The monster comes into the world by a pretty terrible set of circumstances. He has the strength of a giant, yet an infant mind. He has a gentle nature, yet his physical defects hide his goodness and make everyone fear and mistreat him. He is rejected by his own creator because of his hideous looks. His feelings are the most deep and moving of any character’s in this novel, as well as the most conflicted.
To make matters more confusing, the monster is compared to both Adam and Satan in Paradise Lost. This may seem slightly unclear. The thing to keep in mind is that the idea at the core of the monster is his duality. His very complex duality. He is at once man in his pure state before the Fall (the Fall = evil), and yet the incarnation of evil itself (what with all his murdering and such). Hmm…this is starting to sound a little like Victor Frankenstein. Complex duality…conflicting characterization…could it be that the monster resembles his maker in his duality?
Let’s talk about his name, and how it isn’t Frankenstein. This common mistake or mass ignorance is actually illuminating. Since the monster has no name of his own, he’s not quite an independent fellow. Instead, he’s tied to his creator. He is nothing without Victor. He is as much a part of Frankenstein as he is his own being. So we might as well call him "Frankenstein."
This starts to get at the sob-fest at the end of the text. We, like every other reader, react something like this: "What? We thought Victor and the monster were enemies! What’s going on?" Exactly. What is going on? The monster may hate Victor, want to take vengeance on him, want to kill all his friends in gruesome and inhuman ways, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t love the guy.
Of course, the other reason the monster turns on the water works is that Victor was his last connection to humanity. If you hadn’t noticed, the monster is one of many people in this text that suffers from loneliness, solitude, and an all around desire for companionship. Victor may have scorned him, hated him, and tried repeatedly to kill him, but hey, at least he talks to the monster. At least he acknowledges the monster’s existence. And for a dude who’s spent most of his miserable life in hiding and exile, this can be pretty appealing. Good or bad, Victor is the only relationship he’s ever had. The squirrels don’t count.
Now, whether or not you’d like to admit it, you teared up a little bit at that ending. Come on, a little bit. Why is that? Because we, the readers, totally like the monster. He’s a nice guy. He’s compassionate. He’s people-smart. He saves a little girl’s life. He just gets the shaft because he’s ugly. Can we blame him if he lashes out in unexpected and absurdly violent ways?
That’s a good question. Do we blame him? Do we hate him? Do we love him? This sounds like more conflicting emotions. Could it be that we, the reader, feel the same duality of emotions that the monster and Victor feel for each other?
OK, so one more thing. What does it mean that the monster is made out of dead-person parts? If he’s made up out of people, then he’s basically a person himself. But if they’re dead, then he’s never really alive in the first place. You could also say that, since he’s a hodge-podge of human parts, he’s also a potpourri of human qualities. This might explain his duality.