Mary Shelly and Frankensteins Monster

One thing I read once regarding Mary Shelly’s story which seared into my mind is that when the “monster” first peered into the window of a hut and saw the humans, he was charmed by them and wanted to benefit them in some way. It was only when they violently persecuted him that he turned hostile. I sometimes think I see a bit of that monster in each of us; we want to love and be loved but we are treated like monsters and so, quite naturally, we often become monsters. But perhaps my memory has failed me once again, so I should google on SparkNotes to refresh my understanding (oh, how low one can sink in old age!)

I became curious and went to SparkNotes to find one passage which substantiates something of what I remember about the monster wanting to love and help : The monster’s eloquent narration of events (as provided by Victor) reveals his remarkable sensitivity and benevolence. He assists a group of poor peasants and saves a girl from drowning, but because of his outward appearance, he is rewarded only with beatings and disgust. Torn between vengefulness and compassion, the monster ends up lonely and tormented by remorse. Even the death of his creator-turned-would-be-destroyer offers only bittersweet relief: joy because Victor has caused him so much suffering, sadness because Victor is the only person with whom he has had any sort of relationship.

Like the monster, I approach with affection to help the villagers, but I can only help in my monster fashion, with lateral thinking, but Heidi the villager, for whom I feel kindly, is horrified by my alien monster appearance and looks for a torch and a pitchfork… Mary Shelly’s story can never take a different direction… Prometheus is the homo sapens development of philosophy, then technology, the industrial revolution, and finally nuclear energy and genetic engineering, those things which escape from Pandora’s box (or jar) and can never by shoved back in. The the real monster is the renaissance and the industrial revolution. The persecuted monster is the Neanderthal, the aboriginal, who lived for thousands of years in harmony with nature, perhaps a life of only 30 or 40 years but a life filled with meaning, a hearty robust life with no need of medicine or healthcare because natural selection kept the species robust, no need for private property, an alien concept. But now, even the sickliest reproduce, and become increasingly dependent upon antibiotics while all the microbes, virus,fungi develop resistant strains. We live longer and longer, almost to 100 years, but our society worships youth and what is new and different. So our final years are empty and bitter and we are useless, extraneous. The only way we can survive is to grasp at wealth to support us in our declining years. We destroy the environment, we destroy ourselves by becoming that ghoul in Dorian Grey’s picture. We destroy each other with weapons of mass destruction pitted against terrorism. So, you see, for me to give Carlo that second sentence, I must make up a fairy tale, a lie. A happy-ever-after-ness which can never be. But I shall give this some more thought. Fairy-tales have their place and serve a purpose.


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