Which came first, the Monster or Frankenstein?


As our discussion of Frankenstein has progressed, I am still attempting to place Frankenstein on what we can call the monster-creator spectrum: does Frankenstein’s final explanation that “[his] duties toward [his] fellow creatures had greater claims to [his] attention” justify his abandonment of his creation, or was he wrong to evade responsibility? (238)

Frankenstein himself seems to have vacillating opinions on his creature- he doesn’t consider himself to be at fault for the monster’s creation, saying that he was merely enthusiastically mad and ambitious. He only faults himself for creating the monster because of the havoc his creature wreaked on his happiness and tranquility; however, in believing this, Frankenstein places most of the blame on his creature as opposed to on himself for creating that which would eventually destroy him in the first place.

Frankenstein rarely recognizes his own responsibility to “assure…[the monster’s] happiness and well-being,” basically absolving himself of any guilt or blame concerning the monster’s violent habits (238). Until his death, Frankenstein believed he was noble in refusing to create a mate for his monster, claiming that the monster’s subsequent string of murders and vengeful acts justify this. However, Frankenstein neglects to acknowledge the possibility of the monster acting this way because of Frankenstein’s initial abandonment and refusal to do anything to further his own creation’s happiness. The monster’s initial monologue concerning his beginning on this Earth lend credit to the idea that perhaps he would not have turned on his creator had his creator merely fulfilled his job description, but we as readers will never know the answer. Frankenstein may very well have caused his own demise and the demise of his friends and family while believing the entire time that ignoring his abhorrent creature would be better for society.


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