Monstrosity reveals a lot about how humans think and feel. What one finds monstrous exposes their innermost fears. Monstrosity is that which is unusual, unnatural, and frightening. Monsters show that human nature projects its fears onto visible things, is aghast of the unknown and abnormal, and that a little monstrosity is present in everyone. Humans cast their fears onto monsters to be defeated on screen, in stories, and in between the coovers of books so they can gain a temporary sense of closure.
The mad scientist archetype is a prevalent literary trope, and it is especially prominent in Mary Shelley's classic novel Frankenstein. In the novel, Victor Frankenstein, the titular character, is a brilliant scientist who is obsessed with the idea of creating life from non-living matter. However, his attempts at playing God eventually lead to disastrous consequences, and the novel serves as a cautionary tale about the dangers of humans playing with forces beyond their control. At the heart of the novel is the idea that humans cannot play God. Victor Frankenstein's experiment to create life from non-living matter is an act of hubris, and it ultimately leads to his downfall.
In the book “The Devil You Know”, British author Mike Carey famously writes, “We make our own monsters, then fear for what they show us about ourselves.” This notion suggests that monsters are not just fictional characters but can also represent the darker aspects of human nature. In literature, a monster is characterized as evil, frightening and grotesque in appearance or behaviour. A human could also be called a monster judging by their actions and what they have done. Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein refers to Victor's creation as “the monster”, however, the true monster is Dr. Victor Frankenstein who abandons his creation and demonstrates monstrous qualities himself.
In Greek Mythology there was always a monster to be slain by the hero figure. This one specifically, was the offspring of Typhon and Echidna. The monster was called the Hydra, known for terrorizing farmers and livestock around Lake Lerna; therefore, hearing of this, King Tiryns sent Hercules to kill the Hydra. Filled with courage, Hercules had no doubt he could slay the hydra and complete yet another trial. Upon seeing the Hydra, its heads were above the clouds and only came down for a worthy battle.
Rhetorical Analysis of “Monsters and the Moral Imagination” Many people believe monsters are imaginary creatures that are seen in movies or even for others, it could be a serial killer that was heard about on the news. Stephen T. Asma wrote “Monsters and the Moral Imagination” which “first appeared in the Chronicle of Higher Education in October 2009” (Hoffman 61). Asma, who is a professor of philosophy, examines how different individual’s perceptions of a monster can be different depending on the era or even events happening around them. In “Monsters and the Moral Imagination,” Stephen T. Asma wrote a nonfiction, persuasive article for an educated and possibly specialized audience to examine how the idea of monsters have changed over time, what could be the motivation to create them, or even how life experiences could change an individual’s perceptions.
Monsters in today’s society can range from politicians to so-thought friends to your own thoughts. Today’s monsters do not necessarily ‘snatch[ed]’ or ‘rip[ped] at you, but they do impact you heavily. Some might argue that today’s monsters are indeed ‘born of Cain’, however they do not possess ‘claws’ or ‘powerful jaws’. From a young age, friends often come and go. More regularly than not, they leave a permanent scar – a mental one that is.
The Bible is filled with a shockingly large number of biblical monsters. Regardless of whether or not the monsters found in the Bible ever actually existed, they offer a compelling insight into the fears and superstitions of people from centuries ago. Interestingly, many of these Bible monsters are still having an impact on our nightmares and entertainment today. For example, it 's likely that H.P. Lovecraft was inspired by the Leviathan, and millions of people cheer weekly for Daenerys Targaryen 's dragons in Game of Thrones.
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.
A writer named Nikita Gill once said “When you see a monster next, always remember this. Do not fear the thing before you. Fear the thing that created it instead.” This quote can be related to the novel Frankenstein where instead of the actual creature being perceived as the monster, the person who created it deserves to be called one. Using the archetypal lens, Victor can be seen as the real monster in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein from his cruel characteristics, continuous patterns of monstrosity, as well as symbols and themes involving nature.
Cohen suggests that every monster, villain, antagonist, or scary thing in a piece of writing, represents some major cultural issue that the world is facing at that time. Monsters are used to present the cultural problem as something that can be solved. Each of Cohen’s seven theses
Stories about monsters appeal to humans because they provide the right amount of fear and danger, pushing on the boundaries of comfort. There are examples of monsters in literature as old as The Odyssey of Homer which includes monsters such as the sirens, and as new as the Harry Potter series which includes the monstrous Voldemort. In these stories, as well as others such as Beowulf, Grendel, and The 13th Warrior, the monsters in each are critical to the storyline. The monsters in Beowulf, Grendel, and The 13th Warrior are determined by the perspective of each story, and represent the main characters’ fears.
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
Question: To what extent is nineteenth-century literature concerned with examining what it means to be human? Thesis: Using Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Bram Stoker’s Dracula, I will formulate an essay constructing how the two nineteenth-century monsters embody the fears and realities of what it means to be human at the time and in the centuries that follow. Clasen, Mathias.
The seven theses appear to be a solid base on which a monster can be analyzed though. For this reason, all seven theses will be stated consecutively and commented on to provide some kind of category for ‘that which cannot be categorized’. Thesis 1. The monster’s body is a cultural
Monster Culture Jeffrey Jerome Cohen is the writer of “Monster Culture: Seven Theses.” He went to the University of Rochester and acquired a PhD in English and has been teaching at George Washington University since 1994. The intended audience of this essay is anybody interested in the monster culture. This essay came from Monster Theory: Reading Culture.