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|“||If I cannot inspire love, I will cause fear!||„|
|~ The Frankenstein Monster's most well-known quote.|
|“||I have love in me the likes in which you can scarcely imagine, and rage the likes of which you would not believe. If I cannot satisfy the one, I will indulge the other.||„|
|~ The Monster announces his goal|
Frankenstein's Monster is the main antagonist of the novel Frankenstein by the late Mary Shelley and its many film adaptations. He was created in 1816 and made his debut on January 1, 1818. Although he had surprisingly immense powers of speech in the original novel, most adaptations limit, otherwise completely omit, his speaking capabilities. Although at first glance appearing generally intimidating, for the most part the creature was initially a very gentle and sweet soul before turning to villainy out of anger for how the world treats him.
- 1 Portrayals
- 2 Biography
- 3 Personality
- 4 Powers and Abilities
- 5 Gallery
- 6 Trivia
- 7 External Links
- 8 Navigation
The character has been portrayed by several actors over the years, including:
- The late Charles Stanton Ogle in the 1910 silent movie Frankenstein.
- Robert De Niro (who also portrayed the young Vito Corleone in The Godfather Part II, Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver, Jake LaMotta in Raging Bull, David "Noodles" Aaronson in Once Upon a Time in America, Louis Cyphre in Angel Heart, Al Capone in The Untouchables, Jimmy Conway in Goodfellas, Dwight Hansen in This Boy's Life, Max Cady in Cape Fear, Neil McCauley in Heat, Gil Renard in The Fan, Ace Rothstein in Casino, Louis Gara in Jackie Brown, Fearless Leader in The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle, Don Lino in Shark Tale, David Callaway in Hide & Seek, and Senator John McLaughlin in Machete) played a version of the character in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein that is arguably the most faithful to the novel.
The Monster made his first appearance in the 1818 novel Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus. He is described as having wrinkled skin which barely hid the blood vessels, black lips, black hair, and yellow eyes. He was created on a rainy November night in the late 18th century Ingolstadt, Germany, by the medical student Victor Frankenstein. Frankenstein is so horrified by his creation that he flees the house, leaving the Monster to his own devices. The Monster takes a jacket to clothe himself and eventually wanders off into the wild. He spends a lengthy period of time learning to survive. Any humans he comes across are so frightened by his appearance that they run from him, just as Frankenstein had done.
The Monster eventually takes up abode in a small hovel that abuts a cottage. He listens to the inhabitants, the De Lacey family, through a chink in the wall and learns to speak and read from their example. His first reading materials are several books that he finds in a castoff suitcase, including the works of Milton, Plutarch, and Goethe. The Monster also reads a series of papers that he has found in his jacket, which turns out to be Frankenstein's notes.
Through these, he discovers his origins and learns that Frankenstein lives in Geneva, Switzerland. The Monster grows to love the De Laceys during his time as their "neighbor" and decides to reveal himself to the blind father while his grown children are out. However, the children return and discover him with their father, and drive him from the house. Enraged at how the whole of humanity has treated him, the Monster sets fire to the cottage, and swears revenge on Frankenstein for bringing him into a world that hates him.
He travels to Geneva, where he manages to save a beautiful young girl from drowning. However, he is shot by the girl's father as a result. A few weeks after his wounds heal, he meets a young boy and tries to befriend him. The boy, who is Frankenstein's brother William, shrieks that he will send his father, Judge Frankenstein, after him. Upon learning that the boy is a Frankenstein, the Monster strangles him to death and takes a wallet, which contains a portrait of Frankenstein's mother. The Monster moves on and finds a young woman, who is asleep in a barn. On an evil impulse, the Monster places the locket in her pocket. It is only after the police arrest her for William's murder that the Monster realizes that she is Justine Moritz, the Frankensteins' servant. Justine is blamed for William's death and hanged for murder.
In order to collect his thoughts, Frankenstein ascends into the Alps. The Monster confronts him there and pressures him into creating a female creature so he can have a mate; he promises that if he is given this, he will disappear and never trouble humanity again. Frankenstein agrees and travels to Scotland, where he begins the process of creating a female. The Monster follows him and watches with eager anticipation. At the last minute, however, Frankenstein decides not to go through with it and destroys the unfinished female creature out of fear that she will not agree to the arrangement the Monster made or that they could have a dangerous child. The enraged Monster swears to Frankenstein that he will be with him on his wedding night. True to his word, the Monster kills Frankenstein's new bride, Elizabeth LaVenza, as well as his best friend, Henry Clerval; he is also indirectly responsible for the death of Frankenstein's father, who dies of grief after Elizabeth's body is found.
