First reveal of his first name?
Is this the first time his surname is revealed (other than in the title)?
Victor Frankenstein had completely obsessed over this project of creating life. He had wanted to create a beautiful man from spare parts. It was not until Frakenstein had truly succeeded did he “wake up” and realize his mistake in creating this creature that he did not yet understand.
Victor had worked on this creature for a very long time, when the creature finally came to life, he was surprised at its atrocious features. How could one be so blinded that they do not know what the very thing that they are working on will look like? Victor’s fear also seems to be irrational, after all, the creature hasn’t shown any ill intent, is man too afraid of what is unnatural? Why do we keep trying to prove ourselves against nature then?
It is clear in the book, Frankenstein, there is a recurring element of a longing to explore the unknown. Not only is it present in Clerval and Frankenstein’s character, Robert Walton also expresses this desire in his letters. Walton quotes, “I shall satiate my ardent curiosity with the sight of a part of the world never before visited, and may tread a land never before imprinted by the foot of man (13).”
Victor reacts on emotion when creating the Creature. Within his own circle of creativity he selects the best physical features and fails to see the bigger picture regarding the Creature’s appearance. Resulting in the consequence of being disappointed in his work. This is also a good display of Victor failing to take responsibility for his creation as when it fails to meet his standards, he simply flees the premises when it disappoints him. He does not even consider a proper way to solve his issue by exterminating the Creature entirely and regarding it as his first trial or attempting to make the Creature seem more physically appealing or acceptable.
The thing that interests me, is the fact that the monster never had an intention to harm when he approached Frankenstein for the first two times. If the monster was truly evil and harmful ever since his awakening, why didn’t he attack him? Instead, “His jaws opened, and he muttered some inarticulate sounds, while a grin wrinkled his cheeks.” The monster is innocent, just like a birthed child, only seeking the affection and guidance of their parent.
This instance of creation, which is obviously the main point of the book, was the biggest form of creation in the story. It was a bad idea because humans should be created naturally the correct way, and not manufactured for one persons interests and amusement. It has the opposite of a positive effect on humanity, as it has killed people before. It is also unfair to the monster because he was then hung out to dry by his creator and left to fend and learn on his own. The creature did not know right from wrong.
Interestingly, Shelley never claims that Victor has created life, only that he has infused life back into dead matter. This could be taken contextually to mean that life is nothing more than electricity running through our nervous system, keeping us moving until we reach our ends. This, however, could also lend to a more metaphysical view of person-hood. This method of revitalizing a person doesn’t seem to contradict the idea of concursus divinus, rather it might reinforce it. Victor, as a hylomorphic being of creation, has no power to create things ex nihilo, and is therefore constrained to shaping things which already take part in existence. This being true, Victor would have the power to create the necessary conditions in which a soul could re-enter a body, or be created within the body through a higher creator, or metaphysical process. Victor himself does not play God, rather he creates the necessary conditions through which god can enact a new life. Thus, victor does not create a new soul, or even life ex nihilo, rather he recomposes old matter and infuses it with life that was pre-existing, or naturally occurring through the laws of nature.
Here Victor seems to recognize something both about himself and the Creature he has created. In the former, Victor has the power to shape the world around. He can weave together an entirely new being and give it the spark of life, yet despite this he is unable to control himself beyond the capacities of Man. He is constrained by his nature, and acts according to it, despite the immense power he has discovered his fundamental nature remains the same. In the latter case, Shelley reveals something about the Creature as well. Though it was made larger than life by Victor, it’s nature isn’t as changeable. It’s actions throughout the book consistently show the eternal greatness, and failures, of mankind, and not even Victor could create a man more perfect than his natural state.
Coleridge’s “Ancient Mariner.” [Mary’s Note]
It is understandable that Victor would experience feelings of fear and awe after realizing he successfully created life, especially given the strength and power of his creation. However, abandoning and then “avoid[ing] the wretch” because of this fear means he also avoids taking responsibility for his creature’s life and suffering. Victor’s avoidance does not lead to the protection of himself and his loved ones, and it intensifies the creature’s anguish and destructive behavior.
