The Woeful and Horrendously Sad Tale of Frankincense Who was the real monster in the book Frankincense? In Mary Shelley Frankincense, we see the main character, Victor, create a being out of body parts and bring it to life. Over the course of a couple years, this experiment dramatically changes the course of Victor’s life. His creature was not as he intended it to be, so he hated it. Shelley uses Romantic and Enlightenment thought in her horror novel to explain and demonstrate the different emotions of her character. In Frankincense,
Victor is unable to successfully “mother” his creation the way he had envisioned it because he never learned to truly care for others. First, Victor is unable to successfully “mother” his creation because he lost his mother when he was young. “She died calmly; and her countenance expressed affection even in death. I need not describe the feelings of those whose dearest ties are rent by the most irreparable evil; the void that presents itself to the soul; and the despair that is exhibited on the countenance” (Shelley 45). These were the words of Victor after his mother died from an illness.
He was only seventeen. At such a young age, it must have impacted his life dramatically because he now no longer had a mother figure in his life. He had a void that nothing could fill. He no longer had a mother to take care of him, or a mother he could care for. These are one of the parts of Frankincense where Shelley clearly and powerfully demonstrates Romantic thought and this idea of deep emotion. Though Victor does not show it so much on the outside, he is deeply crushed by this event occurring. There is nothing on earth like the love a mother could show to her son.
Frankincense’s mother symbolizes Victor’s desire and lust for the maternal features he is unable to attain because of her death” (Barrett). Here, Victor shows he must continue his life through this tragedy. This may even be what later motivates him to create a being out of human parts. He may have wanted the monster he created to have filled the void that he had in his heart. Victor found peace and comfort in solitude and by being alone. After leaving for college, he grew more alone and didn’t really have anyone to look after or to care for anymore. All he had time to do was things for himself.
He never really thought twice to send a letter or see how his friends or family was doing. This impacted him deeply psychologically because he did not have a mother figure around to love him no matter what. This loving and caring side of Victor Frankincense died and went to the grave along with his mother, Caroline Frankincense. Secondly, Victor cannot successfully “mother” his creation because he realizes the creature he made is not what he envisioned it to be, and he rejects him. Victor was so optimistic and thought he would Join the ranks of fellow famous scientists for what he was doing.
Alas, this could not be further away from the truth. “But now that I had finished, the beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled my heart” (Shelley 58). The creature he thought would be so magnificent and beautiful was instead a disfigured, horrifying monster. Victor saw his creation as too terrible to even KICK at! He realize, once ten creature was alive, Tanat want nee made was absolutely not what he wanted. He immediately sees what he makes as terrible and runs away from it. As a parent of this monster, Victor is supposed to care for it at the beginning.
Instead, he Just does his best to avoid it and make it stay out of his life. “My rage was without bounds; I sprang on him, impelled by all the feelings which can arm one being against the existence of another” (Shelley 102). Here, Victor shows no remorse to the very thing he created. He now hated the creature more than ever because he killed his little brother and framed the servant girl. She was later found guilty and executed. He really wanted his creation dead and out of his life. He had no feelings of love and did not care for the monster at all.
This creature felt so terribly ejected that he set out to ruin his creator. Because Victor rejected his creation, countless lives were lost and he never had a chance to truly claim his creation. Next, Victor is unable to “mother” his creation because he is selfish. After Victor’s mom dies, we see a dramatic personality change in him. Shelley really shows this in Victor’s attention solely towards his creation. “l knew well therefore what would be my father’s feelings; but I could not tear my thoughts from my employment, loathsome in itself, but which had taken an irresistible hold of my imagination” (Shelley 56).
Victor even does not write a letter to his family because he is so caught up in his work. He starts to only focus on what he is doing, and seems to forget about everybody else. It becomes apparent later that he is really selfish. He does not speak up at the trial of Justine Morris because he does not want people to think he is crazy. Even though he knew the real truth, he did nothing but stayed silent. “But I escaped, and rushed downstairs. I took refuge in the courtyard belonging to the house which I inhabited; where I remained the rest of the night” (Shelley 59).
This was probably the most latent act of selfishness committed by Victor. He ran away from the being he Just created. He didn’t stay to love it or explain to it what was happening. He ran right away! As the parent, he should have stayed and nurtured his ‘baby until it was all grown up. He never even thought for a second that he could raise this creature to be his. Since he never learned to care for another, he didn’t have the unbiased and warmth love that a mother could give. He simply did not care for the creature once he saw it was something he did not want.
It is so sad to see him do this and later see hat the monster did. Victor was not able to take care of responsibilities and thus, was not able to take care of his creation. In conclusion, due to not being able to care for others, Victor is not able to successfully “mother” his creation the way he had envisioned it. Victor did not even see the creation as a living thing. He thought of it as a failure and thought he could just forget about it and throw it away. So, who was the real monster in the book Frankincense? Clearly, it was Victor. He was unable to get a hold of himself and put his selfishness aside.
He could have done the right thing and cared for his creation, but instead he chose to reject it, and it came back to destroy his life. Without a solid woman in his life to show him the compassion and love of a mother, Victor was unable to care for others except for himself and his needs. Frankincense shows the tragic tale of a man who is unable to put himself aside and care for the well-being of others. Barrett, Jonathan. “Frankincense’s Mother – Nature’s Course. ” Frankincense’s Mother- Nature’s Course. N. P. , n. D. Web. 12 Septet. 2013. Shelley, Mary. Frankincense. New York: Penguin Group, 2003. Print.