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September 15, 2011

The Bride of Frankenstein

When we were asked last class to create an online dating profile for Frankenstein’s monster I began to think seriously about his request for a female companion. I knew from the start that there was something that bothered me about Frankenstein’s desire for a romantic partner, but I couldn’t put my finger on exactly what it was until you asked us to confront it directly in class. The issue of the creations desire for a bride first appears in the novel at the very end of Volume II, in Chapter 9, when the creature beseeches Victor, “You must create a female for me, with whom I can live in the interchange of those sympathies necessary for my being. This you alone can do; and I demand it of you as a right which you must not refuse”. The plea is in earnest, and after hearing the story of his life and of his many hardships, it is not the creature’s desire for a companion which is hard to understand. It is his desire of a romantic, female companion — whom the creature himself admits would have to be as deformed and inhuman as himself, in-order to tolerate a life together, “I demand a creature of another sex, but as hideous as myself. . . It is true, we shall be monsters, cut off from all the world; but on that account we shall be more attached to one another. Our lives will not be happy, but they will be harmless, and free from the misery I now feel.

My issue with the subject of the monster wanting a bride of his own species stems from his own creation story and history. He tells us himself that his experience in the world has been limited, he was born with no knowledge, and is almost entirely self-taught. He has existed for only about fiveyears, most of which he spent learning French and observing a single family. His knowledge of social interaction comes chiefly from watching Felix and Agatha through a crack in the wall. His ideas of beauty come only from knowing that human forms are acceptable and that his own form is frighteningly. During his time spent observing the De Lacey’s the creature describes members of both genders as being quite beautiful. This makes perfect sense. Although he eventually coming to grasp the French language vicariously with Safie’s help; the monster has never been educated on matters of sex or gender roles properly, so there is no reason to think that he should have a clear grasp on the inner workings of them.

Asking Victor to create a companion monster for him is in many ways warped and ridiculous. For one, it is unlikely that the creature would find her a suitable companion once she was animated. She would be dumb and viscous, as he first was. She would be a grotesque monster, a paragon of everything he hates about himself that he would have to look in the face. He would not be attracted to her, and she would have no redeeming qualities until he taught her to have them, and then she would just be a mirror-reflection of himself. Ultimately though, it is unlikely that his bride would accept  him. Being new-born and fresh to the world she would most likely fear his appearance and seek the company of more pleasant looking humans. The bride would have most likely fled her horror of a husband, and ended up on the same path as the creature, and Victor would have been doomed to have history repeat itself — again and again.

 

Filed by at September 15th, 2011 under Uncategorized
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