When you imagine the classic 1931 Frankenstein movie with Boris Karloff, you probably remember two phrases: "It's alive! It's ALIVE!" and "he tampered in God's domain." I think we all know the plot: Doctor Frankenstein goes too far in his experiments, creating a creature that bursts out of control, accidentally kills a small girl, then is hunted and destroyed, with Doctor Frankenstein himself dying in the final struggle. It's all a poetic example of the dangers of science gone too far.
Except that's not what happens, at all.
Once Frankenstein brings the Monster to life, the Doctor is initially happy with and indulgent of the Monster, giving him plenty of time for his brain to settle into his new body and tolerant of the Monster's behavior. Indeed, the Monster barely reacts to any stimulus initially.
Unfortunately, as soon as the Monster sees fire he freaks out and has to be restrained.
Now, this is important: If the Monster is a human that's just slowly gaining consciousness over the course of days or weeks, fire should not shock him. His reaction implies that the Monster might not be human, but the Doctor refuses to kill him; instead just restrains him. In other words, the Monster's reaction to fire may just be a quirk, not proof that he's inhuman.
Then, of course, the Monster is abused and mistreated the Doctor's assistant, leading the Monster to kill him, then escape, which escalates to the accidental death of the young girl in the countryside.
But, importantly, the Monster only behaved badly because he was mistreated, Doctor Frankenstein did nothing wrong in bringing him to life. The Monster was merely a (physically strong) child reacting to stimulus.
This interpretation gains further support from the attitude of the Doctor's mentor, who insists that the Monster should be killed "like any dangerous wild animal." While the mentor is a calm man of science, he's played in a consistently pinch-faced manner, very prim and proper and conservative (in the non-political sense). He disapproves of the Doctor's behavior from the start and immediately calls for the Monster's destruction, having no sympathy for the Monster.
What about Doctor Frankenstein's obsession? He certainly does grow obsessed and mentally unstable, but after leaving the lab and reuniting with his fiance he's shown to have returned to a merely troubled personality. Creating the Monster doesn't destroy him; indeed, it's society's rejection of the Doctor, forcing him to do his work at night and in secret, that creates much of his mental strain. He's not stressed out because he's creating life; he's stressed out because he has to do it at night with only one (unstable) assistant in an abandoned tower in the middle of nowhere.
Doctor Frankenstein did nothing wrong.
(To be clear: This is one interpretation of the movie. I'm not sure even I agree with it. But it's interesting.)
What Is This?
This site is dedicated to intellectual reviews and analysis of geek topics, including anime, video games, and tabletop RPGs.
What's Covered?3D Printing
Popular Tagsanime news review Role-playing gundam monsters video games drawing Faction workshop faction Monsters Let's Play an Interesting RPG Uncategorized boogiepop Random Idea 50 Games in 50 Weeks Game Design Hour Pyre Shattered World GM Advice Prescriptions Tarakona basics gm advice gunpla serial experiments lain
- What to do when talent doesn't like your story - Crispin Freeman talks story at Anime USA 2018
- The South Korean family masterpiece LEAFIE - Anime Review
- Tabletop role-playing's effects on storytelling - Crispin Freeman talks story at Anime USA 2018
- Story problems in The Last Jedi - Crispin Freeman talks story at Anime USA 2018
- Rogue One, Clone Wars, and Rebels - Crispin Freeman talks story at Anime USA 2018
- The quiet, heartwarming Laid-Back Camp - Anime Review
- Queer coding in stories - Crispin Freeman talks story at Anime USA 2018
- Hayao Miyazaki subverts tropes - Crispin Freeman talks story at Anime USA 2018
- How childhood stories affect you later - Crispin Freeman talks story at Anime USA 2018
- Favorite mythology and Middle Earth - Crispin Freeman talks story at Anime USA 2018
- Cosplaying the same character - Crispin Freeman talks story at Anime USA 2018
- Cosplay and the re-enactment of myth - Crispin Freeman talks story at Anime USA 2018
- Alucard and mythology - Crispin Freeman talks story at Anime USA 2018
- Acting 101 with Monica Rial - Anime USA 2018
- Ten Best "American Anime" Series by Robert Aldrich - Anime USA 2018
- Anime, voice acting, and mythology - Crispin Freeman, Anime USA 2018
- Your voice is enough - Crispin Freeman's advice to his younger self - Anime USA 2018
- A review of Isekai Izakaya, an anime about pub culture
- Crispin Freeman's Winston and the relentless pursuit of excellence - Anime USA 2018
- The character Crispin Freeman identifies with most - Anime USA 2018
- October 2018
- September 2018
- The bizarre anthology film NEO TOKYO - Anime Review
- Why I love DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS
- News: MR. OSOMATSU, FAFNER, YONA YONA PENGUIN, and more!
