Follow TV Tropes


Headscratchers / Frankenstein

Go To

  • Okay, Real Talk: Is Victor a Villain Protagonist, or is that 200 years of Values Dissonance talking?
    • As unhelpful as it sounds a bit of both. Certainly Victor holds some attitudes of the time but at same time Shelley certainly didn't write him to be a hero. He has admirable qualities (both then and now) but these are often overwhelmed by his failings.
  • If Frankenstein was so worried about the monster breeding with the mate he was building, why didn't he just leave out the ovaries or something? He's smart enough to build and animate creatures, so surely he's smart enough to sterilize them.
    • The book was written in the nineteenth century. I doubt the author even knew what ovaries were.
    • Precisely. Frankenstein may have been a scientific genius, but Mary Shelley wasn't... although I'd have thought that, no matter how little she knew of biology, she could have surmised that there would be some way to make the bride "barren".
      • He could've just removed the uterus, they knew what that was for back then. Maybe, he was also revolted by the idea of creating another monster as well as the prospect of a whole race of them.
      • Victor was too much a perfectionist to deliberately omit or mar any part of his creation. Even with his fears about his monsters breeding, he was too committed to his ideals to let himself fail in any way. He'd already created a man, so if he was going to do the same with a woman, then he was going to go all the way, ovaries and uterus included.
    • Advertisement:
    • If the monsters were pieced together from pieces of dead humans then any children they produced would have inherited the DNA of whoever their ovaries and testes came from and would have been normal humans. Of course, this isn't a strike against the author or Dr. Frankenstein as they didn't know how heredity worked back then.
      • Also, it's never said that he creates the monsters from pieces of dead humans. The process is never described at all beyond, essentially, "I made a man and imbued him with the spark of life". It's even justified in-story, as he doesn't want anyone else to learn the secret of bestowing life.
    • Plus don't you think the creature would have eventually figured out why his wife couldn't have children and just go back to killing people?
    • Well, Mary Shelley got the idea partially from the works of Paracelsus (who is mentioned in the book). Paracelsus had a recipe for making homunculi by putting stuff like blood and semen and other thing in a jar and letting it grow into a creature. Maybe he grew the creatures and had no way of controlling whether or not it grew reproductive organs. (Although, if that's the case, how did he have the original creature have perfect proportions and pretty hair?)
      • Frankenstein states that he himself picked the monster's features somehow, choosing what he believed to be beautiful. It just turned out that when it came to life, everyone thought the monster was horrible.
    • Advertisement:
    • Remember that the creature in the original book is quite intelligent. Possibly it wasn't just the risk that the pair would breed that Frankenstein was worried about, but the risk that his creation would copy his method of constructing new creatures, had it observed its bride's "birth" from start to finish.
      • The Danny Boyle play suggests that Dr. Frankenstein takes on the task of creating a female Creature because he's intrigued by the challenge of making a perfect, beautiful Goddess of a creature. Maybe the Doctor decided that if he couldn't make the female "perfect," he'd rather not make her at all — and of course, what Victorian woman would be "perfect" without the ability to bear healthy, live children?
    • I think it was more that he was afraid the creatures would somehow be able to figure out a way to propagate anyway. You can interpret that he has a problem with femininity and reproduction throughout the novel; after all he did continuously leave Elizabeth and the domestic life, and when he's creating the monster he openly says he wants to be the only parent to it. You can extend that to say he would also want to be the only one "bestowing life" to the creatures, as it were, and if they were capable of reproducing on their own, the creatures' offspring wouldn't directly owe their life to Frankenstein.
  • If Dr. Frankenstein was so horrified by the monsters appearance, wouldn't common sense say make a better looking monster before it comes to life? I mean, you had been working on this creature for so long, you'd think after seeing it continuously it would kinda click in your mind. Dr. Frank-N-Furter had his mind right
    • "His limbs were in proportion, and I had selected his features as beautiful." Frankenstein did deliberately set out to create a good looking creature and chose the limbs to be in proportion, but when he was given the spark of life, he looked hideous. In a way, it's like creating what you think is the best looking animatronic model and then seeing how bad it looks on screen.
      • What I find appalling is that it doesn't click in Dr. Frankenstein's head that he's creating a body that's covered with stitches and bone-thin (which will look unattractive) and doesn't try and put extra layers of skin to cover the stitches/bones or a much more simpler approach: Take a whole, recently dead person and attempt to reanimate him/her. There were plenty of dead beggars in the streets if he didn't want to upset the upper class for zombifying their loved ones.
      • It doesn't actually say how Frankenstein created the monster in the book. Moreover, the point is that the monster should have been beautiful- perfectly in proportion, lustrous hair etc., except because of the monster's eyes (and the fact it's an artificial human full stop) it fell so deep into the Uncanny Valley it was seen as hideous.
      • We all know what it's like to work on something (say, this site or some other lengthy project) for so long that you're seeing spots in front of your eyes and you're sleep-deprived and starting to lose it. Even cramming for finals or working obsessively on something on an ordinary job can do that to a dedicated person. your spool unwinds a little bit. What happened to the Doc was just a more extreme version of that. To do what he did he had to get so into his work that he got blinded to all details, even what would seem bleeding obvious to anyone else, and his spool pretty much totally unwound for the time being in the process.
      • Frankenstein did try bringing a dead person back to life. It didn't work. He mentions that while he can revive dead flesh, he at that time had not discovered how to resurrect a whole person.
      • That does beg the question, though: why would bringing a whole corpse to life be any more difficult than bringing an assorted collection of bits and pieces to life?
      • If the monster is really as big as described then it was easier for Victor to work with his body in a time when microscopes didn't exist. He did more than just expose the body to an electric storm as seen in most movies.
    • Aside from the points above, it's also a metaphor for giving birth, influenced heavily by Shelley's own stillbirth. The creature's construction takes nine months, during which Frankenstein is utterly single-minded and optimistic in his goal. When the creature is brought to life, he specifically cites its jaundiced, transparent skin and watery yellow eyes (much like a typical newborn) when describing its hideousness. It mirrors post-partum depression and the experience of a mother expecting her infant to be a beautiful little copy of her and her husband, and after the ordeal of childbirth seeing a tiny discolored troll covered in blood, shit and amniotic fluid.
    • One might also consider that Frankenstein was doing something that nobody had ever done before. He had no previous body of work or research he could learn from, and was self-taught entirely from scratch, when it came to making the Creature. It's not surprising that his first attempt had an Uncanny Valley look. Frankly, it's astonishing that Frankenstein got so much right the first time, given how quickly the Creature learns and adapts. Realistically, Frankenstein's first few attempts would probably have been weak and sickly, dying after a short period of time, and/or so mentally stunted that they couldn't take care of themselves, and would be Too Dumb to Live.

