Legacy of Frankenstein: The monster with a heart of a man

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Frankenstein image via Mary-Shelly-Wiki, courtesy of Universal Pictures

Frankenstein is a timeless story and also a cautionary tale . Perhaps the mystery of life is best left unsolved and the dead should rest in peace.

Frankenstein is a Story to Surpass the Ages

Frankenstein had humble beginnings which took shape on the eve of two crucial events:  a bet and the following nightmare that soon followed. “Let’s all write a ghost story,” was the bet, “and see who can tell the most harrowing tale.” Innocent enough, and on that whimsical challenge among her friends, our beloved Mary Shelley would pen the most haunting cautionary tale of all time.

Mary Shelley, the Mother of Frankenstein, was shortly troubled by a petrifying nightmare that assailed her restless sleep once she accepted the writing challenge. This dream was simply too realistic – she saw a violent form rising from the shadows and staring into her very soul.

So vivid was this (apparition?) sight that it played the crucial part of her tale, of a man and his monster, of the form with a hideous shape lurking in the dark places of mankind’s imagination. And by her own nightmare, she has gone on to inspire the night terrors of generations.

Frankenstein will endure in the capsule of our mortal consciousness if for nothing else, to instruct us to respect our own mortality. And mortal we all are. Regardless of our phenomenal abilities to harness the sciences and cure what once had been incurable maledictions upon our bodies, we all still have an inescapable destiny.

The grave awaits us all, and Dr. Frankenstein, the maker of monsters, dared to challenge that inevitable fate to the direst of consequences.

The Dark Heart of True Horror

Rifled graves, immoral experimentations, a thunder-strewn sky cracking with what could very well be the vengeance of a God wrathful for being so haughtily challenged by His own creation, and a ghastly form of a thing rising back to reluctant life – pulled from the very chambers of the dead to face a world of pain.

These are the immediate images Frankenstein inspires. Shelley’s ghost story strikes across us all as a bolt flung from the Asgardian anvil. It is permanent and it is foreboding.

Frankenstein- Courtesy of Royal Opera House

More from Universal Monsters

Even after the passing of two centuries, the obscene experimentation of Victor Frankenstein still hold the world in an electric grip of suspense and awe. By him we are met with a frightening conundrum — should Man create life after his own image?

I changed that you know? I changed it from a statement to a question, because I realized that it cannot be answered so blatantly. It demands a pause and will not react to a speedy conclusion. Of course, there is Us now — you and I — standing on the other side of Shelley’s grey horizon. We now know what happened in the case of Dr. Frankenstein once his obsessions were finally achieved.

A monster with a human heart was awakened, and ours was a world ill-prepared for such a new species, or, dare I say, a new Adam. There was no garden of comfort to greet Man’s new genesis. His abhorrent creation was thrust into a world where men cannot accept what they do not understand and hate what they fear.

Lit torches, lit crosses, ugly red flags of hatred – this is how Man has dealt with whomever he cannot readily understand. Egyptians enslaved the Hebrews, Hebrews went on to slay the Canaanites; Pagan Romans slaughtered Christian families and then Christians slaughtered Pagan villages. The pages of human history are wet with blood. Innocent lives suffer because of fear, paranoia, and pious hysteria.