Victor Frankenstein: Romonstercist

October 28th, 2010

Analysis of Victor Frankenstein’s motives for creation, as well as his creative product the monster, do well to portray Frankenstein as a Romantic creator. Firstly, his interest in the sciences is not culled from aspirations of fame, fortune, or any other material ambitions, but rather from obsession and fascination with the “wild fancies” of Paracelsus, Magnus, and Agrippa (22). This fascination was not grounded in whether or not the information was practical or realistic, but rather the imagination they express and the expansive notions of perceiving the world that they suggest. Furthermore, his amazement at the force of electricity when he was younger (said to have overthrown the control of his mind held by the aforementioned scientists) conveys his interest with harnessing tremendous forces of nature through experiment (23).

Frankenstein is further expressed as a romantic with his very non-religous view of cemetaries:

In my education my father had taken the greatest precautions that my mind should be inmpressed with no supernatural horrors. I do not remember to have trembled at a tale of superstition, or to have feared the appartion of a spirit. Darkness had no effect upon my fancy; and a church-yard was to me merely the receptacle of bodies deprived of life, which, form being the seat of beauty and strength, had become food for the worm. (30)

While in some ways this reflects thoroughly unromantic attitudes in its thoroughly callous view of the burial ground of dead life, in other ways his devotion of his time and efforts (both physical and mental) represents a romantic spirit as he in comes to embody a certain supernatural quality to him as he is pursuing re-animation. Such a pursuit is an experiment challenging notions of transience and mortality; a common motif in a lot of Romantic period writings.

The extent to which Frankenstein became so engrossed in his experiment was another reflection of his romantic leanings. The more time he devoted into his work, the less attention he gave to himself. In many ways, his creation of the monster was his romantic work, and the physical strain he put upon himself in his devotion he had represents the romantic obsession he had with his fascination with his pursuit of his seemingly surreal, idealized vision superseding his attention to self-maintanence and sustenance.

Although he does become revolted at his creation upon it’s completion, the monster serves as an extension and reflection of Frankenstein’s romantic leanings. The monster’s struggle to integrate with society, the monster’s ability to appreciate beauty yet feel himself to never be able to integrate that, all are motifs from romantic period literature, and while Frankenstein may not have intended his creation to convey such a message, it is perhaps that lack of expectation/consideration for after-effect render him all the more romantic. Through his re-animation of life, Frankenstein created a work of sorts that went through the scope of human emotions and conflicts between idealizations/expectations and realistic/societal confines. As such, his monster, towering at 8 feet, may be the biggest romantic poem of all-time.

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One Response to “Victor Frankenstein: Romonstercist”

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    Victor Frankenstein: Romonstercist at Desmond Zantua’s ENG399 Honors Blog

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