  • Okay, so Frankenstein's monster, a perfectly proportioned 8 foot tall man (for reference, that's about the size of the Hulk in the Edward Norton movie), strangles a little boy. He then places a photo the boy was carrying in a young woman's pocket so she would be implicated in the crime. And people end up believing it? What the heck? When the boy's body is found it says that, "the print of the murderer's finger was on his neck." Since the monster was 8 feet tall, he must have had HUGE hands. The strangle marks left by his hands are left on the boy's neck and everyone thinks that they were made by a young woman? Am I the only one who had a serious WTF moment at this? I know that criminology didn't really exist yet, but just how dumb would you have to be not to notice that the strangulation marks on the boy are WAY too big for a woman to have ever made?
    • Well, all they had to go by in those days was observation and the means, motive, and opportunity. What would possess a servant woman to throttle the son of her master (I'm assuming she was a servant)? Means: Hire a big guy to do the deed so she can stay 'clean'. Motive: Revenge? Jealous love (the kid should've been hers, but wasn't. Crazy, I know.)? Maybe the kid was hers and she thought him a mistake? Maybe she just got fed up with the brat and decided to snuff him out? Opportunity: They were out on a trip together, and the boy managed to get himself seperated from the family. Of course, we know what really happened. I'm just considering what the police may have thought and discovering that photo in the woman's possession may have had confirmed it all for them. They got the woman who concocted the murder, but not the man who actually killed the boy.
      • The motive given in the court was theft of the locket the boy was carrying. It wasn't just a picture; the picture was in a valuable locket. It's implied, however, that the jury is horrified at the crime and just looking for someone to pin it on. When Elizabeth offers a strong character witness, the jury hates Justine even more because of her ingratitude toward one who loved her so much. To them, Justine's guilt was a foregone conclusion.
    • Plus, Unfortunate Implications ahoy: She was a servant woman. Back in those days, servants were seen as a class lower than the wealthy and were more often than not treated with minimum respect by the people they were working for. Sure they had some rights, but as far as society was concerned, a servant had little to no say. In Justine's case, the son of her master, the one who loved her so much, is now dead. She was doomed right from the start.
      • No. Sorry, just… no. This is interesting of course, but Justine is an orphan girl they took with them, much like Elizabeth herself. Not a servant. (though she does perform some housework out of gratitude)
      • To be fair, Elizabeth herself actually says, in a letter to Frankenstein, "A servant in Geneva does not mean the same thing as a servant in France and England. Justine, thus received in our family, learned the duties of a servant..." So Justine was a servant to the family, but she was treated well.
    • On the subject, why didn't Victor come up with a convincing lie close to the truth with which to defend Justine, one that wouldn't make him seem mad? He could have claimed that he had quarreled with a brutish man in Ingolstadt who had sworn revenge, and that, seeing this man on his return to Geneva, he had realized that the brute must be the murderer. Not an implausible story, and better than nothing at least.
      • One of Victor's many flaws, although the narrative doesn't explicitly state it, seems to be a lack of imagination. Yes, he's clever enough to crack the problem of how to create life, but he never thinks beyond that objective to contemplate what sort of a life the being he creates will have to suffer. He thinks about arguing on Justine's behalf, but it never crosses his mind that he wouldn't have to tell the whole truth to do so. He agrees to create a mate for his creature, but it only occurs to him that the resulting female may be just as miserable, hostile, or violent as his first creation until she's literally lying there ready to be animated. For a guy with an active brain, he really never lets his thoughts speculate rather than analyze.

