Top positive review
So Different From The Frankenstein To Which We Have Become Familiar
on 27 April 2014
Frankenstein, or more correctly, Frankentein's Monster, is something known very well in popular culture. Most, when they hear the word Frankenstein conjure up the image of the moaning giant with bolts in his neck popularised throughout 20th century film and television, so I was surprised to discover just how different the original monster in the book is from the one we have come to know.
The story is presented in epistolary form, within the frame of correspondence between Captain Robert Walton and his sister, Margaret. Captain Walton tells the tale of how his crew rescued Victor Frankenstein from what would undoubtedly have been a frozen death during their excursion toward the North Pole. From this chance rescue, Victor recounts to Captain Walton the story of how he ended up so far North, explaining to them precisely what was the creature the crew saw pass them a few hours before they rescued Frankenstein.
What follows is, in essence, Victor Frankenstein's life story. Beginning with his childhood we come to discover how Victor became acquainted with outdated ideas on Natural Philosophy and what led him to his fascination with life and how life can be created. He recounts the tale of his work in creating the monster that came to be his torturer and come to know of his revulsion of his creation once life was given to it. It is this revulsion of the creature and its subsequent rejection which sets in motion a chain of horrific events perpetrated by the monster which brings Victor to his current state; being rescued by the captain.
I won't go into much detail from what I have already said about the story as it is something that is best discovered yourself while reading the story. Many other reviewers have written about how different the book really is from the image of the Frankenstein's Monster we have come to know in popular culture. Most striking is the monster's acquired education and eloquence through his observance of a family over the course of a number of years. The crimes that are committed at the hands of the monster, through his acquired use of language, allow him to explain his motivations and his internal mental torments which thus make him a sympathetic creature. The crimes he has committed are ones of true abhorrence, so perhaps for some it may be difficult to feel that sympathy, but it is the rejection by his creator and his abject loneliness, brought on from being the first and only of his kind, that compels him to act the way he does.
The story is truly compelling and sometimes legitimately scary, yet the tale of Frankenstein's monster is perhaps allegorical of the way in which life, happiness and acceptance are viewed, especially in the classical world. Perhaps the monster is even a metaphor for our own pursuit of love, companionship and the struggle to come to terms with our creator (God). In fact, there is reference made to the Biblical 'Adam' in the story, to whom the monster seems to relate, in that Adam's existence was only really complete and satisfied when he had his 'Eve' and the monster's motivation was simply to gain his own 'Eve'.
The edition I bought was of the Clothbound Classics series and it has a look and feel to it that makes it a welcome and proud addition to any book shelf, so I would strongly recommend that you pick this up. It really is something to be enjoyed.