrying about monster will hurt his father, Felix spares no effort to attack the monster , while the monster is the one who had always been trying to help this family alleviate life burden and been eager to become a part to his family.
Wronged and beaten by those cottagers, monster still refrained from desire to fight back, even though he is strong enough to tear Felix up. It is not the deed of a killer. How many human beings can be as tolerable as him? In a sense, the monster is even nobler than many of us. However, people regard this creature, which looks scary, as a monster, which is hostile to human. Nobody cares about it comes with a heart of gold. In this case, how does he feel? His feelings are afflicted and intensively contradictory. When I thought of my friends, of the mild voice of De Lacey, the gentle eyes of Agatha, and the exquisite beauty of the Arabian, these thoughts vanished and a gush of tears somewhat soothed me. But again when I reflected that they had spurned and deserted me, anger returned, a rage of anger, and unable to injure anything human, I turned my fury towards inanimate objects. ”(97)Through these sentences, we can feel the monster’s inner struggle. He wanted to vent his indignation and hatred, but at the thought of his “protector”, he calmed down. Then, once he thinks of their departure and aversion to him, rage came back.
However, he only turned his anger to inanimate stuff. He wants to revenge for what people have done to him but his nature tells him he shouldn’t do that. Even if he can’t control his anger, he still tries to minimize the damage by only destroying inanimate stuff. He wants to be a genuine person and gets along well with human being, but was rejected and hurt again and again. The reality tortured him emotionlessly. He was perplexed at that time. His thought was not as benevolent and pure as before. The discrimination of human being towards him made him started thinking of revenge.
However, there is something worse waiting for him. “This was then the reward of my benevolence! I had saved a human being from destruction, and as recompense I now writhed under the miserable pain of a wound which shattered the flesh and bone. The feelings of kindness and gentleness which I had entertained but a few moments before gave place to hellish rage and gnashing of teeth. Inflamed by pain, I vowed eternal hatred and vengeance to all mankind. ” (99) This is the description of the inner world of monster after being shot by a peasant whose daughter was saved by monster.
He tried his best to save a girl and it’s the evidence of his heart of gold. However, the girl’s father never thought of why he save her life and try to restore her animation, but shot him because his appearance makes him look like a monster which will hurt human being. What if it is a human being that saves the girl? Usually, the peasant will show his gratitude and might even ask him to have a meal. If we compare these two conditions, we will find the deed of the saver is the same and but the attitude of peasant will be different. What determines the differences is the appearance of the saver.
Humanlike saver is regarded as a nice person and creature which has strange or frightening appearance is regarded as devil. Isn’t that a kind of discrimination? The cruelty of reality kept swallowing his benevolence until the only thing left him to do is revenge. When the monster compromised to victor at the condition of creating a female companion for him, Victor broke his promise because he thought creating another creature like monster can only bring troubles. It is a reflection of discrimination. “As I looked on him, his countenance expressed the utmost extent of malice and treachery.
I thought with a sensation of madness on my promise of creating another like to him, and trembling with passion, tore to pieces the thing on which I was engaged. ” (119)This scene happened after Victor seeing the face of monster. When Victor was about to finish his work, he started to think creating another creature like monster can only bring more tragedies and decided to destroyed the monster’s female companion. It is true that the monster killed his brothers, but it is because there are too many miseries happened, revenge becomes the only thing he want to do to vent his indignation.
We should notice that the monster can bring more sorrow to Victor and even other human beings, if only he wanted. However, if he didn’t do that, it means, in his deep heart, he is still benevolent creature. Nevertheless, Victor never care about how many good deeds the monster has done or the happiness of the creature he create, but only thought that the negative consequence of what the creature would make. Victor assumed the monster can never be a good creature, so his thought and decision are the reflection of discrimination on the monster.
When we try to synthesis every part of novel I mentioned before, we will find the nature of this monster is good, but, gradually, the only thing in his mind is to revenge. What kind of thing makes a so nice creature become an evil? The answer is countless misery and injustice he experienced. Why does a nice creature have to suffer so much? Is that because of the fault of God? No! It is because of the discrimination. No matter how many times the monster help people, everyone in the novel, even children, thinks this creature is evil and tries to hurt people, so they avoid him, hurt him and even try to kill im. A nice creature never receives love or even sympathy because of his appearance, and, regardless of how the monster felt, his creator destroyed his last hope of being loved, so he wanted to see his creator was as painful as he was and decided to murder victors’ beloved. Now we can see that discrimination makes the nameless benevolent creature become a devil, contributing to the death of innocent people. So the real killer should be human being’s discrimination.
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