  • Frankenstein creates the monster by stitching together body parts, which really makes no sense. Surely it would be way more practical to find one intact corpse than to string together parts from different bodies.
    • That's the route taken in Young Frankenstein, where the good Doctor and Eyegore make off with an oversized corpse.
    • Also in Branagh's version, where the monster is built from the base of recently-executed Robert De Niro and given the dead brain of John Cleese. What a weird movie.
    • Well, there aren't really that many "intact" corpses since you usually either die of injury or die of old age. If Frankenstein doesn't want his creation to have an elderly the body his only option is to find young ones, hence the injuries and need for stitching. And he probably knows better than to handle corpses of people who died of diseases.
    • In the book, he doesn't stitch pieces together. He constructs a man completely from scratch, albeit with raw materials taken from cadavers. He cites the minuteness of the parts as his chief difficulty, so he increases everything in size, right down to the veins.
    • Its actually explicitly stated that, "In time, he might be able to grant life after it had already left the body." Meaning that The Monster's body wasn't pre-owned.
    • Some adaptations justify his building a body piece by piece as him wanting to create a new life, not reactivate a pre-existing one.
    • Note that Frankenstein's second attempt to create life, before he abandoned the notion of providing a bride for the creature and destroyed it un-animated, was performed on a tiny island in the Orkneys with only five inhabitants and no reliable fresh water supply. If he'd been using stolen corpses for his work, whole or otherwise, he certainly wouldn't have picked a place that isolated and devoid of graveyards or gibbets.

  • The monster was a blank slate when brought to life; essentially a newborn baby, but with motor skills. In barely two years, he has learned to speak fluently, in two languages, simply by eavesdropping on a family. He has taught himself to read, and does so well enough to comprehend a book like Paradise Lost. WTF? I don't care how intelligent he is; with no teachers, tutors, or positive human interaction of any kind, this severely strains Willing Suspension of Disbelief. In two years, he simply does not have the life experience needed to grasp abstract concepts, especially with no one to ask questions of. The idea that he had a used brain with some leftover knowledge doesn't work either, because he explicitly says that he had to figure out basic things like keeping warm, eating, and finding shelter by himself.
    • It's possible that his brain absorbs information in a completely different way to regular humans.
    • I've heard alternative version of the tale stating that his patched-together tongue still remembered the words, and his brain still once remembered the thoughts. He was more than learning, he was "re-calling."
    • This isn't even mentioning the fact that he was 'born' an adult. His brain was already fully developed; this is opposed to being educated as a child, whose brain remains underdeveloped until around twenty-three years or so. It's not too much more plausible, but it could be a variable.
    • Read the first Tarzan novel and the description of how he learns English, and you'll find that the Monster is in good company.

