The Monster’s Point-of-view

Most classic monster stories focus on the point of view of the heroic monster slayer and the creature at the center of the tale is relegated to a secondary role. Mary Shelley broke with this pattern. Her extraordinary story reflects both the monster and his creator’s views.

Much of what movie fans know of the Frankenstein story is a Hollywood invention. But the monster’s failed attempts at participating in human society — his encounter with the old, blind man that is a feature in nearly every Frankenstein film — is a critical part of Mary’s Shelley’s original.

The monster did not wish to be created, but once he’s alive he wants to participate. He wants to be fully human. But his ugliness and his unnatural history set him apart. No one accepts him. He belongs nowhere and to no one. Eventually he asks his creator to make a bride. I won’t put a spoiler in here, but let’s just say it doesn’t work out the way the monster planned.

It’s a very sad story.

In the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, the Beast must first be loved in order to be lovable. What a catch-22! Of course, in most versions of the story, when Belle learns to see the man behind the monstrous image she falls in love with him and the spell that made him a monster is broken.

The takeaway for kids is the message that they should look beyond surface and see the beautiful soul beneath. But only the blind man enjoys the company of Frankenstein’s monster. His appearance was too frightening — too inhuman — for human friends. With that kind of feedback, no wonder the monster’s point-of-view is grim.


  1. Beth M.

    Of course I always loved the story of Beauty and the Beast and fell in love with wanting the prince inside the beast to emerge from his horrid curse to forever be with his beloved Belle. Ahhhhh….fairy tales. Did you know that the first published version of this story was in 1740! I think that shows us through time the human need to have ugliness be overcome by goodness.

    Humanizing monsters so they can be relatable has long been a part of a civilized culture and certainly part of fictional literature. Giving a soul to something soulless and wanting to believe there is a smidgen of goodness in everyone and everything is human nature. However, I agree that you just can’t help but feel a bit sad for Frankenstein and his plight to belong and be loved. Or maybe it’s just because he has Abby Normal’s brain inside his 7 and 1/2 foot long 54 inch wide monster body!

  2. It’s interesting how we define ‘monsters’. Frankenstein’s creation was a monster yet Dracula wasn’t. Elves, dwarves and even giants are not but dragons are.

    Monster = non-human = alien?

    • Candy

      I’d say that Dracula, and his kin, are monsters as defined by their behavior which is ‘monstrous.’
      I’m going to address Martians — as science fiction monsters — in another post. Umm… your territory.