Frankenstein

Creature versus Creator 12th Grade

Published in 1818, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein remains a revolutionary literary achievement whose iconic monster continues to captive modern readers. William Shakespeare, hundreds of years prior to Shelley, also cast a monster at the center of his fantastical The Tempest. It is Caliban, the illegitimate son of a witch and a devil, whose villainous nature is central to the scheme of the play. Both works explore our fascination with the “otherness” of monstrosity, the deformed and hideous creatures who wreck evil and destruction. In contrast to the “creature monster” are the creators - Dr. Frankenstein and Prospero- who function in an entirely different class of monstrosity. Dr. Frankenstein is a self-declared demi-god, arrogantly daring to create life without divine sanction, and in doing so brings havoc to his once stable world. In comparison, Prospero dominates his remote island, tyrannically employing his power to control the destinies of those around him. An analysis of these two levels of monsters, the “creature monster” and the “creator monster”, requires readers to confront the uncomfortable suggestion that it is Prospero and Dr. Frankenstein who possess truly monstrous qualities rivaling and in some ways surpassing their...

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