  • The monster is created over the course of several months, from many different body parts. How did Victor keep the body from decaying?
    • The story mentions (at the very end) the monster's mummy-like skin. Could he be mummyfied?
      • Real mummies are always very brittle, so probably not. But possibly his skin was treated to convert it to leather.
    • Who says it didn't? There's a reason the Creature's stereotypically green.
      • Yeah, because of the makeup Karloff was wearing so he'd show up on camera.
      • A point of confusion, actually. The green makeup, to look pale in black and white, belongs to Dracula; the Creature from Frankenstein used a blue makeup, in order to look bruised from the surgeries.
    • Again, the book never establishes that the monster was created by stitching together dead body parts. That's from the Karloff movie and most of the film adaptations that followed. In the book, the monster is grown, closer to the jar-grown homunculus of Paracelsus' descriptions than anything else.

  • On occasion, the monster being called "Frankenstein" is justified by saying that he inherits his master surname. Fair enough, but isn't he technically the biological offspring of the people whose bodies were used to create him? Also, there does not seem to be much of a precedent in artificial life-forms inheriting the names of the scientists who created them unless the scientists were intending to raise them as children. No one ever gave Data the surname Soong.
    • Perhaps the more salient point is: it's not the like the novel calls him that, or any other source for well over a century. It's a persistent misnomer born of confusion and ignorance.
    • I'm completely aware that the monster in the book was never called "Frankenstein." I'm talking about a common justification by people in Real Life who are used to calling him that.
      • It is indeed a lame justification. I mean, any retelling of the monster's story might hypothetically have him name himself "Frankenstein" (this would be a curious thing to do, considering his justifiable loathing of his creator), but it still has dick all to do with the novel, or any film or theatrical adaptation known to me.
    • I don't see why this is a lame justification. Frankenstein is the parent of the creature in the sense that he was the one responsible for its being. And yes, technically he is the biological offspring of the people whose bodies were used to create him; just as adopted children are technically the biological offspring of their natural parents; and we don't insist that they take the surname of their natural parents (nor that children created by sperm donors take the surname of the donator).
      • If Frankenstein is a parent (and on some metaphorical level, this is certainly the case), he is an absentee father who immediately forsakes his responsibility to his offspring... let's call him the ultimate deadbeat dad. He doesn't even attend to the most basic responsibility of any parent: to give his child a name. This is why would appear to me to be thematically dead wrong to call the monster "Frankenstein."
      • To the contrary: an absentee father is, at least technically, still a father. If the creature inherits his maker's name, it's a harsh reminder to both of them of a relationship neither of them wanted. (Though maybe the creature is more analogous to a bastard son?)
    • In chapter 16, the creature realizes "from your papers that you [Dr. Frankenstein] were my father, my creator; and to whom could I apply with more fitness than to him who had given me life?"
      • Bear in mind, however, that this statement occurs within the frame of the Monster declaring eternal vengeance on Frankenstein. This is not a conventional parent-child relationship.
    • If we're being technical / pedantic about it, yes, but (a) there's implied to be a lot of different people mixed into whatever ended up being the Creature; (b) we don't know any of their names, so it's not like we can call the Creature "Bloggs-Samuels-Arbuthnot-Whatever" anyway, (c) Victor's the one who put them all together to form the Creature, so in conjunction with (a) and (b) if anyone has claim on "parenthood" (and by extension naming conventions) it's him; (d) arguing about precedent is a little redundant since Frankenstein pretty much invented the concept of artificially-created life to begin with, so what people choose to call Data is completely irrelevant; and (e) calling the Creature "Frankenstein" is just a form of shorthand that people use to refer to the Creature in situations where "The Creature" or "The Monster" would be unhelpfully vague (and yes, technically people should be calling him "Frankenstein's Monster", but as with people calling Elizabeth Tower "Big Ben" this is one case of I Am Not Shazam that's not going to be stopped no matter how many teacups you use to hold the storm back).

