1. Killer300
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    Killer300 Active Member

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    Original Frankenstein Novel: Just Me Or...

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by Killer300, Apr 10, 2013.

    Is the creature in Frankenstein not scary at all, just... really tragic. To the point where I end up hating both the POV character and... almost everyone else. A lot. I'll give some examples, but before hand, I'll call the creature Adam to simplify some things. With that in mind,

    1. Everyone Adam meets refuses to even hear him out. From what I remember, the only person that doesn't immediately attack him, or similar, to get rid of him is a blind man. Yes, Adam's creator does eventually hear him out, but I think Adam basically had to force him to do that.

    2. His creator does nothing to take care of him, up to refusing to grant a request that, if he had, would've prevented Adam from harming anyone else! Yes, admittedly, that was treating another sentient being as an object, however he does nothing to try and explain this to Adam. Instead, he just destroys the materials necessary to the being's creation, and in the process, pointlessly provokes Adam.

    3. Despite all of this, Adam, until I think near the end or middle, doesn't even attempt to fight back, or punish in anyway the people who keep making his life miserable, even though he has more than enough power to do so.

    Now, to be fair, it's been a bit since I've read the book. Perhaps I forget details that made Adam less... tragic at points. Still, from what I do remember, the character really seemed more like a victim than a monster. Everyone hates him, even though, again, he does nothing to provoke this at all, other than existing basically.

    Thoughts on this?
     
  2. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I think that was the genius of the story. Mary Shelley was brilliant. It's easy to write a monster who's a monster and we all want him dead. But a monster who's a tragic victim of circumstance? Who doesn't want to be a monster but is treated as one? Mary Shelley may have been the first who ever did that. That's why Frankenstein is a landmark of literature. It's a tragedy, not a monster horror story.

    It's also the precursor of all the cautionary science fiction tales we've all read or seen on the big screen, right up to and beyond Michael Crichton's work. The whole "Science has gone awry! Run for your lives!" thing started with Frankenstein. It still echoes in Jurassic Park and any number of other more modern stories.
     
  3. Killer300
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    Killer300 Active Member

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    That's... an interesting point. However, this may be an odd case of false advertising, in some ways (people call it a horror story, which while perhaps true, doesn't really fit the tone it goes for frequently).

    This, while perhaps true, I don't see. Because really, what's wrong with Adam? If this tale is supposed to be cautionary, its more a caution of not judging things by what they look like.

    Perhaps that's the point, but if that's the case, this is again, an odd case of false advertising(sort of), as most stories of the type, like Jurassic Park, don't have creatures in of themselves sympathetic.
     
  4. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Was Frankenstein supposed to be scary? I took it as a very sad story, which it is, instead of a horror story, which I'm just not sure it was. Victor Frankenstein is (must be honest) a pretty stupid character, and I just couldn't sympathize with him enough to find the novel 'scary'.
     
  5. Killer300
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    Killer300 Active Member

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    This! Something that does, to me, drag down the book, is everyone outside of Adam seems... well, not be very bright.

    Now, to be fair, there are horror stories based almost completely on sadness, however those aren't really told this way(Silent Hill 2, as an example).
     
  6. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I just love the bit where Victor Frankenstein does something to really annoy this Creation, and it promises to be with him on his wedding day, and then what does old Victor do when he get's back home?

    Not exactly the brightest bulb in the tree was he. :p
     
  7. Killer300
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    Killer300 Active Member

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    Yeah...

    And actually, not only is Victor rather stupid at points, but he's incredibly irresponsible. I mean, Adam, in many ways, is his child. Yet despite this, from what I remember, he does nothing to help said child, and might have actually forced said child to run away.

    I bring this up because if Adam was a normal child, and Victor was his father... well, the story would probably be a bit differently to many.
     
  8. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Not only does he not ever help his creation, when he meets him and finds out the monster has a genius IQ, superhuman strength, and has the ethics of a Nietzschean ubermench he still jerks it around.

    If it was a normal child I'm sure thing would have gone different, but it wasn't a normal child, it was exceptional and Victor was just an irrisponsible prat. This is one of my biggest problems with that book to be honest. The point of it, the reason why it is so celebrated today, was already done - and better in Paradise Lost.

