Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
is one of the main literary works written by the author, where she explored different themes and issues which were important for her and for the society, which she lived in. At the same time, many themes and issues are still relevant today and the audience can still trace important issues raised by the author in her book. In this regard, the father-child relationships are particularly important in Frankenstein because the main characters, Victor Frankenstein, and his creature perform parts of the father and the son, although biologically they are not the father and the son. Nevertheless, it was Victor Frankenstein, who created the creature and, therefore, he was his father, while the creature could not treat anyone as his father but Victor, his creator. However, Victor Frankenstein, being the creator of the creature, has proved to be unprepared to become the father and Mary Shelley reveals the escaping strategy used by Victor as the father and sufferings of the creature as his son, but even though the father escaped and the son pursued, they could not live without the confidence of their eternal link and close father-son relationships.
Victor Frankenstein, the creator-father of his creature, intended to bring life to the lifeless piece of clay but he was unprepared to become a father. He failed to foresee consequences of his actions and he failed as the creator of a living being. No wonder he is shocked with his creation and Victor Frankenstein says: “I had worked hard for nearly two years, for the sole purpose of infusing life into an inanimate body. For this I have deprived myself of rest and health. I had desired it with an ardor that far exceeded moderation; but now that I have finished, the beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled my heart.” (Shelley, 137). In fact, Victor Frankenstein turns out to be a negligent father, who was not prepared for his fatherhood. He apparently did not think of the creature which he was going to create. Instead, he was driven by the mere strife of scientific experiment. He just tried to play God, being unaware of his responsibility as the father because, as the creator of the new living being, he was responsible for him since he was his father. Victor definitely ignored the prospect of his fatherhood.
At the same time, Marry Shelley conveys the feeling that many fathers may have in relation to their newborn babies, especially, if they were present during the labor and delivery of their babies. They may feel disgust and horror just like Victor Frankenstein had (O’Flinn, 199). In this regard, the feelings and emotion of the main character of the novel may be just the metaphorical representation of feelings and emotions fathers do have in the real life, while Marry Shelley just skillfully depicted them in a symbolic way.
On the other hand, the creature of Frankenstein, as his son, is confused for his knows nothing of the surrounding world and he has no one to support or to guide him in his reckless life: “Did I request thee, Maker, from my clay to mould me Man, did I solicit thee from darkness to promote me?”¯ (Sehlley, 163). The creature is innocent by his nature. He knows nothing of the surrounding world and he naturally looks for his father to assist him in the exploration of the surrounding world. However, instead of loving and caring father, he finds nobody. Instead, he sees his father fleeing from him in horror and disgust. Naturally, such behavior of his father, develops the strong feeling of inferiority in the creature, which he bears in him throughout his life. The creature believes that, if his father escaped from him, then he is not worthy of the society of other people and he is doomed to loneliness all his life. In such a way, Marry Shelley shows how sons learn from their fathers the possible attitude to them of other people.Ā In such a way, the behavior of the creature’s father shapes his low self-esteem and undermines his belief in his ability to lead a normal life just like other people do. As his father abandons him, he feels being an outsider in the society.
The creature feels loneliness and isolation from the society, while his creator abandoned him that made him desperate: “I, the miserable and the abandoned, am an abortion, to be spurned at, and kicked, and trampled on”¯ (Shelley, 172). In such a way, Mary Shelley reveals a profound psychological trauma, which the creature-son has suffered from Frankenstein-father. The son cannot recover after such trauma and suffers all his life. He is thinking over and over again what is wrong with him and why his father has abandoned him. However, it is obvious that Frankenstein-son expects for father’s love since he pursues his father not just to kill him but mainly to get answers to his question why the father has abandoned him.
In such a situation, Frankenstein being appalled with his creation avoids responsibility as the father. Instead of taking care of his creature, he escapes shortly after his creature is revived. Such negligent behavior is absolutely unacceptable for the father because it causes severe sufferings of the son and makes him inferior to the rest of the society. Victor created his creature with pleasure because he felt as if he was playing God and the life of a lifeless body is in his hand and power (Lew, 271). However, as he gave life to the piece of clay, he realized that he did not really want that creature which was his son anyway. Obviously, his escape proves the unwillingness of the father to communicate with his son. Throughout the novel the miscommunication between the father and the son is obvious. The father just escapes from his son, while the son pursues his father. But they are not a pray and a hunter. Instead the father is shocked and just does not know what to do, while the son is just want to be with his father and to learn from his father. What the son wants is just a piece of parental love, which the father is not willing to give.
On the other hand, Victor Frankenstein turns out to be the only person in the world, who was close in a way to the creature (Rauch, 229). This is why the death of Frankenstein meant the lost of last hope and the eternal solitude of the monster: “He is dead who called me into being; and when I shall be no more the very remembrance of us both will speedily vanish. I shall no longer see the sun or stars, or feel the wind play on my cheeks. Light, feeling, and sense will pass away; and in this condition must I find my happiness” (Shelley, 195). The son lost his father, even though they had never been really close to each other but still the son had the image of the father, who could love him and whom he could love in response. Instead, he pursued his father to death that probably provoked new complications in the unbearable psychological condition of the creature. He felt being responsible for the death of his father, who was actually the only person in the world he was somehow related to.
Thus, Frankenstein by Marry Shelley reveals the complexity of father-son relationships. On the one hand, the author creates the image of a negligent father, who is unprepared for his fatherhood. As soon as he realizes that he gave birth to the new life, he escapes in panic and terror. On the other hand, the author depicts the son, who was born innocent in a hostile world, where he had got no one to raise him up and to support him. He pursued his father to understand why he escaped him and eventually, the lack of parental support makes the son willing to murder his father. However, the death of the father makes the life of the son even worse as he had lost the last straw that could have connected him to the world of people.