How Mary Shelley Named her Antagonist

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Through the novel, Victor Frankenstein’s creation is called by different names. Here is a glossary of the most common names given to the
“creature”.

The explanation section is to help you understand the meanings behind these definitions. It will give you an idea on whether or not these words can be used to name the “monster” according to the events of the book.

* All the definitions are from www.dictionary.com 

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Word: Creature 

Definitions: 

  1. Anything created, whether animate or inanimate. 
  2. An animal, especially a nonhuman.
  3. A person whose position or fortune is owed to someone or something and who continues under the control or influence of that person or thing. 

Explanations: 

  1. The term, creature, is the most common because the word does not specify what kind of creation it is. (Human? Animal?)
  2. Victor Frankenstein created  an animated body made with mainly  human body parts, but also animal body parts ⇒ “the dissecting room and the slaughterhouse” (Shelley – Chapter 4) 
  3.  Victor Frankenstein had the future of this creature in his hands and even his own. A creation is like a baby, you need to teach him the difference between what is good and bad. 

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Word: Monster 

Definitions: 

  1. a legendary animal combining features of animal and human form.
  2. any creature so ugly or monstrous as to frighten people.
  3. any animal or human grotesquely deviating from the normal shape,behavior, or character.

Explanations:

  1. Some animal parts were used to create the monster, but his physical appearance is of a human.  
  2. Frankenstein did not see the ugliness of his creation at the first glance, but it is this aspect that makes his creation rejected from society. Indeed, he frights people!
  3. Because of the scars on his face, his physical appearance  is grotesquely deviating from the normal.

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Word:  It

Definitions: 

  1. used to represent an inanimate thing understood.
  2. used to represent a person or animal understood, previously mentioned, or about to be mentioned whose gender is unknown or disregarded.

Explanations:

  1. Victor uses the word “it” because he is unsure of what he gave life to. He realizes the sin he did of giving life to an inanimate body, so he can’t use the pronoun “he” like any other masculine  human being.
  2. Based on the description given, we can deduct that the gender of the creature is  masculin. He states that he wants a wife.

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Word: Villain 

Definition:  a cruelly malicious person who is involved in or devoted to wickedness or crime; scoundrel.

Explanation: Frankenstein’s creation becomes a villain figure when he gets involved in murders.  He cruelly wants to kill Victor’s family to avenge himself.

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Word: Evil 

Definitions:

  1. the force in nature that governs and gives rise to wickedness and sin.
  2. the evil one, the devil; Satan.

Explanations:

  1. In the creature’s case, the force that gave rise to his wickedness and sin is his loneliness. He have a heart but he cannot demonstrate it because society do not give him a chance.
  2. The creature only becomes a Satan-like figure when he decides to turn against his creator with the goal of making his life as miserable as his own.

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Word: Demon 

Definitions:

  1. a person considered extremely wicked, evil, or cruel.
  2. an evil passion or influence.

Explanations: 

  1. Victor uses the word demon because his creature kills people to take his revenge on him. It is a cruel act of selfishness.
  2. Frankenstein’s creation does not appreciate murdering people. He is driven by anger and his actions are influenced by the actions of his creator. 

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As you can see, Victor Frankenstein does not have a good relationship with his creation. From the start,  he treats him like a thing or an animal but never like a human.  However, the source of the creature’s evilness is his creator… Therefore, who is the real monster between them?  

For more information about this theme, go read How Does One Turn ‘Evil’? 

By Jamie-Lee Valcourt 

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7 thoughts on “How Mary Shelley Named her Antagonist

  1. Olivier Villeneuve says:

    Hey there!

    Your post can be an helpful tool to help people, whether they are familiar with the novel or not, to understand why Victor’s creation is called “creature”, “monster”, or all other names it receives.
    I can surely say that this post has helped me to understand further the reasons for the use of those words. Also, all your “tips” posts are very interesting and useful for fans of Frankenstein that are hungry for more analysis.

    Keep up the good work!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. evelynerichardblog says:

    Hi!
    Your blog post is amazing! You clarify the one thing that Shelley left intentionally unexplained throughout the novel. Although she uses very vague words, you explain their meaning thoroughly.

    Also, I like how the information is separated between definitions and explanations. You state the facts, and then you interpret them, which makes you very convincing.

    Nice work!
    Evelyne Richard

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Frederic Levesque says:

    Way to provide a very original post! I do not think I’ve seen a post of this kind before. Most posts will just briefly speak to the reader based on facts and essentially just restate the facts in a different manner. Even though you do state facts, you provided a decent analysis of them. This means that both the people who’ve read the book, and those who haven’t, can get a grasp of the information. If you’d only provided facts, only the readers of the book would’ve been able to understand.

    Essentially the analysis allows you to reach a wider audience. Since you reach a wider audience, then you will get more views. So all in all, I think you’ve made the right decision to provide this analysis, and it will help with your views!

    Keep up the good posts!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. thefrankybunch says:

    This is very original! I liked the way you separated each term with the definition and explanations, it was really clear and helpful.
    It made it very clear why she uses certain terms in the book for different moment and situations.
    Love it!
    Justine

    Like

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