After posting numerous blog posts and undertaking an endless amount of research for a term paper about Frankenstein, I came up with an interesting idea; did the monster even exist? I know it seems ridiculous, the whole novel is based around Victor’s creation and his journey. But what if it never happened? Think about it, the only people that the creature interacts with, that the reader can 100% confirm, is with Frankenstein himself. What I mean is that yes, it’s true that the creature interacts with William by killing him, same thing with Elizabeth, or that the monster interacts with the family at the cabin. But these stories were never accounted to the reader directly. Instead, the creature tells Victor these stories and the reader is left to believe that they are true. The majority of the novel is told through a narration presented to us by Victor, and what I believe is that perhaps, Victor suffered from schizophrenia or another form of mental illness, and he manifested the idea of creating a monster as an excuse.
My idea is that, in reality, the mental illness that Victor is suffering from is the true cause of all of the death and tragedies in his life. Instead of a grotesque creation being the murderer, Victor is the true culprit. Maybe Victor really was trying to reanimate life but had a series of mental breakdowns due the multiple failed attempts he suffered, and in a rage filled guilt, killed William, Henry, Elizabeth, and eventually himself. As a reader, we never hear about villagers seeing the monster, or anyone else. Also, is it purely coincidence that Victor keeps coming across the monster in the great wilderness? It all seems way too coincidental and improbable.
The only thing that holds my theory back is the form of narration at the beginning and end of the novel. These letters are drastically different from the “Victor point of view style” narration that makes up the majority of the novel. The only answers I could think of is that Victor wrote the letters himself as a means of dealing with his mental illness, or that Captain Walton believed Victor so strongly that he himself began to adapt to Victor’s point of view, and believed that the monster really did exist.
In the end the theory is open for discussion. What do you think? Did the monster really exist, or was it all in Victor’s head?