16 October 2011

The Doctor is the Monster

A few weeks ago I went to see Frankenstein at the Neptune Theatre. I read the book years ago and didn't like it, but I wanted to see the play version mostly out of curiosity. I really loved how it was staged. I wasn't too enamoured with Victor's portrayal, and the monster wasn't as gruesome as I would have liked, but overall it was pretty good. I actually don't remember the book that well, but I think the play did change a few things, probably because there's only so much you can do with the play format.

Anyway, after seeing the play I dug out my old review of Frankenstein I wrote in 2003 and thought I'd toss it up for all to see. I sound really angry. I think maybe I took the book too seriously. (Also: spoilers). (And bad language).

You know, I'm only halfway through this, but I think that I can write a review that will rival The Last Canadian in length and bitchiness. Translation: this book is not one that I find especially enjoyable.

Victor Frankenstein is the whiniest little bastard ever. Oh, woe is he! What a child. He works for years - years! - to give life to dead flesh, then gets all freaked out when it works. He sends his monster away because the sight of it pains him. I can't begin to express the irresponsibility of this, not to mention sheer lack of compassion or humanity. He just casts this monster out, and then gets all pissed off when the monster kills his little brother. Hello? What the fuck did you expect, Victor? That the monster would run off into the woods and quietly rot away? Did you think he would cease to exist once you severed yourself from him? Living things don't work that way, once they're alive they just keep on livin'. I just can't get over this. If I dedicated years of my life to that sort of project, then saw the Monster's arm move for the first time, I'd be all, "Dude, I'm God." I would have liked Victor a whole hell of a lot more if he did have a God complex. As he is, he is the most spoiled, selfish, self-absorbed, irresponsible child since Linton Heathcliff (about whom I wrote: "He whines over everything, complains about everything, and is no more a man than I."). Victor is just like Linton, completely girlie in every bad sense of the word.

Shall I go on? After making the Monster (I hate to call him that, but he has no name, unless I give him one...Mr. Monstér. It's french) he is bedridden for months. Bedridden! He’s, like, 24. Again, if this were me, I'd be in Geneva picking up my Nobel money. After Mr. Monstér kills little brother, Victor is mad as hell at him. He's also overcome with guilt which he goes on and on about. And on. Oh, and then he talks about his guilt. It's all about Victor. As guilt ridden as he is, I don't get the sense that he thinks that casting out his creation was wrong, just the actual creation. See? It was his fault that he created the thing, but everything after that instant is the fault of Mr. Monstér, not Victor. I guess the nurture over nature debate wasn't one Vic paid much attention to. So, after Mr. Monstér tracts him down and narrates his sad tale (a few chapters I didn't mind too much, except that Mr. Monstér seems to have Daddy's penchant for self-pity) Vic agrees to build him a bride. Then, what does Vic do? Vic goes on vacation. Again, if my creation demanded a mate and threatened the life of my family, I don't think I'd run off to the Hamptons for a few months before starting work. There is some justice, however: poor little Vic is unable to enjoy his trip.
I was formed for peaceful happiness...[Mr. Monstér] might remain in Switzerland and wreak his vengeance on my relatives. This idea pursued me and tormented me at every moment from which I might otherwise have snatched repose and peace.
Oh, I'm sorry Victor. Is the hideous creature you made while toying with the laws of nature wrecking your repose? Is the monster that you created and damned to an existence of exile and hatred bothering you? I bet your life is awful hard, eh? Poor, poor Victor. I'm sorry that your own thoughtlessness has come back to ruin your life of ease and fortune. How will you go on? All I want in life is for Victor to take responsibility for his actions. I want him to say, “This all could have worked out if I had a) never made this thing or b)taken care of it and treated it like a living being and not a monster to be shunned.” But, I doubt Victor will ever really suffer the consequences of his actions. Or maybe he will, I haven’t finished the book yet.

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