->''"Cursed, cursed creator!"''
%%[[caption-width-right:168:some caption text]]

''Frankenstein'' (full title: ''Frankenstein; [[EitherOrTitle or, The Modern Prometheus]]'') is a novel by Creator/MaryShelley, originally published in 1818, with a 1823 reprint without Shelley's involvement and a third edition in 1831, this time with significant edits from the author. It is often considered the UrExample of the entire genre of ScienceFiction.

The novel tells the story of a scientist named Victor Frankenstein who unlocks the secrets to CreatingLife, and uses this knowledge to create an artificial man, larger and stronger than most mortals, [[AndSomeOtherStuff by means that he declines to describe in his narrative]]. While he is initially triumphant with his success, a few moments of observing the flailing and moaning patchwork being leaves [[UncannyValley Victor disgusted by and fearful of his creation]]. He suddenly [[GoneHorriblyRight realizes the full ramifications of his success]] and is horrified; he abandons the Creature and flees to his family's estate.

In his absence, the Creature is forced to come to grips with suddenly finding itself alive and alone without explanation or guidance. He learns about humanity by watching a family cottage from afar, but is again driven off when he [[ReluctantMonster attempts to offer his friendship]]- one of many bad run-ins with humanity which leave the monster [[DespairEventHorizon bitter and cynical]]. Eventually, the Creature comes to [[DisappearedDad resent his creator, whom he views as his father]], for abandoning the Creature to a life of torment, and decides to come home to seek vengeance against Frankenstein...

The subtitle, ''A Modern Prometheus'', compares Victor Frankenstein to the Greek titan [[Myth/ClassicalMythology Prometheus]], who brought the secret of fire from Mount Olympus to mortal men, reflecting on Frankenstein's spiritual would-be theft of the secret to creating life -- but like Prometheus, Frankenstein also came to regret his transgression.[[note]]As a note, Prometheus also created man himself and could see into the future, his name meaning "foresight". One interpretation is the parallel between Victor and Prometheus' acts of creation. Additionally, Prometheus knew what would happen to him when he took the flame.[[/note]] Many would say that ''Frankenstein'' was the ultimate warning of ScienceIsBad, though similar stories were common throughout the industrial revolution and it is not even clear whether the act of creating the Monster was bad in itself, if the world wasn't ready for it, or Frankenstein was just a [[ParentalAbandonment horrible]] and [[AbusiveParents abusive]] parent.

''Literature/TheVampyre'' by John William Polidori happened to be written around the same time, while both authors (along with her husband Percy Byssche Shelley) stayed at a villa near Lake Geneva during the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Year_Without_a_Summer summer of 1816.]]

This novel has been adapted into a minor subgenre of movies and sequels, as well as a stageplay, which was somewhat more faithful to the book then the movies were. It was also adapted into a manga by Creator/JunjiIto. For a list of the films, see Franchise/{{Frankenstein}}.

!!The novel provides examples of:

* TheAloner: The Monster, because everyone's so damn terrified of him.
* AmbitionIsEvil: Frankenstein warns Walton not to be as ambitious as he was.
* AndSomeOtherStuff: Frankenstein describes his research in broad strokes, and the exact process of creating the Creature not at all. The in-story justification for that is that he doesn't want anyone else to repeat what he did.
%%* TheAnnotatedEdition
* ApocalypticLog: Maybe, depending on whether you think Walton survives his expedition.
%%* ArtificialHuman
%%* ArtificialZombie
* AsYouKnow: The title character receives a letter from his sister which tells him his own life story in nauseating detail. As well as explaining how servants are a different form of employee in his own country to in England.
* BeautyEqualsGoodness:
** Played straight with Elizabeth, Justine, and Henry.
** Averted with the Creature, who started out a hideous but innocent individual and only became villainous because of constant mistreatment.
* BigBad: All the damage is caused by the creature's pursuit of vengeance.
* BlankSlate: The Creature starts out as one.