Now with nothing to live for, Frankenstein swears vengeance and pursues the Monster to the Arctic, where he falls into the freezing waters and is picked up by a ship heading for the North Pole. Frankenstein tells his story to the expedition's leader, then dies of pneumonia. The Monster shows up not long after to gloat over Frankenstein's lifeless body, but upon seeing his creator dead it is overcome with remorse, for the only man who had ever really known the creature is now dead and the monster is truly alone in the human world. He announces that he will reach the Pole and destroy himself on a funeral pyre, swearing that at least he would be happy by being killed. He jumps from the ship and disappears into the distance.
Mary Shelly's Frankenstein
This version of the story is easily the most faithful adaptation however there are still a few differences.
During his time in Ingolstadt city, Victor Frankenstein wanted to prove that science didn't prove the finality of death and it was possible to resurrect a deceased body. His ideas were considered blasphemous by the professors and the majority of the students. Victor Frankenstein was fanatic in his ideas, and only two people, Henry Clerval and Professor Waldman, stood by him because Professor Waldman had actually concocted such experiments himself only for them to end in "abominations." However, Victor was certain his way would be a success, and he assembled his equipment including glass pipes and electrical conductors, and set about stealing from cemeteries and used the body of a violent man who had killed Professor Waldman as the base for his experiments. Frankenstein sliced into the dead man's head, and took Professor Waldman's brain to make the creation intelligent. He also took from cemeteries, "bits of thieves, bits of murderers" giving the Monster a lust for violence.
One night, Victor Frankenstein deliberately put his experiment into action and summoned lightning from the roof to run down his pipes and inject the inert body with life. The experiment seemed to work, prompting him to yell "IT'S ALIVE!" but suddenly the Monster went limp. Assuming it was dead, Frankenstein walked away miserably, but suddenly his creation jerked awake. It began writhing and soon smashed out of its box. Frankenstein restrained the eight-foot tall creature and hoisted him on chains hanging from the ceiling.
That night, the Creature (as he was named because Frankenstein had carelessly forgotten to name him) approached the sleeping Victor, and startled him into awakening, and then the Creature smiled, being very friendly at first, but then grew shocked when Frankenstein beat him with a rifle and kicked him out of the apartment. The saddened Creature had dressed himself in a black cloak and hood and got to roam the streets of Ingolstadt.
The Creature went to a wagon, and then smelt bread, and he got hungry. But a woman yelled at him to get away, and ripped off his hood, and thinking he had cholera, she beat him and drove him away. The whole street ganged up on the Creature, believing him to be a plague carrier, and drove him out, but he put up a fight, showing his superhuman strength and roaring at them. He fled, and took refuge in a mountain river.
The Creature later found a poor family in the Alps, who were desperate for food and he decided to use his powers for good, and the Creature pulled up vegetables at night, seeing how they were too weak to do it and that the earth was frozen. The Creature then put the food on their table overnight. The delighted family thanked the "Good Spirit of the Forest" for giving them food, but the Creature had been spotted by the blind grandfather, who knew someone was helping them. Finally, the grandfather called the Creature into his house when the Creature killed the evil landlord, who threatened to kick them out. The Creature was welcomed by the grandfather who said "a man shouldn't have to hide in the shadows." The grandfather said that the Creature could trust him, and he felt the Creature's face, and wondered if he had no friends. The Creature said there were some people (the family) but they didn't know him. The grandfather then said why didn't he go to them but the Creature said "they are so beautiful and I am so ugly."
However, the son and his family ran in and saw the Creature. Horrified, they kicked the poor Creature out, who was rejected when he was trying to do good. He was left sobbing in the woods, but then suddenly found Frankenstein's journal and then he learned that his master had made him. The Creature ran back to the cabin but found the family had run off. So, angered, he stopped being the Creature, became Frankenstein's Monster, and roared his vengeance, as he burned the cabin. Setting out to Geneva, the Monster soon found young Bill Frankenstein, Victor's brother, in the woods, and realizing he was related because he saw Victor's locket in Bill's hands, the Monster set off angrily after him, strangling him in the dark.
