Comparative Essay on Frankenstein’s Monster and Dracula

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“Yet even that enemy of God and man had friends and associates in his desolation; I am alone.” Compare and contrast the presentation of Frankenstein’s monster and Dracula as outcasts in society in light of this statement.

In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818) and Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897), Frankenstein’s creature and Dracula are both presented as outcasts in society. They are both presented as outcasts in very different ways, but also in some similar ways too. Frankenstein’s creature is able to see himself as an outcast because of his appearance when he looks into the puddle and seems to scare himself. But it is not necessarily Dracula’s appearance that scares people away from him, it seems to be his blood-red eyes. Both gothic novels were written at a time of scientific advances and an interest in the supernatural.

In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, there are many ways that Victor Frankenstein’s monster is seen as an outcast. Frankenstein’s creation is presented to the reader as intelligent because he able to realize that he is an outcast. “I was in reality the monster that I am.” He has come to the realization that he is a monster in which makes him unaesthetically pleasing to everyone he comes into contact with. Victor Frankenstein did not name his creation, although he did use some negative terms to call him, such as “devil,” “ogre” and “thing”. Therefore, this shows the monster's lack of identity and shows further his isolation from society and the people around him. The creation's birthplace was also isolated. He was created in a laboratory using chemistry and alchemy. “Workshop of filthy creation.” The birth of a child is usually positively welcomed, which is quite the opposite of how Frankenstein’s creation was treated, “unable to endure the aspect of the being he had created,” which further shows how Victor rejected his creation, as he left him. Frankenstein’s creation was gruesome. “Odious and loathsome person.” While he was human, he was very unappealing to Frankenstein. Even though Frankenstein did not like the look of his own creation, the creature knows too that he looks hideous. He thought that his creation's appearance was going to frighten everyone, so he would have been treated as an outcast by the rest of humanity. He wishes to “extinguish that life which” he has “so thoughtlessly bestowed.” Frankenstein knew after the creation was alive that no one was going to accept it, so he tried to distance himself from his creation.

Frankenstein abandoned his creation because he did not like it after he brought it to life. He described it as a miserable monster and his horrible features, because of the gruesome look he was immediately rejected by everyone that he crossed paths with. The creature's first bond with a human was broken, which forced him to be an outcast. The rest of the creation's interactions with humans were received badly, which then forced him to avoid all human interaction. Victor never even gave his creation a chance. “He might have spoken, but I did not hear; one hand was stretched out, seemingly to detain me, but I escaped and rushed downstairs.” He spent years creating what he refers to as a human and is very aware of what it will look like, but still, as soon as it is alive he runs from it. This could also show that perhaps while creating the creature he knew all along what it was going to look like but perhaps he always had the intention of leaving it.

Victor Frankenstein is ashamed of what he has done and fears what the consequences would be if he tells anyone about his creation. “Nearly in the light of my own vampire.” He feels really guilty about what he has released out into the world. The creature expresses the way he feels towards Frankenstein. “You have made me wretched beyond expression.” He is making the creature feel even more isolated by ignoring that he exists. This could be because all the creature really wants is to be friends with Frankenstein as he sees him as some kind of God. It isn’t just the creature that is isolated from Frankenstein’s obsession with science, Frankenstein isolated himself from a lot of people and the outside. This is probably why he doesn’t realize how badly society are going to react to his creation. “I felt as I was placed under a ban.” Victor is feeling trapped in his new job, he becomes isolated in his own mind. It is clear to the reader that if Victor has to create another creature for his first monster, then he is going to have to isolate himself from everyone again. Frankenstein was written at a time of social unrest, when the Luddites were around, which could be why Frankenstein was able to create a monster out of old body parts.

After being shut out from the world the creature had to learn everything for himself. “I found a fire … I thrust my hand into the live embers, but quickly drew it out again with a cry of pain.” He is learning through the senses which is how a baby learns. But he wouldn’t have to learn this way if Frankenstein hadn’t abandoned him. Nature could also be seen as trying to isolate Frankenstein’s creature, as he is faced with rain and snow, so he tries to hide from nature. The setting of nature and being away from everything and everyone links to the sense of him being an outcast. The creature is always outside which could symbolize him being outside of society.