* BlindAndTheBeast: The Creature tries to befriend a blind man, and it works! Except the man's family returns and casts out the Creature before he can explain himself.
* BodyHorror: Implied. The Creature's appearance is never precisely described, but is apparently so horrifying that one look makes everyone who sees him – including his own creator – want to destroy him. Oddly enough, Victor describes the monster's body pre-animation as beautiful, save for its horribly unsettling eyes, so it may not be ugly so much as UncannyValley.
* BrainFever: Frankenstein has two bouts in the book.
* ByronicHero: Both Victor Frankenstein and the Creature. Given that Creator/LordByron himself was present at the novel's inception, both this novel and its "brother", John Polidori's ''Literature/TheVampyre,'' which was a massive TakeThat at Byron after his behaviour on the trip, could be considered the TropeMakers outside Byron's own work.
* CallingTheOldManOut: The point of the monster's meeting with Victor is to do this.
* CannotSpitItOut: Victor keeps the monster a secret, justifying this by saying that people wouldn't believe him anyway or call him mad. He still refuses to divulge the truth when Justine is tried for the monster's actions and eventually executed.
* CharacterFilibuster: By technicality. The story is supposed to be Frankenstein narrating his story to the captain of the ship that rescued him from the ice. When the POV switches to the Creature, it's in the form of the Creature telling Frankenstein his tale, which Frankenstein repeats back in his own tale. The technical literary term for this is a [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diegesis#In_literature hypodiegetic narrative]], making the Creature's monologue within Frankenstein's monologue within Walton's monologue a hypohypodiegetic narrative. [[SesquipedalianLoquaciousness There's one to impress your English teacher!]]
%%* CharlesAtlasSuperpower: The Creature.
%%* ChildhoodFriendRomance: Victor and Elizabeth.
* CycleOfRevenge: The Creature seeks revenge on Victor for abandoning him, causing Victor to hate him in return. Basically, one act of hate leads to the other retaliating in kind [[spoiler:until Victor dies a miserable man and the Monster is so horrified by what he had become that he commits suicide.]]
* DeathOfAChild: [[FrankensteinsMonster The Monster]] starts a vengeful killing spree against his creator, [[MadScientist Victor Frankenstein]], by brutally murdering the man's little kid brother William.
* DownerEnding: [[spoiler:Victor Frankenstein dies on Walton's ship without ever taking revenge on the monster for his murders of William, Justine, Henry, and Elizabeth. The monster visits Walton, expresses regret for his murders, and leaves to commit suicide.]]
* DramaticallyMissingThePoint: After Frankenstein breaks his promise to make the monster a bride, the monster tells him, "I'll be with you on your wedding night." Frankenstein thinks the monster means he'll kill ''him'' on his wedding, and after the wedding, waits outside his honeymoon cottage with a loaded shotgun, waiting for the monster to come, with Elizabeth waiting in the room. But [[spoiler: it turns out, the monster meant he would kill ''Elizabeth'' on the night of their wedding, and does so when Frankenstein is outside waiting.]]
* EitherOrTitle: The entire title of the book is ''Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus''
* ExactWords: The Creature; upon hearing Victor say "Just go! I cannot bear to look at you any longer!", he covers Victor's eyes with his hand and says "Now you don't have to look at me."
* FinalSpeech: Frankenstein at the end, in which he warns Walton not to be too ambitious and seek happiness instead.
* ForTheEvulz: While making the Creature's mate, Frankenstein worries that she might start killing people with this justification after he finishes making her.
* ForScience: Victor's initial motivation for the Monster's creation, though mixed with personal motives due to the recent death of his mother.
* FramingDevice: Gets kind of ridiculous when you realize that you're reading Walton's letter to his sister recounting Victor's story recounting his Creature's monologue. This particular form (through Walton's letters) is called an Epistolary Frame.
** Even more ridiculous when you realize that it's a single letter of more than two hundred pages.
* FrankensteinsMonster: TropeNamer and [[{{TropeMaker}} Maker]].