The maid, Justine, was hanged for the crime. So, Victor was remorseful and approached by the Monster in the dark, who said he would meet him on the mountain the next day. The Monster was lurking on the mountain when Victor approached and the Monster threw Victor into his icy cavern, where they conversed. Victor was amazed he had made such an intelligent yet deadly creation, and he realized that he could grant the Monster his wish: to have a female like him to live as outcasts together. The Monster forced Victor into saying that he would obey.
Victor had no choice but to accept. When the Monster and him discussed what corpse to use, Victor said he wouldn't do such an evil thing, to which the Monster said they were just "raw materials - your words." When Victor refused, the Monster roared that if he was denied a wedding night, he would be at Victor's. Victor tried to warn his bride Elizabeth, but she wouldn't listen, however they got married. True to form, the Monster showed up on the night, playing the lute, however, he smashed through the ceiling and grabbed Elizabeth's heart and yanked it out of her chest. Telling Victor he had fulfilled his promise, the Monster ran out evading gunshots.
The Monster was determined to have his bride, and when Victor resurrected Elizabeth as a disgusting monster, the Monster appeared and demanded his prize. However, Victor tried to get her to be with him, but she burned herself upon realizing she was created. The Monster then fled to the Arctic, with Victor close behind him. Victor came upon Captain Walton's ship, and told the captain his tale, before dying of pneumonia.
The captain met the Monster, who was lamenting the loss of his master, and the Monster attended Frankenstein's pyre, where the men said farewell to him. Suddenly the ice broke, and the sailors all ran to board the ship. Walton begged the Monster to come with them, but the Monster said he was "done with man" and he swam off to the ice pack, taking the torch with him. He got on Frankenstein's pyre, stood beside his deceased master, and dropped the torch on himself, dying as the flames consumed him.
In this silent movie, the creature appears as an imperfect clone, being grown in a vat of chemicals rather than being stitched together from body parts. However, it turns out to be a mere physical manifestation of Victor Frankenstein's own subconscious. It is portrayed as being evil, sadistic, and taking pleasure in taunting his creator, lacks the sympathetic backstory, and physically looks like a misshapen human/orangutan hybrid. He was portrayed by the late Charles Stanton Ogle.
The Frankenstein Papers
In his 1986 novel The Frankenstein Papers, Fred Saberhagen dealt with a wholly unique take on the Monster. The book is a reinterpretation of the original novel and takes that concept to an extreme. In this conception, Victor Frankenstein's experiments were funded by the wealthy and immoral Robert Saville (who was responsible for the bulk of the murders attributed to the Monster), who is interested in using Dr. Frankenstein's science in order to produce a more durable form of slave for use in American and Caribbean plantations.
However, the science is far from sound and fails to produce results. The Monster was in fact an extraterrestrial named Osak Larkas, who was covertly observing Earth's advancing civilization. The electrical signals given off by Frankenstein's apparatus caught Larkas' attention, so he stealthily hid his conveyance and approached the laboratory. Once inside, lightning struck the house, and Larkas was knocked unconscious. When he came to, he was suffering from amnesia and stumbled out into the night.
- Main article: Frankenstein's Monster (Universal)
- Main article: Frankenstein's Monster (Hammer)
- Main article: Frankenstein's Monster (Young Frankenstein)
- Main article: Frankenstein's Monster (Van Helsing)
- Main article: Frankenstein's Monster (2007 film)
- Main article: Adam Frankenstein
- Main article: Frankenstein's Monster (Victor Frankenstein)
Since Frankenstein is such a famous tale, it has been adapted many times, and, subsequently, the creature has had many different takes on him over the years, both visually, and in terms of his personality, but many of his traits are fairly consistent: He is deeply dissatisfied and depressed about life in general, holds a grudge against his creator, and is generally afraid of humanity due to its judgmental prejudice against him based solely on his grotesque appearance. Despite his terrifying and zombie-like appearance, the creature harbours the same emotions like any other human, and the same desires: Love, friendship, and acceptance into society. Whenever he reaches out, he is faced with fear and aggression, is rejected and driven away, and his bitter loneliness manifests into a seething hatred for his creator. Despite this, he does not hate humanity, generally avoiding humans, and will only harm others in either self-defence or, in a bid to harm Frankenstein, those whom Frankenstein holds dear. While he generally is portrayed as a miserable and embittered pariah, his intellect varies greatly depending on the adaptation. While in the book he was strategizing, somewhat educated, and highly cunning, this was eclipsed by his perhaps more iconic depiction in the Universal movies. In these, he seldom spoke, although when he did, his words carried a great deal of gravity and cryptic meaning to them. Because he was largely mute, later adaptations mistook this for stupidity and would portray the creature as an imbecilic man-child, and the Hammer series completely removed his lonely side, making him a cold-blooded murderer with severe retardation. Many forms of popular culture would later emulate the guttural and largely mute creature. In the novel, the Monster was a vegetarian, eating berries, nuts, roots, leaves, bread, cheese, and milk, although he detested wine (In the Universal canon, the creature enjoyed alcohol and smoking). Later, however, he killed a hare for Frankenstein to eat. Prior to his rejection, the creature was friendly, naïve, and helpful towards people, saving a little girl from drowning (only for her father to mistake this for an attack and shoot him) and fed a poor family and helped manage their farm in a bid to befriend them (though this ended in bitter failure).
