My Tsundoku Project: Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

FrankensteinFinally! I just finished reading Frankenstein. Probably my least favorite monster but now that I’ve read the source material, of all the mythical creatures I’ve read and seen, he’s the one I relate to the most.

Hollywood pretty much ruined this creature for me with the over-the-top square everything: square face, square frame, square shoes. Bolts and screws and the green Hulk makeup. The original had none of that shit. Mary Shelley actually describes the monster as beautiful with flowing long black hair. He was 8 ft tall, yes, but actually had beautiful features. Well if you’re going to create a human from scratch, why not pick the best bits, right?

Reading the original text, you actually can sympathize with the monster. It’s actually Frankenstein’s fault his monster became a killing machine. If he’d only stayed with his creation and taught it to assimilate, he would have been a lovable Hagrid-like creature instead of an angry unlovable un-Shrek-y type of an ogre.

Frankenstein’s monster was not the bumbling idiot Hollywood movies often portrays. He’s actually an intellectual. He taught himself the language of his “cottagers” and learned to read and appreciate great literature. One of his favorite books was Paradise Lost where he sympathized with Satan rather than Adam, God’s first human creation. As a monster, ostracized and cast off from normal society, he feels unloved although he did nothing (yet) to deserve that kind of treatment and reaction.

Although Frankenstein was to blame for creating the monster in the first place, and then casting it off immediately after, the monster is certainly not blameless as he shows that he is capable to the highest degree of distinguishing right from wrong. They are both to blame for what happened to their victims. They both acted rashly mostly out of sheer rage and revenge. It is quite ironic that they are both intellectuals  and yet they let raw emotions dictate their action. 

Danny Boyle captures the novel perfectly in his theater production of Frankenstein featuring the two Sherlocks, Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller, lthough he did add some more dramatic moments for the theater audiences. The rape scene in the end for one. For a moment, I thought I was going to read it but then again, it was the 1800s and a novel like that would’ve enraged the public.

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Still Cumberbatched-Shit Crazy: Frankenstein with the other Sherlock

One of the most positive results that came out of my Benedict Cumberbatch obsession is the re-awakening of my appreciation for the classics. I’ve read the children’s versions of classics and as I grow older I began reading the original books, the unabridged versions with all the gory details children aren’t supposed to read. So now, I’m still stuck on Sherlock. I can’t believe how many stories Arthur Conan Doyle actually wrote about the detective. Although I would’ve liked a little bit more Irene Adler in some of them.

I’ve also watched all 5 episodes of Parade’s End, a much more interesting 1910 drama compared to Downton Abbey (which, by the way, after killing one of my fave characters is now so ho-hum-who-cares). As I described to my office mates, Parade’s End is like a classier soap opera. It’s written by a funny-named author, Ford Madox Ford.

Now I want to watch this Frankenstein play. The trailer alone is hauntingly gothic and intense. If I could teleport myself to the theater, I would! I’ve always imagined Frankenstein’s monster as the green, bumbling, Hulk-like dude with 2 over-sized screws on the head. So uninteresting, unintelligent and robotic-like creature. But this version is sexy! Of course, having 2 versions of the creature and the doctor be played by the sexiest Sherlocks in TV certainly helps.

So now, I’m thinking maybe I should read the original Mary Shelley novel! I haven’t even finished Dracula yet. (I’m not a fan of reading a lot of letters in a novel. ) I’m going to try and get the novel. I heard certain theaters in US will be showing the footage of the play. I hope they would put out a DVD. They’d certainly make a killing with all the Cumberbactched ladies opening their wallets… and more.

I’ve never been more interested in this creature. Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller certainly changed the perception I have of this monster. Mary Shelley would be so proud!