Design a site like this with
Get started


Frankenstein and the Creature as Doubles

In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein Frankenstein and his creature do not look similar, like Laura and Lizzie from “Goblin Market,” yet they still are doubles. Frankenstein’s creature is always able to find Frankenstein, and their fates are tied together. Frankenstein creates the creature, so already, Frankenstein and his creature are aligned together. Although, the alignment could be that of father and son or god and human. The creature’s eerie knowledge of Frankenstein’s movements, and the creature’s end monologue to Walton points more towards doubling. The creature says, “He is dead who called me into being; and when I shall be no more, the very remembrance of us both will speedily vanish” (161). Frankenstein is dead, and now the creature is also arranging his own death. The creature’s death is reactionary to Frankenstein’s death, and the creature makes this clear through first acknowledging that “he is dead who called me into being,” with that being a reference to Frankenstein. The creature asserts that his death is necessary for “the very remembrance” of them to “speedily vanish.” The fact that the creature needs to die for remembrance of Frankenstein to vanish implies that the creature is an extension of Frankenstein. While the creature is still alive, part of Frankenstein is still alive, so the memory of him cannot disappear. In this way, Frankenstein and his creature are doubles.

A Freudian Reading of Frankenstein and his Creature’s Doubling

Frankenstein is the whole psyche, or whole person, while the creature is an externalization of his uncontrolled id. An example of how this works is when the creature kills Frankenstein’s bride, Elizabeth, on their wedding night. Wedding nights are traditionally a time for the couple to consummate the marriage, yet Frankenstein “earnestingly entreated [Elizabeth] to retire, resolving not to join her until [he] had obtained some knowledge as to the situation of [his] enemy” (140). Frankenstein sends his bride alone into the bedroom on their wedding night, and instead of consummation, focuses on an “enemy.” At this point in the novel, Frankenstein has already displayed a tendency to fear female sexuality, as he tears apart the female creation in fear of not being able to control her, and he forces all the women in his life to take matriachal roles. Even his bride, Elizabeth, is an incentuous relationship, as she was brought up like Frankenstein’s sister, though they are actually cousins. Frankenstein’s love for Elizabeth is hardly passionate, as most of his narrative features years of no contact with her and no thought about her. Therefore, when the creature kills Elizabeth in the wedding bed, it is an externalization of Frankenstein’s animalistic desire. Frankenstein himself would never kill Elizabeth, but his unregulated id? Even movie adaptations, such as FrankensteinYoung Frankenstein, and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein pick up on this, as seen in these movie clip. 

In all of these adaptations, the scene between the creature and Elizabeth is sexual, either explictly, like in Young Frankenstein, subtly, like in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, or done through cuts, like in Frankenstein. The sexual relationship between the creature and Elizabeth on Elizabeth’s and Frankenstein’s wedding night showcases how the creature embodies Frankenstein’s id through manifesting Frankenstein’s sexual desire and his destruction of female sexual desire.

Implications for Gothic Literature

Frankenstein and his creature’s doubleness is a great example of how the monstrosity in gothic literature shifts from non-human monsters, such as the creature, to human monsters, such as Frankenstein. Both Frankenstein and the creature are monsters, as Frankenstein creates the creature and continously makes poor decisions that result in even more deaths. Also, with the doubling, the creature is implicitly human, as it becomes an extension of Frankenstein, and thus, a part of human nature. Monstrosity is within human capability, as the monsters are not so far from humans. We see this shift in thinking about monsters as human with Dracula, as Dracula looks more human than the creature, and more modern horror novels, such as Psycho, as Norman Bates is a human. Even though Frankenstein focuses on a monster that is very much not human-looking, the novel does a lot of work at humanizing the creature and connecting the creature back to Frankenstein and his id, that the trace of human monsters can be seen even in Frankenstein

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close