At the start of the monster’s life, he is presented to the reader as innocent, which is then followed by Victor’s rejection. “Instinctively, finding myself so desolate.” The creature is showing a lot of human emotions when he is first brought to life. But the more and more that he is rejected by the humans around him he becomes angrier, and when he finds out what his creator really thinks of him he feels the need to get revenge on Frankenstein. It could suggest to the reader that the more anyone is rejected the more they start to distance themselves from other people and not interact with them anymore. Every time the creature interacts with a human he is greeted with the fear of rejection that he originally got from Victor. All that the creature really wants is to be friends with someone so that he isn’t alone anymore. “I longed to join them, but I dared not.” He wants to approach someone but thinks better not to as all he gets is rejection, so he has to think of a way to become friends before they see his appearance. He refuses to accept his isolation.

Society rejects him further when he ventures into the village. He meets the De Lacey family, he learns how to read and write from them just by watching them. He helped them out, he helped by clearing the snow, which could be why it hurt him so much when they rejected him. He used to feel the same emotions that they did, so he begins to feel like they may accept him, so he wouldn’t be an outcast any longer. When he meets the old man, he doesn’t reject the creature because he is blind, so he cannot see him. “I am full of tears, for if I fail there, I am an outcast in the world forever.” The creature is becoming more educated, owing all the thanks to the villagers, but is still trying to escape his isolation. He tries to meet with the blind old man first, to see if he will reject him too. This makes the reader sympathize with the creature as all he wants is to have friends and the only way he’s going to accomplish that is if they are blind. The isolation from humanity is starting to become too much for the creature. After failing to become friends with the De Lacey’s his isolation is increased and he is forced to leave the comfort of living near the family that he has connected with, the people he refers to as his ‘protectors’.

All of the rejection he gets from humanity could be the reason that the monster then ends up committing evil acts later on in the novel. “My protectors had departed and had broken the only link that held me to the world.” The creature’s isolation begins to turn into anger after finding out that the De Lacey family flee the village because of his presence. He is now complete with no connection to anyone. Frankenstein’s creature is now blaming Victor for everyone rejecting him. This begins to make the reader feel bad for the creature as he has no one there for him. But it could also be seen that it is the creature’s own fault for being isolated as he is the one that killed people. The creature's first victim is William, Frankenstein’s younger brother, at first, he tried to befriend the child, but when he learns that he is related to Victor he proceeds to murder the young child and puts the blame on Justine. Her name is sort of ironic in the sense that she is punished and killed for the death of young William, but she never gets the justice that she deserved as clearly, she did not kill the young boy. By the creature murdering William, it could suggest to the reader that the creature never really cared about Frankenstein from the beginning, as if he did care he wouldn’t have murdered someone close to his creator, but also by killing him it shows to Frankenstein what he’s capable of because he rejected his creation. The monster not only wanted to get revenge on Victor he also wanted to get revenge on mankind for rejecting him. The murder of William then leads to the deaths of Justine, Clerval, and Elizabeth. This is showing the reader that the creature wants to get Frankenstein’s attention, and the only way he sees to do that is to commit crimes, which is sort of fitting as Frankenstein committed a crime to create his creature. “I had unchained my enemy among them whose joy it was to shed their blood.” After Victor becomes aware of Henry Clerval’s death he is joined by his father and his forced to re-join society. It could be seen that Victor’s isolation was created by himself when he retreated from humanity to please his creation.

These murders are further isolating him from society as he has broken many moral and religious laws. Elizabeth’s death came after the creature watched Victor rip to pieces the make that Victor was creating for him.

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At the end of the novel when Victor is dying the monster then starts to feel guilt and remorse, he realizes after his creator is gone that he will truly be lost and isolated from all of society. So, he decides to kill himself too. Even in death, he’ll be separated from the rest of humanity as he committed suicide and many other crimes and so he will go to hell.

In Bram Stoker’s Dracula, his monster is presented in the first journal entries written, but this begins to change as the novel goes on, which is similar to Frankenstein’s monster. Through my research and exploration of several Dracula essays, it's clear that Bram Stoker's depiction of the monster shares similarities with Frankenstein's creation. They are both corrupted by rejection.