    In fact, Mrs. Shelley herself seems to have known this, quoting from Paradise Lost on the cover sheet of the novel.
     
  9. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Victor didn't want a child. He didn't embark on his research trying to have a child. To him, the monster was a scientific experiment. Victor was in it to see if it could be done, and to gain serious reputation in scientific circles. For him, it was a combination intellectual voyage and ego trip. There was never any love for the creation. Sure, Victor was responsible for the monster's existence, but that doesn't mean he loved it.

    Note that I'm avoiding calling the monster "Adam," as you want to do. That's personalizing something Victor doesn't personalize, at least not at the beginning. The monster is not a child. Love for him doesn't enter the story. That's the tragedy.
     
  10. Killer300
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    Killer300 Active Member

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    I meant a child in the sense of if the actions of characters were relatively similar but if Adam was an actual child, instead of a creature. Sorry, that and what I said before probably both come out muddled.:p

    But yeah, the irresponsibility is what I mind. I don't quite get how this relates to Paradise Lost, but I haven't read that. Is part of Satan's anti-hero, on the surface, characteristics that he has issues with his creator?

    Ah, didn't remember this. But, I haven't read Paradise Lost yet.
     
  11. Killer300
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    Killer300 Active Member

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    This is true, which... really reveals the reason this story is so radically different than the genre it inspired(experiment run a mock). After all, not only is Adam sentient, but Adam is... completely innocent. If anything, he's nicer than most humans, at first, because for most of the book, he doesn't harm anyone despite being treated in a way that would probably push most to violence much earlier.
     
  12. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    It's not only about science out of control. It's a story about man treading in God's domain. Frankenstein created life, but could not impart it with a soul. Interestingly, mortality is postulated as a gift from God that the good doctor was also unable to bestow on his creation. The creature's immortality is as much a curse as his lack of a soul.

    It goes back much farther than Shelley. It's a variation on the Garden of Eden, and tasting of the forbidden fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.
     
  13. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I read Paradise Lost in much the same way as William Blake, with the view that Milton doesn't in the end 'justify the ways of god to man', quite the opposite, he exposes god's cruelty.
     
  14. Killer300
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    Killer300 Active Member

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    Woops, thought you said immorality.:redface:
     
  15. Killer300
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    Killer300 Active Member

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    Ah, okay, that helps.
     
  16. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    He said "mortality," not "morality."
    ;)
     
  17. Killer300
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    Killer300 Active Member

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    OH!

    Sorry Cogito.:redface:
     
  18. Nee
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    Nee Contributing Member

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    Frankenstein was a "Nothing Good Can Come Of This" story. Some say it was the first science fiction story but when you compare it to Verne or H.G. Wells, who's stories were built upon applied scientific principles, it doesn't quite reach that level of dependence on science. Then comparing it to Dracula, which is a true horror story, it starts to look more like a Greek tragedy than anything else. Still, for the time in which it was written, very well done indeed.

    *though, now that I think of it, the same can be said about Stevenson's jekyll and hyde.
     
  19. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Wells' The Time Machine was more social commentary than science, in the same way that Frankenstein was. With Frankenstein, it was medical science that was nudging toward the domain of theology. Both deserve the label of science fiction, the extrapolation of science and its possible ramifications.
     
  20. Nee
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    Nee Contributing Member

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    Actually, I was thinking of War of the Worlds. But I don't see how you can avoid making some kind of sociological commentary when writing SF. But, maybe that's just me.
     
  21. Killer300
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    Killer300 Active Member

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    My problem comes from that none of the human characters, with a few minor characters as exceptions, really seem to deserve sympathy for the plight they bring upon themselves. What I mean by this, I guess, is that, to me, the ultimate reason this isn't a horror story, in my case anyway is...

    The victims aren't very innocent too often. This would be fine, except I get the feeling we are supposed to sympathize, on some level, with Victor, which I just can't. All I see is an irresponsible jerk that shouldn't be put in any position of power over anyone, as he hasn't shown he could handle it. At all.
     
  22. Nee
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    You are 'spose to be all, "Tisk Tisk...oh the vanity of man."


    Which is the point of "Nothing Good Can Happen From This" stories.
     
  23. Killer300
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    Killer300 Active Member

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    Hmm, interesting.
     

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