Today's post marks the 300th literary musing here at Platypus of Truth. That journey began with a review of two of my favorite books: Aeschylus' Oresteia and J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings back in '06. Ten years later, we're still going strong and still drawing as often as not from the literary canon. Mary Shelley's Frankenstein makes a fitting companion to two originators with her towering fantasy that explores of the origin of pain.
This is my third time reading Frankenstein. At first, I thought it was a Rousseauean fable placing the source of human evil in the corruptions of society. On a third read, the message appears more complex. Frankenstein and the monster he has created mirror each other. Both experience early tragedy, both are left to educate themselves, and both engage in highly articulate blame shifting that seeks always to root their evil deeds in the inattention of others. They are Milton's Satan: starting off proud and towering and ending up weak, whiny and selfish. So is Man, for Mary Shelley, merely the product of his education? My first readings would have produced a resounding "yes". Now, however, I'm beginning to think it's "yes and no".
Whichever it is, here we have a picture of Frankenstein swearing to destroy The Monster at his family's grave. Unbeknownst to the grieving Frankenstein, his creation is lurking in the shadows and hearing his oath with demonic approval.