%%* GoneHorriblyRight
* GratuitousLaboratoryFlasks: Just about any given cover will have this in full effect. The Bernie Wrightson edition of ''Frankenstein'' goes one step further; all depictions of Victor Frankenstein's work area throughout the book are so chock full of glassware that they can serve ''no'' practical purpose to Frankenstein whatsoever, and, indeed, seem to play no role in his work.
%%* HaveAGayOldTime: A ''lot''.
* TheHeroDies: [[spoiler:Victor dies of illness on Walton's ship.]]
* {{Hubris}}: One of the themes of the plot.
* HumansAreTheRealMonsters: Not really. The Monster picks up this ideal towards the end, but realizes how wrong he is. Also subverted when he was observing the family towards the beginning -- especially when the blind grandfather started to warm up to him.
* IdiotBall:
** Frankenstein decides not to create a female mate for his Creature so that they cannot multiply. He could have simply made the female infertile.
*** FridgeBrilliance: The monster cynically thanks Frankenstein for getting at least one thing right, giving him a fine mind (see Instant Expert below). Had the Creature been allowed to observe the entire process of his mate's reanimation, it would be a simple matter of reverse engineering the process to reanimate "children" of their own- ''[[TheExtremistWasRight and pass along the knowledge to their descendants, creating a race of undead superhumans.]]''
* IronicName: Victor. He declared himself as victorious over death itself. [[GoneHorriblyRight He was.]]
* InstantExpert: The Creature learns to speak and read French in less than a year of watching a family teach a foreigner. After just a few months he's already good enough to read ''Literature/ParadiseLost''! May be justified by Victor having him made from the get-go with "adult hardware," so to speak, which would've made it easier to learn things quickly.
** Further evidenced by the Creature literally tracking the undeniably brilliant, well-connected, and well-funded Victor to the ends of the Earth while avoiding notice or winning over those frightened by his appearance.
* IntelligenceEqualsIsolation: Victor intentionally isolated himself in order to pursue his intellectual interests.
* JacobMarleyWarning: Victor serves as a warning to Walton, who is in danger of becoming as obsessed with his exploration as Victor was with the science that led to the creation of his monster.
* KissingCousins: Victor Frankenstein and his fiancee Elizabeth are cousins who were raised in the same household. In the 1831 edit of the book, Elizabeth was an orphan, originally the daughter of a Milanese merchant. She was fostered by a poor Italian family and adopted by the Frankensteins.
* LamarckWasRight: Frankenstein destroys the half-formed she-Creature that he was building for the monster because he feared that the two would breed a race of terrifying creatures like themselves and take over the world.
* LightningBruiser: Unlike his movie counterpart, the Creature in the book is both superhumanly strong AND very agile.
* LiteraryAgentHypothesis: The introduction frames the story as a letter from a sea captain to his sister after picking up the title character in the Arctic and copies his story down.
* MadeOfIron: The monster can survive much harsher conditions than a normal human.
* MilesToGoBeforeISleep: By the end of his narrative Victor is miserable enough to become a DeathSeeker, but he promised himself and his dead family that he'd kill the monster first. Unfortunately for him the monster just happens to be really, ''really'' good at not being killed.
* MiscarriageOfJustice: The Creature frames Justine for the murder of Victor's young brother, and she's executed.
* MotherNatureFatherScience: Elizabeth expresses more of an interest in the arts and philosophy, while her cousin Victor pours all his energy into the study of alchemy and the physical sciences.
* MoustacheDePlume: Creator/MaryShelley first published the book anonymously, leaving people to assume she was male. And with good reason: upon her reveal, literary critics of the time actually downplayed the book because of the author's gender.
* MyGodWhatHaveIDone:
** The monster in the end, as he realizes that, after killing all those people and his 'father', he finally became the monster everybody thought he was.
** Victor himself, from Chapter 5 onward.
* NatureVersusNurture: Frankenstein believes the monster is naturally evil, but the monster believes that he became evil due to Frankenstein's immediate abandonment of him (and he's shown to be right).