  • Ignoring the insanely fast rate at which the Creature learns to speak, I'm confused by the mix of languages. He learns speech by eavesdropping on a French family, yet he is able to read and understand Frankenstein's notes, which are presumably in German. You could argue that he learns that by himself, but he specifically states that he can't understand the German people who come to see the family after his failed attempt to enter human society.
    • Frankenstein is from Geneva, which is in the French-speaking part of Switzerland. Later in the book, he mentions ranting in his native tongue. The only one who could understand him was a guy who just so happened to know French. So his notes are presumably in French.
    • What's really unclear is how he speaks English to Walton at the end of the book. Or for that matter how he read Paradise Lost while learning French, unless it was a translation. Unless… he learned English by reading Paradise Lost? With only a rudimentary understanding of French? His accent must be terrible.
    • He could have read Paradise Lost in French indeed, and is ever said that he speaks to Walton in English? Because it could be that Walton knows French and the Monster speaks with him in such, as French was at the time the international lingua franca, much like English today, and a ship captain like Walton most likely would know French.

  • By the end of the book most of the Frankenstein family is dead. Victor's mother dies, the monster kills one of his brothers then kills Victors wife, I can't remember how his father dies but he does, and then Victor dies. That leaves his brother Ernest the last living member of the Frankenstein family. What happened to him then? There's no mention of his fate.
    • He probably kept himself hidden once he heard the news. Whatever trouble befell his family, he probably doesn't want it descending down on him either. If I were him, I would've made sure not to do anything that would make the Fates consider rubbing me off to finish my family off for good.
    • Their father was willing to let Victor head out to England for a year in the hope that travel would help his son recover from grief over William's and Justine's deaths. Possibly Ernest headed out on a similar journey and missed the worst of the creature's payback.

  • Correct me if I'm wrong, but Victor spends his last days inside a small boat in the middle of the Arctic telling his story to the ship captain. At the end, the creature appears on the boat mourning Frankenstein's corpse. My question: How did the creature figure out where Frankenstein was, and how did he get there? Did he just triangulate Frankenstein's last known location, jumped into the water and swim?
    • In many adaptations, the creature and Victor were pursuing each other across the world, and by the time Victor met the captain they had just about found each other. The creature was probably clinging to the outside of the ship while Victor told the story, waiting for him to finish and die, so he could have peace in his final moments.
    • The creature often left clues as to where he was to make sure Victor was following along. Since the boat had been stuck in the same position for some period of time, the creature probably realized that Victor was falling behind so likely retraced his steps to find him. Seeing the strange sight of a boat so far north he might have been curious enough to take a peek inside and saw Victor Frankenstein.
    • The ship captain himself saw the creature's dogsled passing shortly before they hauled Victor off the ice floe, so presumably the creature saw the ship too. When the ice started breaking up under his sled, he abandoned it and backtracked to check if Victor had taken shelter with the only other humans within hundreds of miles. If he didn't find his creator there, the creature knew Frankenstein would be drowned and/or frozen to death, anyway.

  • Where exactly did people get the idea that Adam (I insist on using the name since the Creature adopted it) was cobbled together from corpses? It's never stated in the books, merely that some of the materials came from a slaughterhouse.
    • Only the very same sentence: "The dissecting room and the slaughter-house furnished many of my materials" (not to mention "I collected bones from charnel-houses" in the immediately previous sentence). Some have suggested that Victor just means materials for study purposes and the creature is made of fully synthetic materials, but it's easy to see where people get the idea.
    • Actually, the fact that Victor's aborted attempt to create a mate for the creature took place on an isolated island hundreds of miles from any graveyard or slaughterhouse would argue that, indeed, those references only account for Victor learning how life works, not his actual creation of life. There's no mention of him importing anything to the island except his chemistry equipment and some furniture.
    • It is also worth noting that Victor decides on a humanoid creature, then its size (eight feet tall and proportional), and then he went look for materials. Unless he successfully predicted that an eight foot giant would be available for him to discretely transport to his lab, this means that he made a plan and then found the parts that could add up to his planned form.
    • Ultimately, this comes down to the fact that the process by which Victor actually creates the Monster is written in a way that is vague enough for people to basically come to their own conclusions about precisely how he does it, and he also comes across as shifty enough about it for people to suspect that he's been Up To No Good in some way.

