“I expected this reception,” said the daemon. “All men hate the wretched; how, then, must I be hated, who am miserable beyond all living things!”
When Frankenstein accuses the Monster of murdering his brother William, the Monster cleverly deflects the accusation. Frankenstein’s hatred of him is to be “expected,” he says, not because of the murder, but because the Monster is “wretched” and “miserable.” The Monster’s first utterance sums up his story as he sees it, but it also demonstrates his skill with language. Throughout the novel the Monster skillfully deflects blame for the murders he has committed by emphasizing his own suffering.
For a long time I could not conceive how one man could go forth to murder his fellow, or even why there were laws and governments; but when I heard details of vice and bloodshed, my wonder ceased, and I turned away with disgust and loathing.
The Monster claims that when he was first created he could not even understand murder, and that when he did come to understand “bloodshed,” it made him feel “disgust and loathing.” At the same time, the Monster makes a more subtle point in his defense. Human beings “go forth to murder” so often that “laws and governments” are needed to stop them: there is therefore nothing inhuman or unnatural about the Monster’s capacity for murder.
Many times I considered Satan as the fitter emblem of my condition; for often, like him, when I viewed the bliss of my protectors, the bitter gall of envy rose within me.
The Monster has read Milton’s
There was none among the myriads of men who 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.
The Monster argues that his murderousness is not his fault. Human beings made him declare “war” by treating him like an enemy. The Monster feels completely alienated: “none among the myriads of men” will take pity on him. In this way he resembles Frankenstein, who alienates himself by pursuing forbidden knowledge. The Monster will go on to deepen Frankenstein’s alienation by killing his friends and family.
You must create a female for me, with whom I can live in the interchange of those sympathies necessary for my being.
The Monster demands that Frankenstein create a female companion for him. He argues that close, loving relationships are “necessary” for “being.” By imagining that his female companion will be “for” him, he shows that he shares his creator’s possessive attitude toward women. Frankenstein tells us that he looks upon his future wife Elizabeth as “mine.” By longing for a female companion, the Monster also aligns himself with Adam in Milton’s
As I looked on him, his countenance expressed the utmost of malice and treachery.
Frankenstein describes the appearance of the Monster in his window. Every character who sees the Monster (himself included) agrees that he looks terrifying. Frankenstein goes further. He suggests that the Monster’s terrifying appearance is evidence of his evil character, his “malice and treachery.” One possible reading of this line is that Frankenstein is trying to shift blame away from himself: if the Monster is an innately evil and unlovable being, then Frankenstein can’t be held responsible for treating him so badly.
I shall collect my funeral pile and consume to ashes this miserable frame, that its remains may afford no light to any curious and unhallowed wretch who would create such another as I have been.
On one level,
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