The Complex Identity of The Creature in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

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About this sample


Words: 549 |

Page: 1|

3 min read

Published: Mar 8, 2024

Words: 549|Page: 1|3 min read

Published: Mar 8, 2024

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Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is a classic piece of literary work, setting a precedent for Gothic horror novels and inspiring numerous adaptations and interpretations. One of the most intriguing aspects of the novel is the character of the Creature, whose identity and self-discovery are central to the plot. Shelley uses a variety of human allusions and comparisons in order to convey the complexity of the Creature’s identity, highlighting the underlying themes of identity, otherness, and the human condition.

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Shelley employs biblical allusions to frame the Creature’s creation and place it within a larger theological context. The novel opens with a reference to Genesis, as Victor Frankenstein compares himself with the Biblical creator: “Like the ancient Mariner, I am made to wander… I am not the only man who believes himself to be an instrument of destiny” (Shelley, 1818, p. 43). This comparison not only sets the stage for the story but also foreshadows the moral implications of Frankenstein’s actions, as his attempt to play God leads to disaster.

Similarly, the Creature’s first moments of existence are described in terms that evoke the image of Adam, the first man in the Bible. The Creature is described as “awakened” and “born” into existence, like Adam who was created from dust by God. However, this comparison is subverted by the fact that the Creature is not a perfect creation, but a misshapen, wretched being that is instantly rejected by its own creator. This highlights the theme of otherness, as the Creature is made to feel ashamed and ostracized due to its physical appearance.


The novel uses literary allusions to draw parallels between the Creature and other literary figures, which serve to emphasize the Creature’s identity as a unique being with both human and non-human qualities. Frankenstein himself compares the Creature with Satan, stating: “I had desired [my creation] with an ardour that far exceeded moderation; but now that I had finished, the beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled my heart. Satan had his companions, fellow-devils, to admire and encourage him; but I am solitary and abhorred” (Shelley, 1818, p. 85). This comparison suggests that the Creature is likewise an outcast, but also that it has the potential for evil that is often associated with Satan, as well as the capacity for emotional suffering.


Shelley uses the metaphor of light and darkness to explore the Creature’s identity and nature. The Creature is often described as a “fiend” or a “wretch”, which emphasizes its monstrous appearance and behavior. However, these descriptions are often juxtaposed with moments of vulnerability or kindness that complicate the Creature’s image. For example, the Creature’s love for the De Lacey family, whom it secretly observes, is described as a “ray of light” that briefly illuminates its otherwise dark existence. This metaphorical language draws attention to the complexity of the Creature’s identity and the fact that it is not a simple, one-dimensional character, but a multi-faceted creation with conflicting emotions and desires.

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In conclusion, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein uses a variety of human allusions to explore the complex identity of the Creature, highlighting its otherness, potential for both good and evil, and the profound loneliness it experiences. By employing biblical and literary allusions, as well as the metaphor of light and darkness, Shelley creates a nuanced and thought-provoking portrayal of the human condition.

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Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

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The Complex Identity of the Creature in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. (2024, March 07). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 18, 2024, from
“The Complex Identity of the Creature in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.” GradesFixer, 07 Mar. 2024,
The Complex Identity of the Creature in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 18 May 2024].
The Complex Identity of the Creature in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Mar 07 [cited 2024 May 18]. Available from:
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