2010 09 07 On Destroying the Future to Save the Planet

Those people who come to the novel Frankenstein after viewing the 1931 film version or one of the many remakes, and that is the order in which most people will currently become acquainted with the novel, will be disappointed by the lack of a significant horror element to the narrative. Frankenstein is primarily a philosophical novel. It is also a tale of personal triumph, defeat, revenge and ultimate tragedy on the part of Dr. Frankenstein and a tale of birth, maturation, character change, revenge and ultimate tragedy on the part of the monster.


The novel starts out with a framing story in a series of letters written by Captain Robert Walton to his sister back in England. Walton is leading a seafaring expedition to the frozen north but his ship has become stuck in ice. One day Walton sees from a distance a creature of gigantic stature riding a sledge team and then later a man half dead on another team.


The latter person, Victor Frankenstein, is brought on board Walton’s ship and after some revival of his health, relates a strange tale to Walton about his creation of a living being with a hideous face, the creature’s attempts to interact with society, the murderous activities of the creature including the killing of Victor’s wife Elizabeth and Victor’s pursuit of the monster across Europe and now to the Arctic Circle.