In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and in The Book of Genesis, Victor Frankenstein and the Christian God both create intelligent beings that are seemingly dependent upon their masters mentally and emotionally. Victor and the Creature are obvious representations of God and Adam, and the events in the two accounts parallel and differ from each other in many ways. In both creation narratives, Shelley and Moses address the concern with the use of knowledge for evil purposes, the treatment of one’s “son,” and the Monster and Adam and Eve’s contributions to the downfall of humankind.
In the Book of Genesis, Adam and Eve use the knowledge that they acquire in total disregard to their creator; through their curiosity, they defy God and His commandments. The couple had been warned about eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. God told them, “you must not touch it, for when you eat of it, you will surely die. ” (Gen. 3:3b) Unlike Victor Frankenstein, God wished for His creation to prosper and bear fruit; He watched over them as His own children.
In Chapter 2 of Genesis, Moses describes God bringing life into Adam’s body as He lovingly, “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. ” The defiance that Adam and Eve committed against God angered Him greatly because of the trust that He had given them. Because of these acts, Adam and Eve, like the monster in Frankenstein, were rejected and punished by the One who created them. God’s treatment of the ignorant couple was not filled with negligence, resentment, or fear.
He created Adam and Eve with a calling and purpose, and though they were ignorant of the world around them, this ignorance was a gift of protection from the temptations of the material world. God was hurt by the couple’s disloyalty, and used curses to relay the anger and sadness He feels because of their betrayal of His trust, saying, “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.
By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; from dust you are, and to dust you will return. ” (Gen 3:17b-19) The consequences of Adam and Eve’s actions in the Garden of Eden, by record of this sacred creation narrative, have affected the human race from that time to the present. God states that, “Man must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life, eat, and live forever. Man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil. ” (Gen 3:22-23)
Once a person forms or creates a human with the capacity to think, feel, and understand the surrounding world, there is a certain sense of duty that the creator must uphold as long as he or she is able. Creation of human life is irreversible. Victor Frankenstein comments, “The accidents of life are not as changeable as the feelings of human nature. ” (34) After Frankenstein gives the creature life, Shelley gives him a being that will bless him as his “creator,” but also fears no repercussions from his maker if he transgresses.
Frankenstein’s Creature, then, blames Frankenstein for the ills that the world feels towards him because of his hideousness, but at the same time refuses to take responsibility for himself. “Remember, that I am thy creature: I ought to be thy Adam; but I am rather the fallen angel, whom thou drivest from joy for no misdeed. Every where I see bliss, from which I am irrevocably excluded. I was benevolent and good; misery made me a fiend. ” In Genesis, God gave Adam a companion. Adam was not merely a creation to fulfill an experiment but rather created to procreate and make more lives. He received nurtured care from God- a father figure.
God rejected Adam from the Garden of Eden yet never deserted him entirely. God created Adam with benevolent intentions. On the other hand, Frankenstein created the creature to further his own education. Frankenstein never had loving feelings towards his creation. One example of Frankenstein’s complete disregard for his creation is demonstrated by Victor’s inattention to the creature’s physical appearance. He builds the creature with an enormous frame and grotesque appearance. With his “profane fingers” he assembled his “filthy creation”- never considering how such a creature would be able to coexist with human beings or live normally.
However, God took responsibility for his creation, nurtured him, made him attractive and gave him a companion. Victor abandons the monster in his greatest time of loneliness and need because he cannot fully understand and accept the large set of responsibilities that come with creating a human life. In an encounter with Victor, the monster’s augmenting rage and the insecurities of his existence are evident in the words he says to his creator on the mountain when they meet: “All men hate the wretched; how, then, must I be hated, who am miserable among all living things!
Yet you, my creator, detest and spurn me thy creature to whom thou art bound by ties only dissoluble by the annihilation of one of us. You purpose is to kill me. Do your duty towards me, and I will do mine towards you and the rest of mankind. ” (68) Because of Victor’s rejection, the monster desperately retaliates as many people do in today’s world; he kills those closest to Victor, which forces Victor to feel the pain of not receiving the love and respect that he wants and deserves. Victor Frankenstein illustrates clearly how knowledge and the advancement of the human mind can be misused.
He becomes well educated in the areas of science during his school career, and continues his learning even after he begins to experiment and formulate his ideas to create the monster. Victor’s overindulgence in science takes away his humanity and robs his soul. He is left with the consequences of these actions without having considered the reality that his experiments may not have the desired effects. “… but now that I had finished, the beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled my heart.
Unable to endure the aspect of the being I had created, I rushed out of the room, and continued a long time traversing my bed chamber, unable to compose my mind to sleep. ” (34) Frankenstein becomes a slave to the monster as his pre-occupation with it takes over his mind and thus, his personal freedom is lost. Instead of facing his conscience and assuming responsibility for his experiment, he runs away from his creation at every turn. Victor Frankenstein’s ignorance, ill preparation, and abusive treatment towards the monster leaves him without any sense of belonging or hope for his future.
The Monster is a victim of curiosity, scientific advancement in technology, society’s prejudices, and of fear. He comments, “Of my creation and creator I was absolutely ignorant, but I knew that I possessed no money, no friends, no property. ” (Chap 13) He wanders aimlessly across the countryside searching for some place where he can live without ridicule or being ostracized, finally ending his search with the De Laceys, a family that had also been ostracized–exiled from France because of treason towards their government. Mary Shelley employs the theme of creation very heavily in her novel Frankenstein.
In Frankenstein and the Holy Bible, two aspects of creation appear. The first of these is whether the creator is prepared for His responsibility. The second is nurture and punishment to the creations accordingly, in order to further advance the mind and teach right and wrong. Using knowledge for purposes of evil, l and poor treatment of the uneducated is a reality that we all face. These narratives illustrate to our society how even today, the treatment of others and the preservation and positive usage of our knowledge is so crucial in creating a strong, confident community.