  • Also, if we're speaking about the book here, the Creature adopted the name Adam? The closest sentence is this: "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." That it a long way from "Call me Adam!" — in fact, the line specifically refutes the appropriateness of that label.
    • Word of God.
      • Mary Shelley didn't exactly keep a LiveJournal. The name was allegedly noted in letters to her friends.
      • Alleged by whom? Rumor is not really a relevant concept to 19th century material culture — either this letter exists somewhere and has been written about by a reputable scholar, or this is a load of bunk.
    • Because it's easier to type out than "The creature that Dr. Victor Frankenstein created" several times per discussion.
      • "The Monster" is three syllables — as short as "Frankenstein." Even "Frankenstein's monster" ought not to tax anyone — it's fewer syllables than "Benedict Cumberbatch."
      • If we're getting to the point where we're counting out how many syllables each potential name has, it's worth noting out that "Adam" is shorter and quicker to use than any of them, so that's not exactly an argument against using it. Plus, let's face it, it is if nothing else symbolically and thematically appropriate.
      • My point was in fact that using length to decide such things is very, very silly indeed.
      • It's not silly at all. Using a short-hand is often helpful if you're challenged for time and space in what you're writing (or reading), it can be easier to read (there's a reason that Purple Prose is often frowned on compared to writing which is concise and direct), repetitive and unnecessarily lengthy reading can lose the reader's attention or end up boring or pompous, and if clarity and understanding is not directly harmed, a shorthand is perfectly acceptable. The OP made a decent point; as long as everyone understands what is being referred to, then using a shorter term for a concept where possible is often a better idea than using a longer one.
      • "The Monster" is just as much a shorthand as "Adam." The case is not against shorthand in general, but about this one, as unnecessary when a perfectly good shorthand already exists. And "as long as everyone understands what is being referred to" is the crux of the matter. Because not everyone does. There's so much confusion already — if you don't believe me, look just below at a person quoting a non-existent line of the novel they found on Wikipedia — so let's not add to it. And no, the OP did not make a decent point, because nobody actually says, "The creature that Dr. Victor Frankenstein created." This is at best a joke, at worst a disingenuous strawman argument, the complete opposite of a decent point.
    • The monster, at one point, says to Frankenstein that he is the "Adam of your labours".
      • Citation needed (and not from Wikipedia). I find no such line in either the 1818 edition or the 1831 revision.
      • By the magic of the Kindle, here is all three mentions of "Adam" in the 1818 edition
      • [chapter Two; Creature to Victor] "Oh, Frankenstein, be not equitable to every other, and trample upon me alone, to whom thy justice, and even thy clemency and affection, is most due. 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.
        [Chapter Seven; The Creature describes reading Paradise Lost and equating it to his own situation] "It moved every feelin of wonder and awe, that the picture of an omnipotent God warring with his creatures was capable of exciting. I often referred the several situations, as their similarity struck me, to my own. Like Adam, I was created apperantly united by no link yo any other being in existence; but his state was far different from mine in every other respect.
        [Later same chapter] "But it was all a dream: no Eve soothed my sorrows, or shared my thoughts; I was alone. I remembered Adam's supplication to his Creator; but where was mine? he had abandoned me, and, in the bitterness of my heart, I cursed him.
    • It's not exactly "Call me Adam", but the Monster does directly compare and contrast himself with Adam from Paradise Lost a few times in Chapter 15. As for appropriateness, there is such a thing as Irony; there is a certain sarcastic appropriateness in the Creature being given the name given to the "first human" who was loved and nurtured by God in a realm of paradise only to be cast out after disobeying his creator, given that Victor rejected his own creation and condemned him to a life of misery for no crime whatsoever other than existing.
      • Yes, this is all explicit in the text. Also explicit is the fact that nobody, including himself, refers to him as "Adam." And anyone who tries to rationalize reasons why he should be called "Adam" is doing just that, rationalizing — because, once again, it's not in the text.
