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I want to set the record straight: the monster is not Frankenstein; the doctor who created the monster is!

Frankenstein Is Not the Monster!

Okay, this is such a trivial thing that most people are going to think, “Who cares?” Unfortunately, I do, and it has been driving me crazy over the years to hear people wrongly referring to the monster as “Frankenstein.” As a devout fan of the cinema and lover of classic books, I want to set the record straight: the monster is not Frankenstein; the doctor who created the monster is!

I have come to this point – of actually putting on record my feelings about this – because my daughter was watching a cartoon, and I was mortified by the reference to “Frankenstein’s brain,” in the lyrics sung during the opening credits. The show, Phineas and Ferb on Disney Channel, came on again a half hour later, so I made a point of sitting down to watch. As the words “Frankenstein’s brain” are sung, one of the characters is seen staring into the open skull of what looks like the monster from the movies.

This seemingly inconsequential fact has annoyed me for a long time. People always refer to the monster as Frankenstein. If one reads Mary Shelley’s fantastic book, Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, it’s very clear that the title refers to the doctor, who like his Greek counterpart, stole something from the gods and is punished accordingly. By creating life from nothingness, Frankenstein sends himself into a tragic journey where genius meets harsh reality, resulting in disaster for his family, friends, and community.

The early film versions of the story make this fact clear as well. Frankenstein is the doctor, not the monster; though even the 1936 film Bride of Frankenstein no doubt added to the confusion, with the female monster being created as a “bride” by Frankenstein for the monster, but it seems the public started thinking of the monster as Frankenstein and it continues until this day.

Go into a costume store before Halloween, and the misconception is printed in bold letters on the front of the bag containing the monster mask and clothing. You can even check this out in online costume stores, where “Little Frankie” costumes are waiting for the baby you love to be dressed and ready to be scary this October 31. At this point the confusion is so intensely ingrained in the general public that it is almost impossible to hope for an end to the madness.

When I tried to explain some of this to my daughter, she said, “Like, what’s the big deal, Dad?”

Well, I guess it is no big deal, but it will continue to bother me from now until Halloween and beyond. I had to say it and now I have: Frankenstein is the creator; the monster is just that, a monster.

 

About Victor Lana

Victor Lana's stories, articles, and poems have been published in literary magazines and online. His books 'A Death in Prague' (2002), 'Move' (2003), 'The Savage Quiet September Sun: A Collection of 9/11 Stories' (2005), and 'Like a Passing Shadow' (2009) are available in print, online, and as e-books. His latest books 'Heartbeat and Other Poems,' 'If the Fates Allow: New York Christmas Stories,' 'Garden of Ghosts,' and 'Flashes in the Pan' are available exclusively on Amazon. After winning the National Arts Club Award for Poetry while attending Queens College, he concentrated on writing mostly fiction and non-fiction prose until the recent publication of his new book of poetry, 'Heartbeat and Other Poems' (now available on Amazon). He has worked as a faculty advisor to school literary magazines and enjoys the creative process as a writer, editor, and collaborator. He has been with 'Blogcritics Magazine' since July 2005 and has written many articles on a variety of topics; previously co-head sports editor, he now is a Culture and Society and Flash Ficition editor. Having traveled extensively, Victor has visited six continents and intends to get to Antarctica someday where he figures a few ideas for new stories await him.

Check Also

The Bride of Frankenstein and Her Many Moods

The Bride of Frankenstein, as all classic horror and monster fans know, is the 1935 sequel to Frankenstein, directed by James Whale and starring an ethereal Elsa Lanchester in dual roles as the Bride and Mary Shelley, and Boris Karloff as the Monster. Why? Because the Monster demanded a mate!

4 comments

  1. The monster was actually called Adam i learnt that from Horrible Histories!

  2. In many ways, Frankenstein IS the monster!
    That’s the answer I was taught to recite to anyone who says that Frankenstein was the doctor. 🙂

  3. Monster novel/ movie lover

    Another misconception that annoys me, is when couples dress as the monster and the “bride” for Halloween. The “bride” (according to the book) was never made, and according to the movie ‘The Bride of Frankenstein’ (mentioned in the post) she was disgusted by the monster and rejected his pleas for affection.

    I feel your pain for inaccuracy!

  4. I feel your pain man.