I just reread of this novel, which I read about twenty years ago. Obviously, there are many new insight gained.
First of all, I think most people will assume this novel as a horror novel, a Gothic monster novel. It made into many horror movies, right? That’s what I thought twenty years ago. But after a careful second reading, I get much more. (I read it in a translation version the first time, and I read the English version for the second time).
The monster in this novel is not just merely a monster which horrifies us. The monster is the monster created by science. The monster is the personification of science goes wrong.
On a deeper reading, Frankenstein story retold the myth of creation. It contained the tension between the creator and the creation. It is a myth told and retold over and over again. You can see it in the Bible’s Genesis, Greek theogony, and many other creation mythologies.
In Genesis, Adam was created by God. Initially he was innocent, until he gain knowledge from the fruit, which open his eyes. The same theme also occurred in Frankenstein. The monster was created by Victor Frankenstein. The monster initially was innocent and virtuous. He became a monster only after being rejected by the society. There is a hint of knowledge by picturing that the monster learned to read, and actually read Paradise Lost, Plutarch’s Lives, Volume 1, and The Sorrows of Young Werther. (Wow, this monster is more well-read then I do.) But a bolder reading will see that it is not telling about the creation of Adam, but the creation of Satan. In this case, Satan rebelled against God, just like the monster rebelled against Frankenstein.
The monster decided to wreck havoc his creator’s live, because Frankenstein refused to create a companion for him. It rings a bell again, a parallel with Book of Genesis. Only the difference is that God obliged to Adam’s request, and created Eve for him. It looks like that Frankenstein is crueler than God, even though the ending is pretty much the same, the creation was banished.
As an end note, I would like to ask a question. Is this novel a science fiction? Some would said yes, because it is dealing with a scientific theme when a creation went awry. But some others would said that it is just a horror novel, but a little pinch of science. In Goodreads, more people categorize it as a horror rather than a science fiction. I myself would say that it a literature. It might be categorized as a science fiction, but the ingredient is just not enough. It deals too much on the personality side, that it might be just become a psychological novel. Science fiction nowadays is a bit detached from the personality of the character, but instead focusing on the science itself. So, I will not group it with science fiction, but as a literary books.
So, THREE stars.