- Why I love the original KING KONG
- A slice-of-cafe series? Review of YOTSUIRO BIYORI
- News: New EL HAZARD? SAO Movie in US Theaters! More!
- Why I love the PRYDAIN CHRONICLES
- What impact will 3D printing have on model kits? - The Great Debate
- The incrediby ecchi 1+2=PARADISE - Anime Review
- News: New KYOANI Series! BUNGO STRAY DOGS S3!
- Why are there so few horror anime? - The Great Debate
- Why I love SCOTT PILGRIM (the comic)
- This is pure slice-of-life: QUIET COUNTRY CAFÉ / YOKOHAMA KAIDASHI KIKOU
- News: More STRIKE WITCHES! COWBOY BEBOP and DRAGONBALL in Theaters!
- Why I love the manga of Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind
- The obscure, thoughtful SF OVA SPACE FANTASIA 2001 NIGHTS - Anime Review
- News: VIOLET EVERGARDEN Movie! PIANO FOREST S2! CAPTAIN TSUBASA on US TV!
- How to Redeem the SyFy Channel - The Great Debate
- Dubs are made for stupid people - Dramatic Reading
- Why I love Mystery Science Theater 3000
- The pervy fantasy of MAZE (OVA) - Anime Review
- News: GOLDEN KAMUY S2! New Tite Kubo Manga!
- The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao - Book Review
- Otaku no Cooking: Rice burgers
- How do we encourage fans to financially support the anime industry? - The Great Debate
- What fanservice should learn from Tenchi Muyo!
- The perverse yet fascinating WICKED CITY - Anime Review
- News: New Anime; Season 2 for GURAZENI, REAL GIRL, MOROSE MONOKEAN, more!
- Live stream announcement
- What Tenchi Muyo! series should you start with?
- DVD is not worth the hype - Dramatic Reading
- The Complimentary: Yotsuba&!
- The Anime Western GUN FRONTIER - Anime Review
- What Western properties would make great anime? - The Great Debate
- Botched Miyazaki dubs - Dramatic Reading
- Tenchi Muyo! - Why you should care
- An anime Western? Review of EARLY REINS
- News: SIX New Anime Announced!
- Celebrities endorsing anime - The Great Debate
- Butt ugly character design - Dramatic Reading
- Making Japanese potato salad balls - Otaku no Cooking
- The finality of CHAR'S COUNTERATTACK - Anime Review
- News: New anime! BEAN BANDIT Kickstarter! LAND OF THE LUSTROUS Streaming! GHIBLI Documentary!
- Bacon-wrapped veggies? Yes! Making NIKUMAKI on Otaku no Cooking
- Anime Expo: Is it worth it? - Dramatic Reading
- What's so impressive about STARSHIP TROOPERS (the novel) - Complimentary
- The upbeat slice-of-life THE STELLAR SIX OF GINGACHO - Manga Review
- News: MESHI NUMA Anime! BANG DREAM Seasons 2 and 3! New YAMATO TV!
- Kenner's Alternate Star Wars Timeline - Complimentary
- Bootleg CDs are moral to buy - Dramatic Reading
- Making Naruto Rolls - Otaku no Cooking
- The live-action epic TO THE ENDS OF TIME - Movie Review
- News: 2 New Anime Films! More FREE! More Writers for LUPIN PART 5!
- Leave anime anime and live action out of it - Dramatic Reading
- Will we get another Hayao Miyazaki? - Great Debate
- The sweetly controversial manga BUNNY DROP - Manga Review
- News: New SHIROBAKO! More DIGIMON! More YU YU HAKUSHO details!
- The Positive Aspects of Anime Fandom - Great Debate
- Elitists Just Love Bashing Hentai - Dramatic Reading
- The psychological thriller THE GARDEN OF SINNERS / Kara no Kyoukai (movie 1) - Anime Review
- News: GHIBLI PARK Details, BEAN BANDIT Anime, GUNSMITH CATS Blu-Ray, and more!
- Spring 2018 Anime Preview Guide
- News: New Studio DEEN Anime, MIRAI OF THE FUTURE Premiere, and more!
- Anime Genres Poised for Comeback - The Great Debate
- Do not buy anime on DVD - Dramatic Reading
- Isao Takahata's Passing and Legacy - The Backstory
- Vampire Princess Miyu (OVA) - Anime Review
- News: Takahata passes, Japanese govt. asks ISPs to block pirate manga sites, and more
- When Real Life Meets Anime - The Great Debate
- Once You Hear the Difference.... - Dramatic Reading
- News: Final GUNDAM THE ORIGIN (maybe), MAERCHEN MAEDCHEN final eps in question, and more
- Fanservice - The Great Debate
- News: New DORORO and FLCL info! And GINTAMA coming to its end?
- Harem Anime - The Great Debate
- G-Gundam Made a Horrible Gundam - Dramatic Reading
- Usagi Ringo - Otaku no Cooking
- The epic art house film ROYAL SPACE FORCE: THE WINGS OF HONNEAMISE - Anime Review
- News: Tons of new anime, including BOOGIEPOP, TIGER & BUNNY, CARDFIGHT VANGUARD, and more!
- What does anime do poorly? - The Great Debate
- Macross Anniversary BLOWN - Dramatic Reading
- The surprisingly quiet THE DISAPPEARANCE OF NAGATO YUKI-CHAN - Manga Review
- News: Lots of New Anime Announced, including MAMORU OSHII and IKUHARA! Plus KISHIMOTO's next work!
- Why screwball comedies so popular in anime? - Great Debate
- Evangelion's Last 2 Episodes Will NEVER Be Released - Dramatic Reading
- The experimental weirdness of THE CHOCOLATE PANIC PICTURE SHOW - Anime Review
- News: New Anime Announced! Mari Okada's First Film Released! 2 Big Anime Films on Netflix!
- Why is there so much fantasy anime now? - The Great Debate
- Mononoke Hime DISSED - Salty Waters (Dramatic Reading)
- The post-apocalyptic slice-of-life comedy GIRLS' LAST TOUR - Anime Review
- News: New Anime Coming and Licensed, details on SWORD ART ONLINE live-action, and more!
- Internationalization of Anime - The Great Debate
- How can fans grow anime fandom? - Great Debate
- Bandai in America - Salty Waters (Dramatic Reading)
- 2018 Winter Anime Preview Guide
- News: New Anime Announced! MONSTER MUSUME almost sold out in UK! FMA live-action on NETFLIX!
- News: FREE in US theaters! New BAR HUNTER franchise! CELLS AT WORK gets an anime!
- How can the anime industry get more Western fans? - The Great Debate
- Anime Stagnation - Salty Waters (Dramatic Reading)
- The ecchi action comedy CUTIE HONEY (1973) - Anime Review
- News: New MIYAZAKI! TANYA THE EVIL movie! SILENT VOICE in US theaters Feb 2! GODZILLA!
- The Great Debate: Why is the manga "always better"?
- Salty Waters: Thumbs Down on Akira and Ghost in the Shell
- The absurd slice-of-life comedy A SISTER'S ALL YOU NEED - Anime Review
- News: Anime Strike Shuts Down! New TIGER AND BUNNY and LOVE LIVE SUNSHINE! VIOLET EVERGARDEN dates!
- Questions and Answers for 2017
- The avant garde symbolism of Mamoru Oshii's ANGEL'S EGG - Anime Review
- News: CRUNCHYROLL simulcasts! SENTAI licenses TAKUNOMI! New NON NON BIYORI!
- December 2018