Written by Patrick Raissi
Name: Victor Frankenstein
Played by: Various actors
First Appearance: Frankenstein; or the Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley (1818)
Villain Type: Mad Scientist
Crimes Committed: Exhuming the bodies of the dead, reassembling together to create a living being, abandoning said creature, probably one of the greatest cases of arrogance ever seen.
“It’s alive! …Oh, in the name of God! Now I know what it feels like to be God!” Within that sentence itself are the various reasons why Victor Frankenstein is a villain.
Can you believe that one of the most well-known horror stories started with a sleep over? Mary Shelley began her story of a man driven completely by his ambition of beating God at his own game after having a walking nightmare, “I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life, and stir with an uneasy, half vital motion.” (Frankenstein, 1818).
The story of Frankenstein begins in the end where Victor explains his life to an explorer and how his actions led him to the North Pole in search of his creation. In his narration he explains how his childhood sweetheart (and future wife), Elizabeth, entered his life. Frankenstein’s childhood is pretty normal until he enters his teens, which is when his eccentricities begin to manifest in his interest in Alchemy and its fabled elixir of life. Victor loses interest in these once he views a demonstration of electricity however.
The decent of Victor Frankenstein is a slow burn, which begins once he attends university. Before leaving for university, his mother catches scarlet fever and dies. While at university he becomes immersed in the world of science. His entire life becomes devoted to his studies; he ignores any possible social life and his family and focuses on the creation and decay of life. After years, Victor has mastered all that school has to offer to him.
There is one thing Victor has not yet mastered though: the power of life itself! He begins his horrid plans of reflecting God in his creation of man. However upon creating his Adam, he becomes horrified at the appearance of the creature and the realization of what he has done and flees in terror, basically mimicking an episode of Maury.
This one act of neglect causes the chain reaction that leads to the death of those close to Victor including his best friend, his brother, and his wife on their wedding day. This causes Victor to swear vengeance upon his creation and hunt him down. What we come to learn toward the conclusion however is the “monster” is actually an eloquent, gentle soul, who in being neglected, and hated merely due to his appearance became bitter and angry at his creator for forcing this life upon him. When Frankenstein saw a monster, he should’ve seen a living being capable of good. But due to Victor’s lack of responsibility, his monster became reflection of Victor’s ambition and arrogance.
The legacy Victory Frankenstein leaves upon the world is carried on not by him, but by his creation. In the end Frankenstein’s creation got what he wanted and is now one of the most beloved monster’s in the world and has appeared in countless adaptation (my favorite one includes tap dancing).