In the book, “Frankenstein,” the creature is fast, sleek, powerful, and intelligent.
Far from the grunting beast in the movies, the book creature says things like:
“How can I thank you, my best and only benefactor? From your lips first have I heard the voice of kindness directed towards me; I shall be forever grateful; and your present humanity assures me of success with those friends whom I am on the point of meeting.”
There’s no Igor, by the way. No nonsense about mixing up the brains. There’s just a man, brought to life by another man, then abandoned.
In the book, the doctor is the real monster. His prejudices and pride make him repel the creature that he created. If he had respected him, loved him, or even showed him the tiniest bit of kindness or aid, the creature would have been a force for good.
Instead, like anyone who is constantly abused, looked at in horror, abandoned, and left to die, the creature was capable of violence and thoughts of revenge. He was no different from any other man.
But the movies changed all that, so when people talk about Frankenstein today, they generally mean the hulking and awkward man-animal from the films. That’s ok, I guess. I do feel a twinge when people say that the lesson from Frankenstein is that scientists shouldn’t play God.
But what’s bugging me today is a quote from a movie, where some scientist says something like, “Frankenstein should be required reading for all scientists.” And he means that scientists should be careful of what they create, because their pride might have them create something they can’t handle.
I just wish that the line had been “viewing” instead of “reading.” That’s all. In the movies, the doctor tries to care for the monster, but fire or something makes it go crazy. Fine. Unintended consequences. But the book was different, and if the screenwriter is going to pull a literary rabbit out of his hat, I wish he’d read the book in the first place.
Poor monster. I feel bad for him.