Frontispiece to Frankenstein (1831)
Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, vol. 1 (1818)
Lackington, Hughes, Harding, Mavor & Jones
Frankenstein's Monster was originally created by the scientist, Dr. Victor Frankenstein sometime in the early 19th century. Frankenstein originally gave life to the creature using a secret method that combined modern science with medieval alchemy. Upon the successful completion of his experiment, Frankenstein became horrified by his own creation and quickly abandons it. Alone, frightened and unaware of it's own origin, the monster began wandering the wilderness.
At first the monster managed to find some small peace while secretly living in the woodshed of a remote cottage belonging to a peasant family. While they were unaware of his existence, he studied them very carefully eventually learning speech through observation. Over time the monster comes to think of them as a sort of surrogate family and eventually works up the courage to reveal himself to the family's blind father. Because the father cannot see the monsters true nature he becomes the first (and last) human being to treat him with kindness or respect. Things take a turn for the worst however when the blind father's children return and drive the monster off in a fit of terror. The monster later saves a young girl from drowning only to be shot in the shoulder by one of the local peasants. Enraged and embittered, the monster curses all humanity and swears vengeance on his creator; Victor Frankenstein.
While seeking it's creator the monster's fate once again crossed that of Dr. Frankenstein, first by inadvertently killing Victor's younger brother William then by framing the Frankensteins' family maid for the crime. The monster later confronted its creator in the mountains and asks Victor to create a female mate for it. In exchange, the monster promised to take it's new bride somewhere far from civilisation and never trouble Victor or humanity again. Victor agreed to this at first but as he neared completion of his second creation he began to have doubts. Fearing that the two creatures might breed a new race of monsters, Victor destroyed the incomplete female. Now filled with unbridled hatred for it's creator, the monster swore to destroy everything Victor loved. The monster's final words before fleeing were "I will be with you on your wedding night!".
The monster made good on it's promise, murdering not only Victor's best friend Henry Clerval but also Victor's own bride Elizabeth Lavenza. Afterwards, Victor dedicated the last years of his life to hunting down the monster, eventually tracking him to the Arctic Circle. The hunt eventually came to an end when Victor lost control of his dog sled and fell into the freezing waters of the Arctic Ocean. Victor was later rescued by an exploration ship captained by one Robert Walton, but by that time he had already contracted severe pneumonia and was not long for this world. Realising his end was at hand, Victor confessed everything to the Captain before passing away. At first Captain Walton believed Victor had merely been delusional, but was forced to accept the horrific truth when the monster boarded his ship seeking final vengeance on it's creator. Upon finding Victor dead however, the monster was overcome with grief, having lost the closest thing to a father it had ever known. The monster vowed to travel to "the Northernmost extremity of the globe" and cremate itself upon a funeral pyre so that none may ever again learn the secret of creating life. The monster then leapt from the boat, never to be seen again.
Public Domain Literary Appearances
- Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus (novel), by Mary Shelley, 1818, significantly revised 1831.
- Presumption; or, The Fate of Frankenstein (play), by Richard Brinsley Peake, 1823.
- The Man and the Monster; or The Fate of Frankenstein (play), by Henry M. Milner, 1826.
- Frankenstein, or The Vampire’s Victim (burlesque), by Richard Henry (pseudonym of Richard Butler and Henry Chance Newton), music by Meyer Lutz, 1887.
Public Domain Film Appearances
- Frankenstein (1910)
- Life Without Soul (1915)
- Il Mostro di Frankenstein (1921)
- Tales of Tomorrow: Frankenstein (1952)
Golden Age Comic Appearances
- Prize Comics #7-67
- Frankenstein #1-33
- Ghost Rider #10
- Forbidden Worlds #110,116
- DC Comics, Universal Pictures, Marvel and numerous others have all used modified versions of the character, and their versions are definitely NOT in public domain. The look of the original drawing and the original novel are, on the other hand, undeniably Public Domain, and anyone can create their own version of Frankenstein's Monster.
- While not given a specific name in the novel the monster calls himself the "Adam of your labours" when talking to his creator. The book also calls him the "creature," "fiend," "the demon," "wretch," "devil," "thing," "being," and "ogre".