Egyptian mummies were present in the British Museum since the mid-1750s, donated by private antiquity collectors. British attention to ancient Egypt broadened during Napoleon’s campaign of 1798–1801; his inclusion of scholars with his army was mocked in England as wartime propaganda, but the French documented and exported antiquities that were later transferred to London after their defeat. Probably more important than these events to the interpretation of Mary’s text, however, is the use of the purported curative powder “mummia” or “mummy,” which had been available throughout Europe since the twelfth century. Referred to as both medicine and pigment by early English writers including Edmund Spenser, William Shakespeare, and John Donne, mummia was either the bituminous substance used in mummification to dry out body cavities after the removal of organs or the ground-up body parts of mummies themselves when this bituminous substance was in short supply. Mary’s reference to mummies here and later in Walton’s characterization of the texture and color of the creature’s hand (here) may serve several purposes: (1) Ancient mummification enabled the preserved body to be available for use by the spirit in the afterlife—another kind of reanimation of a dead body. (2) The creature’s mummylike hand would have exhibited the characteristic darkened skin produced by the drying material, whereas the creature’s facial skin is elsewhere described as yellow, further highlighting his patchwork nature. (3) In light of the mutilation of mummified bodies for questionable medicinal treatments, is it possible that Mary used the term mummy to enhance her ethical critique?
Victor constantly equates “life” with animation. Does animacy provide life, or is that function served by the metaphysical soul purportedly found within active human bodies? Within Judeo-Christian-Muslim religions, it is the sacred soul placed within the human body during fetal development by a divine God that makes life different in humans from other animals. Nonhuman animals are treated differently from humans in Western society, whereas many non-Western societies do not make a striking difference from human to animal to plant (Astor-Aguilera 2010). For Western humans, the divine soul is what makes life sacrosanct, but nonhuman animal life is typically not as important. Is Victor playing God in his laboratory research, trying to infuse life or the spark of a soul within a human body composed of inactive tissue? When is the “soul” present in humans, if at all? Is soul matter inherent to human tissue at conception and therefore present in stem cells?
Victor characterizes the moment he succeeds in bringing his creation to life—when the creation opens his eyes and gazes back—as a “catastrophe.” Contrast this scene with the same moment of creation of intelligence noted in Genesis 1:32: “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” An enduring conversation in the philosophy of beauty asks whether beauty is more an innate property of the “thing” being considered or resides instead in the eye of the beholder. Conflations of beauty and goodness are also quite common in both popular culture and philosophical inquiry. In many ways, this entire novel explores the relationship between beauty, goodness, and perceptions. In the end, Victor’s characterization of his creature depends more on Victor himself than on the creature’s identity. Outward perceptions of beauty or the lack thereof influence how others understand the creature and whether they perceive his actions as “good” or “evil.” Imagine how the story would unfold if Victor were instead to have looked upon his creature at this very moment and felt that it “was good.” In the scene as given in the novel, Victor looks for himself in the creature’s eyes and finds someone else.
Mary refers to a “spark” that animates Victor’s creature and brings him to life. This reference alludes to the use of electricity to reanimate a body, a relatively new idea at the time of this novel’s publication. Toward the end of the eighteenth century, Luigi Galvani (1737–1798) had demonstrated the use of electrical current to activate muscle, a discovery he made on dissected frog legs. Mary was well aware of these experiments, and Galvani’s work was one of her main influences in generating the idea for her novel. Furthermore, these principles have endured in medicine. Today, electric stimulation is used to aid millions of human bodies with everything from defibrillators and pacemakers to partial treatments for paralysis and systems that link prosthetic limbs and cameras to the brain.
This particular portion of the text shows why it is a bad idea to create beings like ourselves . Victor reflects on the situation of creating the creature . If he describes it as a catastrophe ,It is probably something that will impact not just him but the world around him in a negative way.
Emotions again serve to express assessments. On the surface, they are assumed to be correct moral judgments, though in the end their accuracy is questioned implicitly when Victor’s rejection and horror drive the creature away and lead over time to the creature’s loneliness. The experience of isolation and deprivation of basic social relations turn the creature from a natural disposition toward goodness to a disposition toward evil that impels him to engage in horrific and destructive acts.