Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller in the National Theatre production of Frankenstein. Image courtesy of www.benedictcumberbatch.co.uk
As you might know, Frankenstein is an occurring topic at Carnegie Vanguard High School right now, and if you don’t, get on it because this story is worth knowing! Ms. Casperson’s Horror class is currently covering the Mary Shelley novel as one of its gothic novels, and the CVHS Theatre Department has chosen to perform the play in October for their Fall Show.
Published in 1818, Frankenstein was considered to be one of the earliest examples of science fiction. Still, it’s a pretty accurate representation of modern society’s judgmental tendencies and how hate, wrath, revenge, and deceit can blind our judgment of each other as a race.
When you hear “Frankenstein,” what comes to mind? Tall, scary, green, bolts in the neck…. all of these are viable adjectives, but not for this particular story. In this story, the creature is a man, just like any of us, but torn and stitched at the seams because his body is a composite of other human body parts. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein covers the unorthodox creation of human life and how the creature is exiled from society for his grotesque appearance and ignorance of social etiquette. The Creature’s creator, Victor Frankenstein, abandons him in fear and the Creature is left to fend for himself. The Creature then wanders into the streets of the city and faces the world’s harsh judgment. People ostracize him because they believe he is nothing more than a monster. He is even left without a name, which only accentuates his lack of identity and his lack of knowledge about who or what he is.
Shelley wrote this novel with these important themes- the use of knowledge for good or evil purposes, the invasion of technology into modern life, the treatment of the poor or uneducated, and the restorative powers of nature in the face of unnatural events- and brought them to the forefront of people’s minds. The Creature isn’t a stranger to the hate he endures and sadly becomes soiled by his own evil desires. Although the Creature commits multiple immoral acts, one feels sympathetic towards him. Throughout the story, one sees what makes him human: his emotion, his loneliness, his desire to find love. These are all things we feel ourselves, and though we want to hate him, we watch him grow from birth and can’t help but empathize with his pain.
I was very lucky to read and learn about this story, and I found it to be one of the most honest and beautiful pieces of writing I have ever read. Both the excitement from the horror class and the hard work put into the theatre department’s epic production is bringing this story into our hallways, and I recommend everyone to look into it. Read the book, or buy tickets to the show from a theatre friend. Either way, this story will make you cry, contemplate life, or both. It sparks intellectual discussion, something us Carnegeeks are very into.