Conceived during the summer of 1816, Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” is lauded as one of the earliest examples of science-fiction literature. Telling the story of the talented but misguided Dr. Victor Frankenstein and the hideous monster he creates, Shelley’s novel is recognized as one of the most engaging horror stories ever written. The creation myth within the book has served as inspiration for modern films, graphic novels, songs and even horror-themed episodes of numerous television shows.
But with creative license also comes the blurring of fact and fiction about the book’s iconic creature, known simply as the monster. From his green complexion to his lack of intelligence, we’ve gathered five untrue myths below about the Frankenstein monster.
1. His Name Is “Frankenstein”
Although many mistakenly believe the monster’s name to be Frankenstein, he is actually never referred to by any name in the book. Dr. Frankenstein does call him other hateful names such as “devil” and “fiend,” according to Chris Baldick, who wrote “In Frankenstein's Shadow: Myth, Monstrosity, and Nineteenth-Century Writing.”
2. He Is Green With Bolts In His Neck
In Chapter 5 of the book, Victor described the monster as having been designed to have limbs “that were in proportion, and I had selected his features as beautiful. Beautiful! -- Great God! His yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath; his hair was of a lustrous black, and flowing; his teeth of a pearly whiteness.” You see, the monster was definitely not as hideous as popular culture has updated his look to be!
3. He Died At The End Of The Book
While many assume that the monster dies after running off into the frozen arctic wasteland after his creator dies, it is never specified whether the monster survives in the harsh wilderness, as noted by Mental Floss.
4. He Lacked Intelligence
Throughout the book, the monster is portrayed as both sensitive and intelligent. He lacks only the companionship of another being just like him. And his only acts of rage and cruelty come as a result of his loneliness. So there you have it, the monster was both compassionate and knowledgeable -- not some heartless creature.
5. The Monster Is Larger Than Any Human
The monster was actually eight feet tall in the book. Thus, there have been living human beings who could look him in the eye. Nonetheless, he would still stand among the world’s tallest humans, so that definitely warrants recognition.