The seventh thesis “The Monster Stands at the Threshold…of Becoming” brings attention to the fact that we are the creators of monsters. They make us question why we have created them; how we perceive the world, how we have misinterpreted so that we can reevaluate cultural assumptions about the different race, gender, sexuality.
A good monster is never human or inhuman. Monsters serve as cautionary tales about the consequences of reckless abandon, and far more often than appearing as metaphysical beings, their true form is an idea. When children check under their beds and inside of their closets for a pair of yellow eyes and a toothy grin, they do not dispel any physical entity. Instead, they dispel the unknown. Similarly, in Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein, Victor Frankenstein grapples not with a physical entity, but his own personality flaws.
Comparing society in Beowulf and society in Frankenstein is like comparing a simple farm to the processing plant; futuristic and totally dissimilar. Although, the core ‘monsters’ are unchanged; grotesque, horrifyingly pagan-esque beings of the dark that strike terror in to the hearts of even the stoutest of fighters and the sanest of men. In the Christian and Medieval world, monsters were human beings with an unnatural birth or a birth deformity (Stitt, 2003). The term ‘monster’ derives from the Latin term ‘monere’ which means ‘To warn’ or ‘to advise’ and ‘monstrum’ which is ‘a sign or portent that disrupts the natural order as evidence of divine displeasure’. The aspect of ‘Divine Displeasure’ is attributed almost perfectly to Grendel, the monster of Beowulf and the terror of Hrothgar.
However, through examining the ancient sources of The Epic of Gilgamesh translated by Danny P. Jackson and Edith Hamilton’s compilation of myths in Mythology, and the modern sources of the book Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak and the films of King Kong directed by various people, an analysis can be made of how monsters have changed from the past to the present
L. Andrew Cooper and Brandy Ball Blake are analytical when explaining the origins of monsters and how every monster ever told in a tall tale or written in a novel, represents good or bad omens. All of the monsters described were analyzed in depth but left the door open to questions about how monsters have changed over the past hundred years. For example, monsters told in stories by the elderly hundreds of years ago were warnings about the dangers that could occur when tampering with nature or with gods. In Greek mythology, almost all stories that talked about mortals, demigods, and monsters, sent a message to the empire of Greece to respect and obey the gods in order for the god to have mercy on them. For example, the story of Arachne the weaver and Athena explained how challenging a god could end in a fatal decision.
Described in Cohen’s essay, is the extensive insight into how monsters are defined. He says that these monsters are defined by seven different aspects having to do with their appearance, character, or representation. Cohen’s first point is that monsters are always representations or symbols of a particular culture. They are made to life because of emotions or environment in that culture. He states, “The monster is born only at this metaphoric crossroads, as an embodiment of certain cultural moment--- of a time, a feeling, and a face” (Cohen).
Throughout the novel there is no difference between someone 's outer and inner beauty, ultimately one 's physical appearance ends up influencing how others character 's perceived them. “Did I request thee, Maker, from my clay, To mould me, Man, did I solicit thee, From darkness to promote me?” (Milton, Book X, 743–745). The following quote appears in John Milton’s Paradise Lost, when Adam grieves over his fallen condition. The creature within Frankenstein, can identify his feelings and compares himself to both Satan and Adam.
Monsters are described as big, ugly, no-feelings creatures. They are also described as creatures of hell or creatures that are not acceptable in the society. This is disagreeable, not all monsters are ugly, and some monsters do have some feelings. The monster Grendel, in the book Grendel by the author John Gardner, shows that he is sensitive and has human's feeling traits even though he is a monster. Different events in the book, prove that the monster is impressionable and afraid.
The monster archetype has been one of the most riveting archetypes that surrounds the concept of ‘evil’. It has been portrayed as a supernatural creature with grotesque features that normally brings disruption to the city and needs to be tamed or controlled to bring once again peace to the story. Due to this, it is most commonly depicted with a negative connotation, and with the idea of horror and fear. The monster has been present since the bible, which was written approximately 3,400 years ago, with the anecdote of Goliath. It has remained with its primary role of converting the protagonist into a hero and providing fear to the storyline.
In Jeffrey Jerome Cohen’s Monster Culture (Seven Thesis), Cohen analyzes the psychology behind monsters and how, rather than being a monstrous beast for the protagonist of the story to play against, “the monster signifies something other than itself”. Cohen makes the claim that by analyzing monsters in mythology and stories, you can learn much about the culture that gave rise to them. In Thesis 1 of Monster Culture, Cohen proposes that “the monster’s body literally incorporates fear, desire, anxiety, and fantasy”, specifically the fear, desire and anxiety of the cultures that gave rise to it;; fFor example, vVampires, undead, represent a fear of death. Monsters are born of an intense fear, desire, or internal conflict, “at this metaphorical
Monsters are born in literature through their words, origins, thoughts, and actions. Into Thin Air, by Jon Krakauer, as well as Burton Raffel’s Beowulf, contain such monsters that are large impediments to the hero’s quest. Also the expeditions or quests are affected in terms of intimidation by the monsters who are always overwhelming at first to the pessimistic eye such as how the Israelites viewed Goliath, the Philistine, when David went to fight him. A monster’s thoughts, origins, and words are often used to construct the description of monstrosity in literature and are very critical.
With more broadcasting of evil each day, the question; “what makes a monster” is often asked. Monstrosity is the state or fact of being monstrous. Monstrous by definition can mean having a frightening opinion, extremely large, or a person who is outrageously evil. Many artists and journalist have tried to tackle the question, though two authors in particular stand out. In Frankenstein Mary Shelley uses the hideous looks of the monster along with the average looks of Victor to show her readers that monstrosity comes from within.
Since the beginning of time, heroes in society have constantly changed. As society changed their perception of people, modern-day heroes such as Superman and Batman differ much from the heroes of Anglo-Saxon times like Beowulf. Characteristics of monsters within this time interval has also changed with society’s views. The element of fear affects our perception in distinguishing a hero from a monster.
A Portrayal on Accidental Monsters In many folklore and legends, there are tellings of monsters. These monsters serve important roles to show what the culture, and its society is made of. When looking at monster it can be said that there are two different types : accidental and intentional. Different examples, such as, the Golem of Prague, Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley, Beowulf, by Seamus Heaney, and the Tempest, by William Shakespeare, are examples of being an accidental monsters.
He was deemed a “modern day” mad scientist. This statement is inaccurate as no evidence suggested that he had planned on using the beast for evil purposes. He had also tried to correct his mistake after discovering what an error he had made by not creating another monster in addition to his first one. However, did he make the right decision?