Defining Who is The Real Villain in Frankenstein

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 824 |

Pages: 2|

5 min read

Published: Aug 4, 2023

Words: 824|Pages: 2|5 min read

Published: Aug 4, 2023

Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Depiction of the Monster as a Villain in Frankenstein
  3. Theme of Rejection in The Bride of Frankenstein
  4. Conclusion
  5. Works Cited


Feeling utterly alone is one of life’s greatest horrors, a theme which runs through Shelley’s book and the entire Frankenstein series, especially The Bride of Frankenstein. This film is less about the cone-haired “bride” and more about the existential ruination of the monster himself. Roaming the countryside after narrowly escaping a mob of angry villagers, the monster seeks acceptance and connection in a world that outright rejects him based on his very existence. He grows in intelligence and understanding which only magnifies the weight of rejection he faces, making the story less of a horror film and more of a tragedy. As the narrative unfolds, it raises the question of who is the real villain in Frankenstein, challenging the notion of monstrosity and shifting the blame from the misunderstood creature to the flawed creators who abandoned him.

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Depiction of the Monster as a Villain in Frankenstein

Despite the monster’s status as an undead, unnatural being, the script is written in a way that continually shows the monster is worthy of love and doesn’t deserve to be a victim of hate. The early instances of violence and death wrought by the monster depict him as a terrifying threat at first, but his continued suffering and growing humanity eventually turns him into a sympathetic, even pitiable, doomed protagonist. Through his interactions with a faintly blind hermit who befriends him, and in saving a woman who falls into a river, we see that the monster is not inherently violent or destructive, but driven towards such actions by the hate and rejection from humans.

Furthermore, it is in the hermit’s home that the monster first understands the simple pleasures of connecting with another person. It culminates in a scene of love in peace, with the hermit thanking god for his new friend under a glowing crucifix. Concepts of friendship are finally understood by the monster, only to be ripped away after arrival of armed soldiers, making his now self-aware life even more tragic.

Theme of Rejection in The Bride of Frankenstein

Of course, it would be remiss to analyze The Bride of Frankenstein without discussing the bride’s role in the theme of rejection. Even though she only made an appearance in the final 10 or so minutes of the film, her meaning can be felt throughout. The idea of creating of a female creature is ultimately what gives the monster hope of receiving peace and acceptance from another living being. This is very similar to the monster’s motivations in the book, and in fact The Bride of Frankenstein is truer to the book in general than the first movie (which is very loosely adapted). The most prevalent theme taken from the book is that man shouldn’t play god, and this is demonstrated through the monster feeling like an outcast, the sometimes violent and defensive ramifications of such feelings, as well as the fatal consequences at the end of the film. Additionally, the concept of the monster demanding a mate was taken directly from the book, even though readers are never introduced to the bride since Frankenstein destroys her before she’s finished.

In the creation of the bride in the movie, we once again see the allure and horror of creating life in one’s own image. The bride is mesmerizing and terrifying, mainly because viewers are left with yet another creature that cannot grasp its own existence yet. However, upon seeing the monster, who approaches her with heartbreaking tenderness and warmth, the bride lets out a primordial scream of terror. Despite her being the one creature on earth who could love and understand him, the bride rejects the monster, which in turn causes the monster to reject life itself.

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Allowing Frankenstein and his true bride to escape the castle where the new creature was brought to life, the monster declares to Pretorius and the bride: “You stay. We belong dead.” Pulling a lever that overloads every machine while a tear rolls down his cheek, the monster destroys himself and the other two in a massive suicidal explosion. Even though the monster is depicted as a volatile villain following his defensive outbursts, it feels inaccurate to call him a monster at all. If anyone deserves the title of “monster” or “villain,” it’s probably Pretorius. Not only is he introduced in the beginning of the movie as a creator of a bunch of little people whom he keeps trapped in glass bubbles, he also gets the monster to help him intimidate Frankenstein into helping him create the bride. Even if Pretorius’s intentions were honest, they were clouded by his own god complex, just like Frankenstein in the book. Given the monster’s tragic resolution to reembrace death after the unendurable rejection he faced in life, The Bride of Frankenstein is clearly something more than just a classic horror film. It is a haunting, existential rumination on the nature of life and death in a cruel world.  

Works Cited

  1. Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. 1818.
  2. Whale, James, director. The Bride of Frankenstein. Universal Pictures, 1935.
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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

Defining Who Is the Real Villain in Frankenstein. (2023, August 04). GradesFixer. Retrieved February 25, 2024, from
“Defining Who Is the Real Villain in Frankenstein.” GradesFixer, 04 Aug. 2023,
Defining Who Is the Real Villain in Frankenstein. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 25 Feb. 2024].
Defining Who Is the Real Villain in Frankenstein [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2023 Aug 04 [cited 2024 Feb 25]. Available from:
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