Study Guide

Frankenstein Dr. Waldman (Edward Van Sloan)

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Dr. Waldman (Edward Van Sloan)

Good old friendly Dr. Waldman recommends eating an apple a day, taking your vitamins, getting eight hours of sleep a night and…murder.

At first it looks like Dr. Waldman—Henry's old medical teacher at the university—is a bastion of morality, good advice, and properness. He says Henry's grave robbing is bad, which seems like a sane, reasonable position to take. In fact, Dr. Waldman comes across as the good scientist. He doesn't have the "insane ambition" he points out in Henry. He's clear-eyed, and realizes immediately that the monster "will prove dangerous."

When Henry cockily responds, "Poor old Waldman. Have you never wanted to do anything that was dangerous?" he emphasizes that Waldman is the sober, cautious, reasonable one. Not all scientists want to unleash monsters on the unsuspecting countryside just for a thrill.

But is Waldman really such a good guy? It's he who advocates destroying the monster, even though Henry protests with the blunt statement: "It's murder." And then, Waldman tries to dissect the monster while it's still alive…which seems both cruel and reckless. Maybe Waldman suddenly decided he wanted to do something dangerous after all. Bad move, buddy.

There's the off chance that Waldman didn't know the monster was alive when he started cutting it; he does say earlier that he plans to see it "painlessly destroyed." Still, however you look at it, Waldman messed up.

Henry may be a mad scientist, but it's not just the mad scientist who causes trouble. Waldman, the sober, sane scientist is the one whose miscalculation, and possible cruelty unleashes the monster on the unsuspecting village.

Scientists: even when they're sane, you can't trust them…at least according to Frankenstein.

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