CR Episode 192: Frankenstein, Part III

Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

Download Link: Released on 11 September 2023

The panel discusses the concluding volume of Frankenstein, beginning with Victor’s narration of his series of personal tragedies and ending with Captain Walton’s letter describing the death of Victor and the monster’s final, vengeful resolve.


  1. At the end of this amazing book, Walton writes that the fiend “was soon borne away by the waves and lost in distance and darkness.” But how can we trust Walton and Victor to tell us what really happened, since all we have heard is filtered through them?

    Below are a play, a poem, and a book that re- imagine Frankenstein from the point of view of other characters.

    1) The Creature: The play Frankenstein by Nick Dear (a movie of the play is available for rental at the National Theater website).

    The play starts with the Creature’s origin and his struggle for existence in a hostile world in the absence of any past memory or current support. It is quite powerful. He finds the De Lacey family and the father spends months tutoring him in language and philosophy before he is found by the children and is driven off.

    The play goes awry, in my opinion, when the Creature kills the entire De Lacey family and brutally kills Elizabeth after they converse and she tells him she will be his friend. I can have sympathy for the Creature wanting vengeance on Victor, but to me, these murders make him truly evil.

    I think the book has a more important message in that people can create something with the potential for good, but if they have bad intentions and/or are irresponsible, disaster can result. Thoughts?

    2) The Female Creature: The hauntingly beautiful poem “Anything So Utterly Destroyed” by Elizabeth R. McClellan (available at:

    My hats off to Anthony and Eric of the Frankencast podcast where they discuss all things Frankenstein including movies, TV shows, books, and this poem. I highly recommend it for fans of Frankenstein and anyone who identifies with the misunderstood and marginalized Creature.

    Dr. C. and Dr. K. discussed the possibility that Victor’s decision to destroy the female in order to save humanity from a race of Creatures is his one selfless act. But is it selfless? I see Victor being more worried about the more immediate concern that if the female doesn’t like the male or won’t go away, this will make more trouble for him. Victor then throws a tantrum and destroys the female in the worst way possible by doing it front of the Creature and then cursing him. This is terribly cruel and inhumane and ends up being disastrous.

    Options if Victor really wanted to help humanity:

    1) He could have a discussion with the Creature, raise his concerns about completing the female, and then suggest other remedies. He could buy him a house and clothes so he doesn’t have to live like an animal. He could provide an education. He could invent plastic surgery. He could buy him sunglasses to cover up those watery yellow eyes (sunglasses were invented in the mid 1700’s). Perhaps the Creature could find human companions like the elder De Lacey.

    2) If the Creature insists on having a female, Victor could use deception to tell him that the animation isn’t working and he has to do more research. He could then offer all of the above.

    3) The poem raises the possibility that Victor could also have redeemed himself by animating a Creature who would not be hideous, who would have been taken care of with compassion, and who would have been a companion to his first Creature.


    3) Elizabeth: The book “The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein” by Kiersten White.

    I was very disappointed by the bland and passive female characters in Frankenstein. Why didn’t Mary Shelley make them more interesting?

    1) Was this the only type of female character acceptable in a novel of that time?

    2) Because this is a book about male hubris and irresponsibility, the lifeless female characters only need to be there because their literally lifeless bodies advance the plot (Elizabeth, Caroline, and Justine)?

    3) Or – since we only find out about these women via Victor – was Mary Shelley making the point that Victor only knew them in reference to how they were useful to him?

    The Elizabeth is Kiersten White’s book is the intelligent, resourceful, and dynamic Elizabeth I wish Mary Shelley would have created. This Elizabeth reminds me of Mary Wollstonecraft when she went on a crazy adventure to the far north searching for stolen treasure and wrote about it in “Letters written during a short residence in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark”. Samuel Coleridge is thought to allude to Mary in Kubla Khan in these lines –

    A savage place! as holy and enchanted
    As e’er beneath a waning moon was haunted
    By woman wailing for her demon-lover

    The novel is not “great” literature in the sense that it does not raise morally ambiguous questions – the good and bad people are very clear by the end of the book. However, I really liked it because it provided a very satisfying alternative ending for both Elizabeth and the Creature.

    Many thanks to Dr. C. and Dr. K. for this very satisfying, and may I say electrifying, discussion of Frankenstein!

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  2. Another thought about a selfless act Victor could have, but did not, perform –

    Since the Creature says he wants companionship, Victor could have made him a Franken-dog like the one in the movie Frankenweenie. Dogs are amazing and my favorite joke that explains why is the following –

    If you leave your spouse, your cat, and your dog in the trunk of your car, when you come back in four hours, only one of them will be happy to see you!

    The unconditional love that a dog would give the Creature might be just what he wants and needs.

    If Victor did not make the Creature a dog, another possible ending to the story would be that the Creature finds Victor’s one surviving sled dog which Victor and Walton have abandoned on the ice floe. Now that the Creature has found a companion, they live happily ever after together exploring the world.

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