Essay, Research Paper: Frankenstein

Literature: Frankenstein

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When I first saw the movie Frankenstein, I realized that Hollywood was still
changing the classic novels. In their usual fashion, they changed the names of
the characters to be somewhat pleasing to the audience. I guess Henry
Frankenstein was a better wholesome name than Victor Frankenstein. Instead they
saved the name Victor for the supporting actor because no one would care what
they named him. Next they changed Elizabeth to Margaret for some unknown reason.
By movie standards today, the monster looked like a man in bad makeup and stiff
acting. In Mary Shelley’s original interpretation, I envision a monster with
pale Caucasian skin color, misshapen limbs and with more vocabularies than Ugh
or Ahh. I have come to the realization that the 1931 movie review of
Frankenstein and I share the same opinions for the movie. Though I did find the
acting and the makeup mediocre, in 1931 it was as the film critic said, “the
most effective of its kind.” The background and scenery impressed me. Dr.
Frankenstein’s laboratory was indeed impressive. The elaborate machinery and
sound effects added to the sense that life was being created, though they really
did go into great detail as to how life was brought back from the dead. The
review says that the actor portraying Frankenstein’s monster, Boris Karloff,
did not portray a robot but a man sewn together with an abnormal brain. However
I believed that the monster acted like a robot in the scene with the little
girl. The girl presented a set of instructions (throwing flowers in the lake).
The monster then copied the instructions like a program. Unfortunately, the
“abnormal” brain caused a bug or glitch in his programming which caused the
death of the girl. Humans are programmed, like a robot or computer, to follow
instruction to perform actions such as walking, talking, driving, or doing
simple math. In a sense we humans are highly advanced mechanisms given the
ability to comprehend and interpret. After the monster was created, Frankenstein
boasts about his achievements. Demonstrating a perfect example of the God
complex, he exclaims; “ Now I know how God feels.” It is man’s greatest
task to equal or surpass its creator. At the beginning of the novel, its
atmosphere is completely different than that of the 1931 movie. First, the novel
begins after Victor created the monster that killed Elizabeth. You realize
immediately in the novel that there was no happy ending as the movie portrayed.
Elizabeth is dead by the monster’s hands and Victor has now become obsessed
with hunting down and destroying the creature. You also find out in the novel
the background information of why Victor is so in love with Elizabeth. The movie
also fails to give a very good reason as to how Victor goes on this journey to
bring life back to the dead. They forget to mention his studies into Natural
Philosophy or Galvanism. The novel also describes a more dark and sinister
outlook. The time he brings life to his creation, readers feel a dark chill down
their spines. When he describes how the monster haunts him in the shadows, the
readers start to feels as if the monster is watching. When it starts to commit
other atrocities, shock and horror invade the mind. I believe the film was an
unjust representation of the novel. The 1931 film gave a lighter representation.
It begins to be a little disappointing watching the film after reading halfway
through the novel. During the 1920’s and 30’s, mankind was involved in the
search to improve the human race called Eugenics. I believe the 1818 novel and
the 1931 film were perfect examples of how the idea of eugenics was so
widespread. At this time scientists were working on ways to create life that
rivaled God, whether to create perfect children free of disease or to create the
super soldier to fight their wars. It was even being suggested to create towns
selected with the best of mankind. However, as in the movie and novel, the
question of should we manipulate the forces of nature comes into the equation.
The movie could be meant as a warning on the evils of eugenics. Though it seems
simple to manipulate the body of man, it is difficult to control the lasting
effects. Frankenstein’s monster is possibly the first example of eugenics on
film. We see Harry Frankenstein selecting the best parts from dead men. He
carefully pieces together the delicate puzzle and he does receive a reward and a

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