Powers and Abilities
- Superhuman Condition: Victor's creation was made to be stronger, faster, more durable, and agile than an ordinary man, specifically Victor himself. The creature's tremendous strength can be attributed to his size and muscle mass. The creature's superhuman prowess allowed him to scale Mont Saleve in a short period of time, remarkable considering the mountain is four thousand, five-hundred, and twenty-four feet high at sea level.
- Superhuman Strength: The creature possessed uncanny strength because he was approximately eight feet in height, and proportionally large. He has stated that he could easily crush a cottage, or tear a man limb from limb with ease. His strength extended to his legs, allowing him to leap across distances that would be impossible for a human to replicate.
- Superhuman Speed: The creature has been stated as being able to climb mountains in a short amount of time and described as moving swifter than an eagle. Eagles swoop down towards speeds of 200 mph. He claimed that he was faster than a stag when running casually. Stags can reach speeds of 70 km/hr.
- Superhuman Durability: The creature's bones and muscles were somehow more dense than those of a human. He could withstand being in the Arctic with no discomfort.
- Virtual Self-Sustenance: The creature could survive off the most minimal quantities of food and water despite his large size.
- Superhuman Agility: The creature was more flexible than an ordinary human.
- Superhuman Stamina: The creature was virtually immune to fatigue. He could climb the Alps without stopping or swim across the English Channel without rest.
- Immortality: Because his body was composed of raw material from the charnel houses, the creature is immune to aging. He was also immune to illness. However, he was, presumably, only biologically immortal, as he could be conceivably killed with enough force. In the novel, Victor, in creating his creature, had hoped "to banish disease from the human frame, and render man invulnerable to any but a violent death!" He apparently succeeded in doing both with his creation of the Monster.
- Superhuman Metabolism
- Superhuman Reflexes
- Healing Factor: The creature could heal far faster than an ordinary human. He was able to heal from a gunshot wound within a few weeks without medical attention.
- Superhuman Intelligence: The creature was able to read books such as Milton's Paradise Lost, one of the volumes of Plutarch's Parallel Lives, and Goethe's The Sorrows of Young Werther within a year. He also knew multiple languages, and Victor was afraid the creature would learn how to replicate the creation process by observation.
- Frankenstein's Monster is arguably considered one of the most tragic villains in history, as he was shunned since the very first moment he came to life, ostracized and rejected despite his good intentions, was repeatedly deprived of love and affection, and he became murderous solely to avenge his misery, but he ultimately regretted his actions, and opted to commit suicide to stop himself from causing any more harm.
- In Mary Shelley's novel, Frankenstein's Monster was described as having yellow skin that barely concealed the blood vessels and organs inside the creature. But over many different retold adaptions of the story, it has been made many different colors, with its most well-known color being green.
- Contrary to what many modern audiences believe, the name of Frankenstein's Monster is not Frankenstein in particular, as the name is merely derived from his creator Dr. Victor Frankenstein, and in truth, Frankenstein's Monster has no real name. Nevertheless, given that the Monster's appearances in popular culture mostly refer to him as "Frankenstein", the monster is now known by such a name.
- Onset, Kenneth Branagh, who portrayed Victor Frankenstein, refused to accept naming de Niro's character any insulting names. He chose to call the Monster the "Sharp Featured Man" instead.