Various comments on Frankenstein the film

“This film obviously has no understanding of the original plot (which is still current and worthy of discussion today), but the person(s) responsible did see “Bride of Frankenstein” and managed to screw up that plot as well when they tried to incorporate it into this film. The Mel Brooks film has more respect for Mary Shelly than this disaster. No wonder a discount chain sold this to me for $5.50. It wasn’t worth it, even at that price! The concept of putting together body parts is a contemporary consideration because we are now able to achieve this. The fact that this was written so long ago (by a woman who was challenged by her husband and a friend to see who could write the best horror story) should give it the historic respect it deserves. This film ignores the historic significance and current relevance of Mary Shelly’s work.”

(nb this is someone’s personal opinion but quite interesting)


See also these websites:

Wikipedia – Frankenstein in popular culture

From Book to Blockbuster: Frankenstein (1931) – by Ryan Brennan (very good)


Themes in Frankenstein:

A    Knowledge / education

lower classes becoming readers, but not having the social background to anchor the knowledge to = danger to society i.e. give the uneducated learning and they learn to be dissatisfied , they learn of the alternatives, the possibilities and then their status rankles and social unrest follows (black slaves / women / Chinese / bikes for cars)

B    Ambition

Walton has ambitions but eventually is persuaded to abandon them in order to secure his crew’s safety; Victor doesn’t – he has no sense of responsibility towards his creation.

C    Prejudice

Justine, the Turkish Merchant and Victor are all wrongly accused by people who abuse their authority: ‘rather ten innocent people should suffer than that one guilty one should escape’

p 82. The monster is beaten because of his ugly appearance. Victor, Justine and the monster are all imprisoned despite their innocence; (the monster’s is his hovel – a symbol of his exclusion and isolation.)

Until chapter 11 we see the monster as a devil: ‘abhorred monster! Fiend that thou art…Wretched devil.‘ Because we see him through Victor’s eyes – now we hear his own thoughts and see a different picture. The monster knows that he is a victim of injustice.

D    Revenge

Victor denies the monster his human rights so the monster becomes what he is called – a monster. In seeking revenge the monster is getting the only justice he can after Victor destroys his female so the monster evens the score and destroys Victor’s female – Elizabeth.

From Shelley’s diaries we know that she felt revenge is a savage and destructive emotion – see the monster’s last speech – he is disgusted with his own character and crimes and so his only solution is suicide.

E    The Meaning of the Monster

He is a symbol, a moral; his purpose is to explore different issues:

  • A moral tale – a parable about the conflict between good and evil or a warning about the dangers of scientific progress.
  • A Romantic tale – explores the ruins of two tragic heroes; symbols of loneliness destroyed by their own talents and needs.
  • A psychological tale – the monster stands for the destructive nature of ‘unnatural desires and dangerous ambitions or the dark side of Victor’s personality on the rampage (Jekyll and Hyde?)
  • A social tale – a story about parent/child relationships and the consequences of a father failing to perform his duties.
  • A political tale – the monster symbolises people who have been denied their human rights, freedom, equality and fraternity (see French Revolution). Victor stands for a tyrannical ruler.
  • A philosophical tale – which asks ‘what is the origin of evil?’ Does it come from within our nature or from the world around us? The monster begins as a good creature, innocent, but becomes a monster because of the way he is treated.