* NestedStory: At the deepest level-the family on whom the monster is spying is telling a story, within the monster's story to Frankenstein, who is in turn recounting the story to the captain of a ship bound for the North Pole, who is in turn telling someone else about it in a letter.
* NeverMyFault / TheUnapologetic: Victor, who even on his death bed condemns himself for creating the Creature, but exonerates all of his subsequent actions.
** Averted with the Creature, who [[FreudianExcuse blames Victor and humanity at large]] for turning him evil, but still expresses remorse for his actions.
* NoNameGiven: The monster doesn't have a name, though Shelley apparently called him "Adam" in letters to friends.
* NoGoodDeedGoesUnpunished: The Creature gets shot in the shoulder for saving a little girl from drowning.
* NotBloodSiblings: Victor and Elizabeth. They were raised as siblings, but are actually cousins.
* ObliviouslyEvil: The Creature, at first.
* OnlyAFleshWound: Averted; when the Creature gets shot in the shoulder, he faints, and it took weeks for him to recover. And he's much stronger and tougher than the average human.
* OrwellianRetcon: Mary Shelley revised the novel heavily between its original release and its first re-release, making it less ambiguous whether the Creature was evil by the end or not.
* OutOfGenreExperience: The Creature learns French by secretly observing a woman being taught the language. We get a ''lot'' more detail on her backstory than is really necessary.
* ParentalAbandonment: A symbolic example, as Frankenstein disowns his creation. Also, Justine and Elizabeth.
* ParentalFavoritism: It's directly stated by Victor that Elizabeth was his mother's favorite.
* PlatonicCave: During the Creature's narrative.
%%* ProperLady: Elizabeth
* PoorCommunicationKills: If [[CannotSpitItOut Victor had told a few key people about the monster]], ''a lot'' of trouble probably could have been avoided.
* PowerTrio: The three children who together represent the ideal man.
%%* PrintLongRunners
%%* ProtagonistTitle
* PunnyName: The name 'Victor' is actually a sneaky reference to ''Literature/ParadiseLost'' (a big influence on the story), as Milton often refers to God as 'the Victor'. Then [[DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything the Monster equates himself with Adam....]]
* PurpleProse: Suffers from this in parts.
** It's more like ultraviolet prose. So much so, that the highlighter across the room is glowing like a portable sun.
** This is probably due to Percy Shelley's revisions, which changed Mary's prose to be as unnecessarily complicated and melodramatic as possible. For instance, he changed "I do not wish to hate you" to "I will not be tempted to set myself in opposition to thee."
* RevengeByProxy: The Creature decides to get revenge on Frankenstein for its own wretched existence by making him suffer, so he kills Frankenstein's youngest brother, followed by his greatest friend, and then on Frankenstein's wedding day, the monster strangles his bride.
* RousingSpeech: Victor Frankenstein gives an epic one to the soldiers on Walton's boat near the end when he wants them to continue northward.
* SatanicArchetype: After reading ''Literature/ParadiseLost'', the Monster identifies himself with the Devil. After all, both are wretched creations who come to rebel against their masters.
* SceneryPorn: It is from the Romantic period, after all.
* SesquipedalianLoquaciousness: A modern reader should keep a dictionary within arm's reach while reading the original text.
* SinisterMinister: It's a Catholic priest who forces Justine to confess to a murder she didn't commit, which ends up getting her executed and sends Victor into an extreme fit of grief and remorse. It also prevents any further investigation into the actual murderer, who Victor assumes to be his monster.
* SmiteMeOMightySmiter: Homeward bound from Ingolstadt, depressed Victor walks outside into a thunderstorm one night, and ''screams at the sky.''
* SternChase: After all of Victor's family and friends are killed, he ends up in a lengthy pursuit of his creation, eventually reaching the Arctic. This is where Walton finds him.
* StupidSacrifice: Justine. There was no earthly way she could have committed the murder for which she was executed, which should have been really obvious.
