Frankenstein Loneliness Narrative
Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley, is considered one of the greatest literary works of the Romantic period. It is a tale of a man creating a monster, who then rejects it. Frankenstein, for decades, has been viewed as a horrific monster, but now, having studied both film and novel by Mary Shelley, and the author herself, I can see that the creature is not a monster, but is almost childlike.
Having taken an immediate interest to the particular scene of “The Creation” of the creature, I have decided to focus solely on that chapter for my comparative.The main difference I noticed from my first time viewing was the drama throughout the scene in the film, and lack of description, where as it is the opposite in the novel. The film adaptation has twists and turns and added small changes here and there to keep the audience interested, where as the actual novel focuses mainly on the descriptive aspects on the creature. Shelley has Dr. Frankenstein giving every detail of the creation from his “yellow skin” to his “shrivelled complexion and straight black lips”.
In the film, we have Branagh running around in his great fitness, swinging this great metal tub around his lab, with electric eels and loud, sharp music. It is focused on the appearance and drama, more so than the description. Another difference I noticed from novel to film was the state that Dr. Frankenstein was in. Shelley has him describing himself of having “worked hard for nearly two years ..
. deprived myself of rest and health”. The film adaptation of this is completely opposite to what the novel describes. Kenneth Branagh who both directed and starred in the film is in excellent shape.
He is well built and energized and excitable. After the creature has burst out from the metal container, he and Dr. Frankenstein have a struggle on the floor, and Frankenstein is in good enough shape to be able to lift the creature and attach him to the chains. Again, the film is dramatised more for the viewers’ pleasure. From watching both Mary Shelley’s film adaptation and James Whale’s 1931 version, there were again, more dramatised elements from Shelley’s 1994 version. The creation is probably the most important scene in each version, whether it is novel or film.
But again, in the older version things are more scientific and less focused on the drama. There is less going on in the scene, yet Dr Frankenstein seems more shocked and delighted that the creature is “alive”. This version seems less bothered with the dramatics of the scene, unlike Shelley’s version, which was not as well received by critics. Having learnt about the author Mary Shelley and her life prior to finishing Frankenstein, she had to deal with loss and death a lot herself, having lost her mother after her own birth and then numerous children throughout her life.Both the film and the original novel both highlight the themes of motherhood and loss. I noticed it more is the film as it was visually easier to observe.
The creature is first put in a large metal coffin-type container, which has been filled with amniotic fluid. This immediately is compared to the womb, which is almost “giving birth” to the creature. Eventually, the creature does wake up, and makes a dramatic burst out of the container, with amniotic fluid spilling everywhere, leaving him naked on the floor. This again, is related back to childbirth, and the waters breaking.Finally, after Dr Frankenstein eventually lifts the creature up and into the chains to secure him. When he gets lifted up into the air by the chains there is a very subtle bang on his head, and he appears to be dead.
This, once again relates back to childbirth and new borns. The fontanelle is obviously delicate and has been damaged by the bang, resulting in what appears to be death. The same would happen to a new born if such thing happened. One thing that is constant in both novel and film, is Dr.
Frankenstein’s commitment and obsession to complete this project.And eventually he completes his goal of giving life to an inanimate object. As he was obsessed with creating such a thing, the thought that it could go awry, which it does. Victor never thought that he could be horrified or frightened by his creation as he used such delicate and beautiful parts to create him. Frankenstein should have taken more time to think through his dream and the consequences that could come out of making that dream a reality. I think that Frankenstein was more interested in dreams than reality.
The dreaming part gave him an adventure but once he had made that dream a reality it was no longer an adventure for him and he had created something that was not meant to be. It was meant to remain a dream. As we can not visualize the reaction of Victor throughout this scene, I feel the film adaptation really helps us viewers to understand just how horrified and disgusted Victor was with what he did. Secrecy is a major theme in both novel and film. Victor continues to isolate himself from the ones who love and advise him, in order to finish his dream by creating life.
In the film, we see Elizabeth running frantically to Victor’s home urging him to pack up and leave with her to avoid the disease outbreak in the town. Victor, who is inches away from completing his goal, is rude and intolerant with Elizabeth until she leaves without him, isolating himself more. Dr. Frankenstein has an unhealthy obsession with finishing this project. So much so that it drags him into charnel houses in search of old body parts to steal and sow together in order to form a human.
Once the creature has been created, Victor is ashamed and embarrassed with what he did and refuses to talk about it, even to Henry.The theme of secrecy transforms itself, and is not linked with Victor’s shame and regret for ever thinking or hoping to have created a new life. Both film adaptation and novel, express the creation scene is different ways. The film is filled with drama and visual effects to keep us intrigued, while the original novel is full of details describing to us viewers exactly what the creature looked like. I feel, having both of them combined really helped me to understand Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.