      • Well, yes, but I personally never said anywhere that the Creature explicitly called himself Adam. All I'm offering in the paragraph above is reasons why people might assume (erroneously) that the Creature called himself Adam or, alternatively, why they might find it an appropriate name even if it's never explicitly used in text. Presumably the Troper above who inadvertently started the ball rolling here was simply misremembering something, and even if he or she didn't, there's sufficient referencing and paralleling constructed in the text to enable people to apply the name "Adam" to the Monster if they so choose, whether or not it's strictly accurate to or explicit within the text itself.
      • And yet I don't hear anyone making the case that we should call him "Lucifer" even though he specifically identifies more strongly with Milton's Devil. I don't see any reason why people saying completely wrong things like "I insist on using the name since the Creature adopted it" should be appeased... they should be corrected.
      • And again, I'm not saying they shouldn't be corrected if necessary (although to be frank, we can perhaps dial down the confrontational attitude a little; I mean, 'appeased'? We're talking about people misreading or reinterpreting a novel, not the invasion of the Rhineland, we can relax a little about it), just offering reasons for why people might choose that interpretation or make that mistake. As for why people don't call him Lucifer, maybe they appreciate the irony of calling him Adam instead, or maybe they sympathise with him too much to basically call him the Devil, or maybe some people just prefer calling him Adam. Furthermore, while the Creature identifies with Milton's Devil, there's still the whole "creator vs. creation" thing which may cause some people to view Adam as more appropriate regardless.
      • Allow me to suggest that no name is the most appropriate at all. Because his creator gave him no name. So we are left with a description instead of a name: "Frankenstein's monster." I'm not sure why "irony" should be a guide for what we call literary characters... I can only think of a few isolated examples like "Little John" where it would apply.
      • Irony is a guide, such as it is, to referring to fictional characters in situations like this because it appeals to people, and since fictional characters don't exist and can't object anyway, and ultimately everyone knows what is being referred to (and if not, it's fairly simple to explain), it's not like anyone is being hurt or inconvenienced. That's it. People call the Creature "Adam" because it appeals to them and they find it appropriate for whatever reason to do so. It obviously doesn't appeal to you, and that's fine, no one's forcing you to refer to the Creature as "Adam" at gunpoint or going into the original manuscript and changing it by vandalism so that everyone has to. But on the other hand, you have no more power to stop people from referring to the Creature as "Adam" if they want to any more than they have the power to force you to do the reverse if you don't, so ultimately it boils down to — why get worked up about it? You can't change it, it's not hurting anyone, it doesn't really matter that much in the scheme of things, they're within their rights to do so, it's not really an argument that's worth winning, so why not just let them get on with it?
      • Well I guess it boils down to "call him what you want — Susan, for all I care — but I don't follow your reasoning for calling him 'Adam'. "It appeals to me" is a simply not a strong argument; it's barely an argument at all. Or, to return to the original point, "call him what you want, but let's all acknowledge that the novel does not call him Adam."
      • Or to put it different, let's say if some scholar wrote a book on Frankenstein and said in the first chapter, "Here we're going to refer to Frankenstein's creation as 'Adam' for the purposes of this manuscript," I would say, "A bit eccentric but okay for the purposes of this text" (provided, at least, that the rationale is spelled out and makes sense... otherwise it would just be an irritating distraction). Likewise, if somebody wrote a sequel to Frankenstein where the monster decides to dub himself "Adam," in principle, no problem — as you say, a fictional character. But the idea that "Adam" should be the name he is generally known by in the popular consciousness? No, I would fight that to the last, because it's about as wrong as anything involving a fictional character can be.
  • Adam was intelligent and he understood that people were terrified of his looks. Wouldn't the most obvious solution be to cover his face? Wrap it up in clothes and appoach the family like that, tell them how he was helping them, get into their good grace and carefuly prepare them before unveiling himself. He could've claimed to be a victim of a disfiguring disease, I think they would've understood that.


Example of: