Frankenstein: Monsters and Their Superiority
Uploaded by gnomer_ on May 19, 1999
I saw a creature, naked, bestial,
Who, squatting upon the ground,
Held his heart in his hands,
And ate of it.
I said, "Is it good friend?"
"It is bitter-bitter," he answered;
"But I like it
Because it is bitter
And because it is my heart."
- Stephen Crane
This reflects how both Grendel and Frankenstein must have felt during their lonely lives. The monsters simply wanted to live as the rest of society does. However, in our prejudice of their kind, we banish them from our elite society. Who gave society the right to judge who is acceptable and who is not? A better question would be who is going to stop society from judging? The answer is no one. Therefor, society continues to alienate the undesirables of our community. Some of the greatest minds of all time have been socially unacceptable. Albert Einstein lived alone and rarely wore socks of the same colour. Van Gogh found comfort only in his art and the women who constantly denied his passion. Edgar Allen Poe was "different" to say the least, consumed by the morose. Just like these great men, Grendel and Frankenstein's monster do not conform to the societal model. Also like these men, Grendel and the monster are uniquely superior to the rest of mankind. Their superiority is seen through their guile to live in a society that ostrasises their kind.
Grendel, though he needs to kill to do so, functions very well in his own sphere. Grendel survives in a hostile climate where he is hated and feared by all do to his frightening physical appearance. He lives in a cave protected by fire-snakes so as to physically and spiritually separate himself from the society that detests yet admires him. Grendel is "the brute existents by which [humankind] learns to define itself" (Gardener 73). Hrothgar's thanes continually try to extinguish Grendel's infernal rage, while he simply wishes to live in harmony with them.
Like Grendel, Frankenstein's monster also learns to live in a society that despises his kind. Frankenstein must also kill, but this is only in response to the people's abhorrence of him. Ironically, the very man who bore him now searches the globe seeking the creature's destruction. Even the ever-loving paternal figure now turns away from this outcast from society. The monster journeys all over the world to escape from the societal ills that lead everyone to hate him. He ventures to the harshest most desolate, most uninhabitable...