The Monster

By now I have a solid understanding of the story of Frankenstein, from reading the novel by Mary Shelley, watching Frankenstein (1931) and watching a similar movie that ties in the story of Frankenstein, Gods and Monsters. 

You may think that it is easy to depict that the monster is the creature; his appearance portrays that he is the monster. This is due to the fact that he is the big scary and abnormal creature so from the get go people assume he is the monster. However, when you break down the character and delve into his backstory, you realize that the Creature actually symbolizes innocence. Looking from another perspective you get the sense that the creator, Frankenstein is in fact the man behind the scenes who created the creature in the first place. Although Frankenstein’s intentions weren’t to create a monster and cause destruction, but indeed to create life and do something progressive that will change lives (literally). This being said I don’t think either are the monster. In this case society is the true monster in disguise. Society uses stereotypes and labels for the creature because he is abnormal and looks monstrous when in fact he is the opposite. monster in disguise, and this is all show through lighting in the movie Frankenstein (1931).


In the movie Frankenstein (1931), James Whale uses lighting to enhance the events in the movie, as well as using it in a way to shape the characters and their personalities. In some scene you can barley see what is on in the screen; in comparison, there are scenes where the light almost blinds the audience. The two contrasts of lighting represent innocence and darkness. We see this with the villages (society) vs the Creature and the Frankenstein.

This scene at the end is crucial, it symbolizes the innocence of the Creature and Frankenstein and darkness in society.

Rewinding to when the Creature was first engineered, the reveal of the Creature is the epitome of his innocence. This is shown from his dark shadow slowly turning around into the light. Right at that moment the creatures innocence is conveyed through the lighting, showing he has been born out of the dark and into light. 

Furthermore, his innocuousness is represented in the scene with the virtuous young girl who saw the creature as a friends where as everyone else saw him as a monster. The whole scene is lit up extending the pure innocence of both characters. It is obvious that the drowning of the girl was done unintentionally and it is communicated in his terrified face expression that he knew he did something wrong. The creature just saw the girl as a flower like the ones she was throwing in the lake, with the creature having no life experience, assumed that she would also float just like the flowers.  

Now let’s have a look at the creator, Frankenstein. As  I said earlier, his intentions weren’t to create a monster, he was trying to advance science. At first he thought he had created the impossible, bringing a person back from the dead. He even refers to himself as God, “now I know what it feels like to be God”. Something I noticed is when he confesses to the doctor what he has created a chandelier is turned on but the ray of light is just shining on Frankenstein the creator enhancing his idea that he is “God”.

As soon as Frankenstein realizes what he created automatically felt the guilt and blame. This was conveyed on his wedding day, the only focus he had was on the creature and how he could prevent any other deaths. Through out his wedding day the exposure was lightened, implying that Frankenstein is truly innocent, he would never want to hurt a soul. Further more I depicted the way his wife Elizabeth is portrayed. James Whale also uses lighting to show her character. She is also naive and she is the figure that enhances Frankenstein’s innocence.

As you can see from this image, the light is only shining on Elizabeth instead of lighting up the whole room.

Now that I have concluded that both Frankenstein and the creature are in fact not the monster. It is fair to determine that society is the monster. There actions towards the creature show that they immediately  jump to the conclusion that he is a monster just because of the way he looks, which is stereotypical.

Villagers burning the creature because their assumptions are that he is a destructive and a murderer.

Looking at a modern approach as a class we watched a movie called Gods and Monsters. The movie told the story of James Whale, the director of  the movie Frankenstein.  Here is a short summary of the movie if you haven’t watched it.

The movie isn’t entirely about Frankenstein but it is for sure a representation of the characters the Creature and Frankenstein, the creator. In the movie Clayton the gardener is representing the creature and James is indeed the creator. Through out the movie, James is trying to bring Clayton into his life. The same question goes for the movie, who is the monster? Again I don’t believe either are the monster. Clayton’s character develops into James’s companion, Clayton sees James pain and lonesomeness and tries to help him. Later on in the movie we discover that the reason James is so focused on Clayton is from his experience in the war. Clayton reminds James of a guy that James liked in the War, he gives him comfort and company.

James however, may seem like an evil figure but in fact he suffers the impact of the War since he was a soldier. We see this with his constant flash backs form the War that cause him to act out. James also implies that his eyes are the monsters, “the only monsters are here” (James Whale), and points to his eyes implying the past.  Lighting is slightly an aspect with the flash and darkness of his past memories.

Overall from reading the novel, watching the movie and a modern take on Frankenstein I was able to determine that the monster wasn’t any of the main characters that people may assume are. The lighting in Frankenstein enhanced and proved who the monster really was.Society plays a key role in shaping peoples characters. In the movie and novel of Frankenstein society plays a role on peoples actions such as the creatures. Society can also jump to quick conclusions and treat them like their stereotype.

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