Back in Geneva, Victor's younger brother, William, is murdered. The Frankenstein family servant, Justine, is accused of killing him. Victor magically intuits that his monster is the real killer, but thinking that no one would believe the "my monster did it" excuse, Victor is afraid to even propose his theory. Even when poor Justine is executed.
Victor, in grief, goes on a trip to the Swiss Alps for some much needed R&R. All too conveniently, he runs into the monster, who confesses to the crime and tells Victor this story (if you're keeping track, we're now in a story-within-a-story-within-a-story):
The hideous progeny has won its Creator's blessing and, like anylabor of love, filled her heart with joy that can withstand theseverest ordeal.Mary Shelley and Victor Frankenstein both may be viewed asPromethean, but they are not equally narcissistic.
Wald- man is an inspiring scientist and a wise analyst, and hisstatement uncannily anticipates Kohut's affirmation ofhumanistic growth, particularly the realization that "Freud'swritings are not a kind of Bible but great works belonging to aparticular moment in the history of science -- great not becauseof their unchanging relevance but, on the contrary, because theycontain the seeds of endless possibilities for furthergrowth."In remaining committed to an ideal larger than the self, Waldmanescapes the paralyzing narcissism and solipsism to which Victorsuccumbs.So, too, does Mary Shelley avoid Victor Frankenstein's deadlyself-preoccupation.
The closing of the novel -- the Creature'swrenching farewell and Walton's awed description of the figurebeing "borne away by the waves, and lost in darkness anddistance" () --constitutes one of the most moving endings in fiction.There is only one character in who might notbe appalled at the Creature's appearance -- and who would not,therefore, echo Victor's monstrous rejection of him.
In (1973), Morton Kaplan and Robert Kloss wereamong the first critics to explore Shelley's intriguing use ofthe technique; subsequently, nearly every critichas alluded, if only in passing, to the way in which theCreature embodies Victor Frankenstein's monstrous sexual andaggressive passions.
After much persuading, Victor agrees. He drops off Henry in Scotland while he goes to an island in the to work. But, just before he finishes, he destroys the second monster: he's afraid that the two will bring destruction to humanity rather than love each other harmlessly. The monster sees him do this and swears revenge … again. When Victor lands on a shore among Irish people, they accuse him of murdering Henry, who has been found dead. He's acquitted, but not before another long illness.
The neglectis more surprising in light of the numerous reprintings of thenovel, its translation into many languages, and the legendarystatus of the Frankenstein movies. Freud was unaware of the novel'sexistence, and the early psychoanalytic literary critics ignoredit in favor of other stories.
We first see the Monster through the eyes of Robert Walton, who describes it as being "of gigantic stature". () This could arouse alarm rather than sympathy, and this alarm is reinforced when it is described in detail in chapter 5. Here, we find Victor call his creation a "catastrophe", "wretch" and "miserable monster" (). The Monster is hideous to look at and Victor feels he must run away to escape its clutches. All of this seems to indicate that it is, in fact, a true monster, something to be feared and capable of great harm. But Shelley is only allowing us to see it from Victor's biased point of view. When we hear the Monster's story, a very different impression is created. ()
Knoepflmacher's "Thoughts on theAggression of Daughters," which demonstrates that is a novel of emotionally distant fathersand absent mothers. A psychiatrist argues in a 1982essay that Mary Shelley conceived of herself as an "exception tothe rules," an individual who sensed that she had sufferedunjustly because of her mother's death. More recently, Mary Poovey fusesfeminist and psychoanalytic criticism in (1984), while William Veeder suggests in (1986) that the novelreflects the author's lifelong concern with the psychologicalideal of androgyny and its opposite, bifurcation. The briefhistory of psychoanalytic criticism on thusreveals a movement from Oedipal to pre-Oedipal approaches.Surprisingly, the narcissistic implications of the story havenot yet been directly confronted. Mary Shelley subtitled the "Modern Prometheus," but she could havealso referred to it as the "Modern Narcissus." Victor exhibits,in fact, all the characteristics of the narcissistic personalitydisorder as defined in : a grandi- ose senseof self-importance; preoccupation with fantasies of unlimitedsuccess; exhibitionism; cool indifference or feelings of rage inresponse to criticism; and interpersonal disturbances, includingexploitativeness, alternation between overidealization anddevaluation, and lack of empathy.
It commits many acts of kindness, especially for the De Laceys, whom it loves. When Felix later beats it, thinking his father's life is in danger, the Monster is moved to tears of anguish and rage. After being forced out of its hovel through no fault of its own, it then rescues a peasant girl from drowning. Its reward for this utterly selfless and kind act is being shot. () Shelley tells us that only after this do the Monster's "feelings of kindness… give place to hellish rage and gnashing of teeth". Most readers would have sympathy with this, given what the Monster has suffered. ()
The fact that Frankenstein "turned" from the monster "in disgust" is one of the central issues of the entire book and raises the question: is the monster innately bad, or was he made bad because his creator abandoned him?