24 August 2015

Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley

Image taken from the Wikipedia.
Obviously the illustrator who did this had no idea how to represent
the creature Frankestein animated... It doesn't fit the books descriptions.

A story within a story within a story within a story.
I never cried reading a book… Until I read Frankenstein.

During this month I have been reading the great Gothic novel in the middle of the nights, alone… A brave man, captain of an expedition, sets course to the North Pole and writes letters and journals to his sister back in England, narrating the experience as the days pass by. Someday, while his vessel is stuck between big ice pieces, his crew sees the shade of a man of very high stature in the distance, which soon vanishes… Then soon they spot another man, almost deprived of life in need of urgent care and help.

They bring the sick frozen man onboard and the captain takes good care of him, and both grow a friendship. The rescued man is Victor Frankenstein, and he starts narrating his story to the captain, which then, journal it to his sister. It is very interesting as Victor starts his story not when he created The Wretched, but when he was a child. He talks about his earliest memories, the joys, the love of his family. n it progresses to his growing up and becomes definitely more exciting by the time he travels to Ingolstadt, as a young man, to study “natural philosophy”, which I believe would be similar to biology+chemistry+philosophy nowadays.
It is there that he starts the feverish urges to build his creature, to give life to unanimated bodies with the help of electrical impulses. For his finest creation, which never got a name in the story – and was always referred to as “daemon, fiend, wretched, wretch” – he collected bits and pieces of corpses during the nights and he worked always in the darkest hours, alone, consumed by his scientific passions. He then creates the most horrid of creatures ever seen by man, much taller and larger than a normal human, and the moments Victor animates it that he gets to see into the creature’s eyes, he falls into the deepest of abysses of his own conscience. He, in disgust and, curses the moment he had the idea to create such a thing.

Feverish and in a maddened state of mind, he runs away to his apartment and isolates himself there for the night, but soon the creature follows him and stares by the window and his yellowish daemonic eyes gaze at Victor, who trembles in horror. 

Then the story unfolds more and more, and other remarkable points, for me, are when Victor is back at his home in Switzerland and in the Alpes, on the top of a mountain amidst the glaciers, he and The Wretched meet face to face again and the creature starts narrating his story, of how he lived ever since he was created up to this current moment. THERE – it was the moment I cried. I’d say that was roughly ¼ to 1/3 of the book. My lips quivered as I red the lines and my eyes were so loaded of tears that they kept pouring that entire part, which lasted for several nights!!!

It was the saddest existence someone could have… Which ultimately led “the fiend” to succumb by his passions of crime. But I always saw him as a good soul, a fine, intelligent man created of the dead, and capable of the noblest of the feelings – as it also shows in the story – But Victor, ill of prejudice, I’d say and of thinking his condition as superior to the one of his creature, always refused to bestow The Wretched with the smallest amount of happiness or kindness.

This story leads to several existential questions, and in my opinion, it also resembles with the archetypes of “humanity” vs “god”, where humans are but miserable creations undergoing pain and tragedy, famine and decease, and yet who pray to a creator who is incapable of alleviating their burden.

I could write so much more… But I don’t bother for today.

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