Frankenstein is erroneously assumed to be a big green monster with a pin through his neck. Some know the truth that Frankenstein is, in fact, the doctor who made the monster. What those also likely know is how morbid and harrowing a read Mary Shelley’s 1818 Frankenstein is.
The big green monster—unnamed and really a translucent yellow—came to life by Dr. Victor Frankenstein. This being is the doctor’s life work, his ambition and grand accomplishment. But Frankenstein is quickly struck with terror by his creation. This terror seizes him for a long time. He falls ill and can’t shake the haunting images of his creature’s first moments of life. His recovery ebbs and flows. You think enough time has passed when another encounter with the beast sets him back. Frankenstein’s realization of what he had done leads to bitter and dismal lives for doctor and monster.
Frankenstein can be considered the recounting of a dangerous game of cat and mouse, driven by love and hate. The protagonist and his creation are pitted against each other. There are moments when peace seems possible, reconciliation likely, but otherwise the reader swirls in the darkest depression brought about by destruction and thoughtless aspiration. Death is added to death until there is nothing left but Frankenstein, his monster, and icy cold.
I had heard that Frankenstein was dark, but I had no idea just how dark until I read it. As far as themes that emerge, despair, despair, and despair leap off the page as you plumb Shelley’s somber tale.
Dark, harrowing, and somber are really synonyms for sad. It is a sad story about a man’s sad life because he decided to play God and give life to a creature when he had no business doing so.
Frankenstein is, for the Christian, a lesson in waiting on the Lord. In moving ahead with his creation (just because he could), Frankenstein failed to think through the ramifications of his passion and undertaking. How often do I do that? How often do I go because I can, sparing little thought or prayer to what might happen by my actions? Too often, unfortunately.
While Frankenstein was a good read to open my eyes to the hurt and comprehensive intensity of depression, I wouldn’t recommend it. It was dark, and that darkness had me running for the light.