|“||I have love in me the likes of which you can scarcely imagine, and rage the likes of which you would not believe. If I cannot satisfy the one, I will indulge the other.||„|
|~ The creature threatening Victor Frankenstein|
Frankenstein's Monster is the main antagonist of the late Mary Shelley's 1818 novel Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus, as well as its many film, television, and stage adaptations. He is a being created from parts of corpses and brought to life by Victor Frankenstein, who seeks revenge on his creator for bringing him into a world that fears and hates him.
While Frankenstein's Monster has been portrayed by several actors over the years, he was most famously played by the late Boris Karloff in the 1931 film Frankenstein, and its sequels, The Bride of Frankenstein (1935) and Son of Frankenstein (1939). He has also been portrayed by the late Lon Chaney Jr., the late Bela Lugosi, the late Glenn Strange, the late Christopher Lee, Robert De Niro, Aaron Eckhart, Jonny Lee Miller, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Rory Kinnear.
In the Novel
In Shelley's novel, medical student Victor Frankenstein creates the monster (whom he never names) from pieces of corpses, and brings him to life through unnatural, ambiguous means involving electricity and chemicals. Horrified by the monster's hideous appearance, Frankenstein flees from his creation, who wanders, confused and frightened, through the nearby village in nothing but a cloak he found in Frankenstein's laboratory.
The creature is attacked by a mob of villagers, and flees into the woods, where he hides in the attic of a family's remote cottage. He learns to speak from listening to the family talk, and to read by perusing the library kept by the family's elderly grandfather; he soon becomes very eloquent, even poetic. He comes to love the family, even though they do not know he exists, and leaves them food he finds in the forest.
He finally summons the courage to leave the attic, and introduces himself to the grandfather, who is blind and therefore does not judge him by his appearance. The old man is grateful for the company, and they have a pleasant conversation until his children and grandchildren return home from an outing; they are immediately terrified of the monster and chase him away. Heartbroken and enraged, the monster sets fire to the cabin, killing the family. He then finds Frankenstein's diary in his cloak pocket and learns of the circumstances of his "birth". He swears revenge on his creator for bringing him into the world only to be feared and mistreated, and sets out to find him.
Soon afterward, he meets a young boy and tries to befriend him, unaware that the child is Frankenstein's younger brother, William. Upon learning who the boy is, however, the monster flies into a rage and kills him. The Frankensteins' maid, Justine, is unjustly blamed for William's death and hanged.
The creature later meets with Frankenstein, and offers to leave him and the rest of humanity alone if he builds a female mate for him. Frankenstein reluctantly agrees, and builds an undead female creature. He changes his mind at the last minute, aghast at the idea of the two creatures mating and reproducing, and destroys it. Enraged, the monster promises Frankenstein that, if he cannot have a wedding night, he will be with Frankenstein on his; Frankenstein realizes that the creature is threatening his fiancee, Elizabeth. The monster makes good on his threat by breaking into the Frankensteins' castle on Victor's wedding night and killing Elizabeth, as well as Frankenstein's best friend, Henry Clerval, and causing his father, Baron Frankenstein, to die of grief.
With nothing left to live for, Frankenstein dedicates himself to destroying the monster, and follows him into the Arctic, where he contracts pneumonia. He is picked up by a passing ship, but dies after relating his story to its captain. The monster boards the ship intent on killing Frankenstein, but upon finding him already dead, is suddenly overcome with grief, having lost the only family he has ever known. He swears that he will atone for destroying Frankenstein's life by traveling to "the northernmost extremity of the globe" and taking his own life in a pyre. He then disappears into the tundra, never to be seen again.