Author: Mary Shelley
Frankenstein, the story of a brilliant young scientist from Geneva, Victor Frankenstein, who, in the late 1700’s brings his creation to life, only to be terrified of it and the implications of its existence. He abandons his creation, which flees into the wilderness, where it finds a place to hide, and to learn.
Finding all humans as cruel to him as his creator, he seeks out the one who made him, in an effort to convince him to create a female companion, so that they may live together in peace, far from man.
Victor agrees to do so, but destroys the female on the verge of giving her life – the creature, enraged by Victors treachery, vows suffering and revenge on Victor. One by one, the creature kills off those whom Victor loves most; his brother, his friend, and finally, in an emotional climax to the story, his bride.
Driven to obsession, Victor hunts the creature down, traversing the world, and ending up in the deep frozen wastes of the far north. Here, he is rescued by a polar expedition, to whom he relays his tale. As his health is almost gone at the time of his rescue, Victor finally succumbs to death on the ship, before finishing his task of destroying the creature he brought into this world. As the creation views the corpse of his creator, within the sh
ip, he realizes his self-loathing at his own deeds, and decides to join his creator in death, in the cold, frozen seas of the far north.
Victor Frankenstein: a highly intelligent, energetic man at the outset of the tale. He tends to obsession, as he drains himself to illness in the efforts made to create life. He never fully recovers during the course of the story, and by the end of the story, he’s spent nearly all his energy and being on pursuing the creature – for much of the story, he’s thin and intense. He sets himself about with energy, and isn’t prone to moodiness or depression when he’s his “normal” self. When in the throes of his obsession, he’s dour, moody, anti-social, and, well, obsessed.
He dresses in a manner of his time and age – he’s a gentleman at the turn of the century, educated and proper. He has the financial means to dress properly according to the task at hand – be it the laboratory, or running a dogsled across miles of empty ice sheets.
The Creature: he is tall, eight feet or so in height, proportioned quite similarly to a human male. His hair is long, and black, but his skin is taught, yellowish, and thin. His eyes are a watery, pale yellow, his teeth are white, and his lips are black. He’s described as hideous, but exactly how is never mentioned directly.
He’s a highly intelligent being, self taught in speaking and reading. He is strong, supple, highly resistant to the elements, and able to exist on minimal nutrition for extended periods of time. As intelligent as he is, he never bothers to acquire more clothing than some of Victors clothes he took when he escaped the lab, and a large cloak he finds in his early travels, except at the end of the story, as they’re chasing one another out on the desert of ice.
The story of Frankenstein traverses the span of years, and many seasons therein. However, most of the more emotionally charged scenes, and especially those I am choosing for my project, take place during the colder, more solemn months of the year – late autumn, and the depths of winter. A small apartment in Geneva, Switzerland, in early winter is where the creature first comes to life, in a makeshift laboratory of Victor Frankenstein’s doing. The lighting is low, as befits the later hours in a winters day, and the colors are muted or missing altogether in such light. A year later, in the mountainous Alps of Switzerland, the creature and Frankenstein meet again, the ominous foreboding of the low clouds, drizzling rain, and creeping glacial ice of their location setting a dark, dismal mood for the reunion. Rock and ice, with a smattering of stunted pines set the color scheme. Years later, after an exhaustive pursuit of the creature, Victor finally dies on board an ice-bound ship of exploration, bound for the northern polar regions of the globe. The creature, having slipped aboard unseen, hovers over the body of his maker, voicing his satisfaction and regret for all his existence has been. It is below decks, in a darkened setting, lit by only small lanterns or candles – the shadows are deep, huge, and oppressive.
The world in which this story takes place is our own, but the age is that of the late 1700’s – the architecture, tools, and clothing of that time are applicable. Sailing vessels are of wood and canvas, and land transportation is of a simple nature: horses, carriages, and in the case of traversing the ice fields of the north, dog sleds.
The tools of animation with which Victor brings his creation to life are never mentioned, as he vehemently defends his desire to never have another creature rise to life from his methods. So, in this instance I’ll take some artistic license in possibilities of what might be present in his laboratory. Galvanic tools, as well as chemical and mechanical apparatus will be present in properly mysterious forms.