%%* SympatheticMurderer
* ThenLetMeBeEvil: The Creature, after he's had enough abuse and mistreatment.
* TheseAreThingsManWasNotMeantToKnow: The dark knowledge that Victor learns to use to create his monster.
* TheyCalledMeMad: What Frankenstein fears they'll do if he tells people about the monster. They do call Frankenstein mad eventually, but to their credit, Frankenstein had been delusional with BrainFever for a time.
* TorturedMonster: The monster is a very intelligent Creature that is fully aware of how hideous and repulsive he is. Anything wrong he does is borne entirely out of bitterness from how people treat him.
* TragicMonster: It doesn't get more tragic than the Creature. Created and immediately abandoned by its creator for being ugly, before it even really wakes up. Made innocent, his nature is soon twisted by circumstance into something horrible and evil, alone, wretched and violent. The worst part, however, is that he knows exactly how wicked he has become but knows he cannot change. [[spoiler:After he has succeeded in destroying his creator during a hunt in the frozen wastes of the Arctic, he mourns the doctor's death. The Creature decides to end his own existence by building a funeral pyre for himself and climbing on top of it.]]
%%* TurnedAgainstTheirMasters
* UnbuiltTrope:
** This was one of the first major "monster stories". But going back and reading it now, after growing up exposed to generic FrankensteinsMonster stereotypes where it wanders around aimlessly, groans, and kills people, one may be a bit surprised to find an urbane {{woobie}} of a monster who is in many ways more sympathetic than his creator and quotes liberally from literature. He also carries firearms for self-protection. The only things that make him appear inhuman are his height and [[UncannyValley his eyes]], and it's decidedly ambiguous whether Frankenstein's true crime was [[ThingsManWasNotMeantToKnow creating the monster]] or a form of ParentalAbandonment. And although it's [[AlternateCharacterInterpretation up for a lot of interpretation]], the monster is probably not AlwaysChaoticEvil.
** Also, there's no [[TheIgor Igor]] or peasants waving TorchesAndPitchforks while running up to the castle—or for that matter (with occasional exceptions) any public knowledge of the thing at any point. And there is no proper castle; the monster is created in an upper-floor laboratory of a university. The Frankenstein family has an estate, but it's never stated as to how extravagant or not it is in size.
** The physical abilities are also subject to this: the typical view of the Creature is that he is [[ZombieGait slow and inarticulate]], with only physical strength [[DoesNotKnowHisOwnStrength that it possesses little control over]]. In contrast, the Creature in the book [[LightningBruiser is strong, agile]], and quite dexterous; as noted above, he also knows how to use firearms by the end.
* UncannyValley: [[invoked]] An in-unverse example: Frankenstein explains that he had to make the creature 8 feet tall to successfully construct the tiniest parts of him. The result is a monster that everyone is scared of at first glance, including the creature itself.
* UnreliableNarrator: Victor portrays his family as the perfect happy family at first, but if you pay attention he contradicts himself in a few places and the Frankenstein family doesn't look so happy after all.
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: [[invoked]] At the end, Victor's brother Ernest is left unaccounted for; the entire rest of the Frankenstein family is dead.
%%* WhatMeasureIsANonHuman: The Creature.
%%* WholeEpisodeFlashback
* WomenAreWiser: The women of the novel are all beautiful, religious, intelligent, gentle, and far happier than any of the men.
** Interestingly, when Victor starts creating a female monster for the Creature, it occurs to him that the female monster will be just as intelligent as the male, and has neither made any promises to abstain from violence, nor consented to be the Creature's bride. He even ponders the idea that she will rebel against the two of them trying to control her, creating a ''second'' angry crime against nature. The She-Creature is never even completed, but Frankenstein imagines her more complexly than any other female character.
* YearX: The dates in the letters are written as 17--.
* YouNeedToGetLaid: The Creature requests that Victor make him a female companion, and in exchange he and his Bride will go off somewhere and never bother anyone again.