The darkness represents how Dracula is an outcast from society. This could be seen as unusual because it isn’t really expected in the first instance of the novel. Dracula is an outcast because he is a vampire. “I was not able to light on the map.” Castle Dracula is far away from everything. It is not on the map, and therefore this could possibly be because he doesn’t belong anywhere, as he is a monster. As Castle Dracula is not on the map it could be suggested that he doesn’t belong anywhere. It could also suggest to the reader that Bram Stoker didn’t think his monster was worthy of living near other things, especially people. Dracula is nowhere near anyone else which is where he chooses to be, and he can control the wolves, “the howling of the wolves had ceased altogether”, which is different to Frankenstein’s monster as he hates the separation from humans. The castle had “tall black windows” in which no light came through. This could suggest that Dracula may be trying to isolate himself from humanity and nature as if light isn’t coming through into the castle he is being disconnected from the rest of the world.

At the beginning of the novel, Harker starts to realize that Dracula is slightly unusual compared to any other human. This is represented in the way he describes Dracula, “red eyes”, “unbelievably strong” and “protuberant teeth”. Also, by Dracula having no servants could suggest to the audience that he is so much of an outcast to society that he can’t have servants, this is unusual to Harker as any castle is bound to have servants. Harker’s suspicions of Dracula being strange and an outcast when Dracula throws Harker’s shaving glass out of the window, “he flung out the glass, which was shattered into a thousand pieces on the stones.” In this instance though, Harker seems to be a bit more annoyed at the fact that he does not have a mirror than that Dracula did not appear in the said mirror.

Frankenstein’s monster and Dracula are quite different in the sense that Dracula has many forms whereas Frankenstein’s monster only has one, but it could be argued that as Frankenstein’s monster was made up of multiple different bodies he also has different forms. The first appearance of Dracula is the coach driver, and then he changes for when he meets Harker at the front of Castle Dracula. Dracula’s appearance separates him from society, his red eyes, “red light of triumph of light in his eyes”, which symbolizes evil and blood. Both monsters were firstly presented as monsters at the beginning of Frankenstein’s creatures’ life and the beginning of Dracula’s novel. The driver in Dracula seemed to “hide his face” from Harker. This could suggest to the reader that he doesn’t want Harker, who is coming to stay at his castle, to see what he really looks like, so he uses one of his other identities. This could also suggest that by the driver hiding his face from Harker it could mean that he is trying to hide something more secretive. One could be that he is Dracula and Harker was warned that dangerous things happen at night around Dracula’s castle.

One instance in which Dracula could be displayed to the reader as an outcast could be when he disappears a lot and all the doors are locked so Harker cannot go looking through all his belongings. “Doors, doors, doors everywhere, and all locked and bolted.” This could suggest to the reader that he is trying to hide things and being secretive about what he has in his castle.

Dracula was influenced by Vlad the Impaler. He was known for his defeat against the Turks and was known in Europe for his war success and cruelty. Vlad the Impaler is further referenced in the novel through Dracula’s constant evil nature.

The way in which Dracula makes the wolves listen to shows the reader his demanding character. This relates to Frankenstein’s creature, in which his physical differences from humans separate him from humanity. Dracula treats humans badly as he sees them just as food, Frankenstein’s monster also murders innocent people, and it seems he enjoys causing pain on Victor but feels remorse at the end of the novel when Victor is dying. Dracula doesn’t show any remorse as he was born a vampire and is constantly killing people for their blood. Another difference between Dracula and Frankenstein’s creature is that Dracula kills people for their blood, whereas Frankenstein’s creature kills people for revenge on the people that have rejected him, especially Victor. “A louder and a sharper howling – that of wolves.” The sound moves from the howling of wolves, from domestic to wild, from safety to danger. This reflects the journey that Harker is making.

Another huge difference between Frankenstein’s creature and Dracula is that Frankenstein made his creature out of different body parts from different dead bodies, which possibly makes any modern reader uncomfortable, we are not told much about Dracula’s background, but it is obvious to the reader that he was not created like Frankenstein’s creature.

Both writers use images to present their monsters as outcasts. Frankenstein’s monster is slightly misunderstood, who gains sympathy from the reader but is rejected by humanity, he isn’t a part of society. Even in his death, he is isolated from humans. Dracula has isolated himself from society as he put his castle far away from everyone and everything else.

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