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Ben Marx

10/8/13
ENG 230: Exam 1-Question 2
The relationship between Dr. Frankenstein and the Monster in the acclaimed film
Frankenstein is renowned for being multifaceted and complex, though in saying that, it is
important to recognize that this relationship differs immensely in both the literary and visual text
of the film. From a literary standpoint, the film is quite straightforward in nature, and is widely
considered to be one of the earliest frameworks of the horror genre in America. On the other
hand, should an audience member meticulously analyze the visual aspects of the film,
particularly that of the interactions between Dr. Frankenstein and the Monster, it can be argued
that the connection between the two is perceived on an entirely different scope. To that end, a
number of major themes can be drawn from the visual text as a result of this variation, most
notably being that of the perpetual conflict in the film between natural and unnatural forces,
represented by Dr. Frankenstein and the Monster, respectively. Fundamentally, the cinematic
intricacies incorporated throughout Frankenstein provide a clear distinction between the visual
and literary elements of the film, and in a number of ways, completely alter the literary dynamic
between Dr. Frankenstein and his peculiar creation.
The narrative text of Frankenstein would likely be seen as being rather simplistic from
the perspective of the average viewer, and in many respects, her or she would be accurate in their
assessment. From the naked eye, the story of Frankenstein merely seems to involve the scientific
exploits of Dr. Frankenstein, and his inadvertent creation of a monster, who is described as a
seemingly atrocious and ostensibly unnatural anti-hero. Conversely, Dr. Frankenstein is
unsurprisingly seen as the hero of the movie, as he ultimately puts an end to what is seen as a
murderous and violent rampage perpetrated by the monster, resulting in grave injuries, and

contributing much to his credibility as the protagonist. In reality, the visual text in the film seems
to suggest a different dynamic between the two main characters, as this seemingly
unsophisticated narrative relationship between the Monster and Frankenstein cannot effectively
convey the underlying message that is being communicated in the graphical domain of the
movie.
The visual text of Frankenstein allows more adept viewers to see the association between
the Doctor and his creation in a much more candid light, particularly as the film progresses. Most
notably, a major underlying connection between the two characters that is not explicitly explored
in the literary text is the concept of the Monster being a physical manifestation of the evil
personality within Dr. Frankenstein. This concept can be effectively supported in the scene
where the Doctor and his creation confront one another on the top of a hill towards the end of the
movie, as the two characters seem to be represented as twins, with a series of progressive closeups making it difficult to distinguish between the pair. Moreover, this notion is most closely
supported during the scene in which the Doctor and the Monster have their faces distorted
between a gear as they fight one another in a windmill, literally and figuratively blurring the
lines, albeit momentarily, between the two characters. Thus, it can be reasoned that by having
such shots included within the movie, the audience is being intentionally presented with the
concept that there is little fundamental difference between the man and the monster, with the
exception of the latter merely having the stereotypical demeanor of a malicious creation.
Although Frankenstein is a diverse film to analyze in terms of the visual text, one could
extrapolate that a major recurring theme is the perpetual conflict between natural and unnatural
forces that manifests over the course of the film. In particular, it may be observed that the
Monster, who is created synthetically in a laboratory, represents an unnatural force that

seemingly repels the basic components of nature. More specifically, this can be observed in the
Monsters interactions with the natural force of fire, during which he is initially revolted, and
towards the end of the movie, proverbially is consumed by the element. Moreover, this clash
that the Monster has with nature is also well-exemplified in the scene preceding his interaction
with Maria, as he struggles with the meager task of maneuvering through bushes, hinting at his
blatant unfamiliarity and rejection of the natural world. This strained relationship, although not
immediately apparent in the literary text of Frankenstein, nevertheless serves as an integral
theme in the movie, and adds an additional layer of complexity to the film.
Despite its dated character stereotypes and predictable story arc, the visual text of
Frankenstein presents viewers young and old alike with a unique take on the otherwise simplistic
relationship between Dr. Frankenstein and his creation in the literary text. Careful analysis of the
film provides audience members with an interesting interpretation of the dynamic between the
two characters that otherwise would not be obvious from the mere storyline itself. That said, the
brilliant visual cues used throughout the film tell a story that runs analogous to the apparent
narrative text, consequently introducing such themes as the relationship between the natural and
unnatural, as well as the theory of Dr. Frankensteins creation being a representation of his own
inner sadism. Fundamentally, Frankenstein not only serves as a prime example of the importance
of the visual text in cinema, but of the subtle thematic complexities that ultimately bolster
filmmaking.