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Chapter IX.

Published onJun 17, 2019
Chapter IX.

Chapter IX.

The being finished speaking, and fixed his looks upon me in expectation of a reply. But I was bewildered, perplexed, and unable to arrange my ideas sufficiently to understand the full extent of his proposition. He continued—

“You must create a female for me, with whom I can live in the interchange of those sympathies necessary for my being. This you alone can do; and I demand it of you as a right which you must not refuse.”

The latter part of his tale had kindled anew in me the anger that had died away while he narrated his peaceful life among the cottagers, and, as he said this, I could no longer suppress the rage that burned within me.

“I do refuse it,” I replied; “and no torture shall ever extort a consent from me. You may render me the most miserable of men, but you shall never make me base in my own eyes. Shall I create another like yourself, whose joint wickedness might desolate the world. Begone! I have answered you; you may torture me, but I will never consent.”

“You are in the wrong,” replied the fiend; “and, instead of threatening, I am content to reason with you. I am malicious because I am miserable; am I not shunned and hated by all mankind? You, my creator, would tear me to pieces, and triumph; remember that, and tell me why I should pity man more than he pities me? You would not call it murder, if you could precipitate me into one of those ice-rifts, and destroy my frame, the work of your own hands. Shall I respect man, when he contemns me? Let him live with me in the interchange of kindness, and, instead of injury, I would bestow every benefit upon him with tears of gratitude at his acceptance. But that cannot be; the human senses are insurmountable barriers to our union. Yet mine shall not be the submission of abject slavery. I will revenge my injuries: if I cannot inspire love, I will cause fear; and chiefly towards you my arch-enemy, because my creator, do I swear inextinguishable hatred. Have a care: I will work at your destruction, nor finish until I desolate your heart, so that you curse the hour of your birth.”

A fiendish rage animated him as he said this; his face was wrinkled into contortions too horrible for human eyes to behold; but presently he calmed himself, and proceeded—

“I intended to reason. This passion is detrimental to me; for you do not reflect that you are the cause of its excess. If any being felt emotions of benevolence towards me, I should return them an hundred and an hundred fold; for that one creature’s sake, I would make peace with the whole kind! But I now indulge in dreams of bliss that cannot be realized. What I ask of you is reasonable and moderate; I demand a creature of another sex, but as hideous as myself: the gratification is small, but it is all that I can receive, and it shall content me. It is true, we shall be monsters, cut off from all the world; but on that account we shall be more attached to one another. Our lives will not be happy, but they will be harmless, and free from the misery I now feel. Oh! my creator, make me happy; let me feel gratitude towards you for one benefit! Let me see that I excite the sympathy of some existing thing; do not deny me my request!”

I was moved. I shuddered when I thought of the possible consequences of my consent; but I felt that there was some justice in his argument. His tale, and the feelings he now expressed, proved him to be a creature of fine sensations; and did I not, as his maker, owe him all the portion of happiness that it was in my power to bestow? He saw my change of feeling, and continued—

“If you consent, neither you nor any other human being shall ever see us again: I will go to the vast wilds of South America. My food is not that of man; I do not destroy the lamb and the kid, to glut my appetite; acorns and berries afford me sufficient nourishment. My companion will be of the same nature as myself, and will be content with the same fare. We shall make our bed of dried leaves; the sun will shine on us as on man, and will ripen our food. The picture I present to you is peaceful and human, and you must feel that you could deny it only in the wantonness of power and cruelty. Pitiless as you have been towards me, I now see compassion in your eyes; let me seize the favourable moment, and persuade you to promise what I so ardently desire.”

“You propose,” replied I, “to fly from the habitations of man, to dwell in those wilds where the beasts of the field will be your only companions. How can you, who long for the love and sympathy of man, persevere in this exile? You will return, and again seek their kindness, and you will meet with their detestation; your evil passions will be renewed, and you will then have a companion to aid you in the task of destruction. This may not be; cease to argue the point, for I cannot consent.”

“How inconstant are your feelings! but a moment ago you were moved by my representations, and why do you again harden yourself to my complaints? I swear to you, by the earth which I inhabit, and by you that made me, that, with the companion you bestow, I will quit the neighbourhood of man, and dwell, as it may chance, in the most savage of places. My evil passions will have fled, for I shall meet with sympathy; my life will flow quietly away, and, in my dying moments, I shall not curse my maker.”

His words had a strange effect upon me. I compassionated him, and sometimes felt a wish to console him; but when I looked upon him, when I saw the filthy mass that moved and talked, my heart sickened, and my feelings were altered to those of horror and hatred. I tried to stifle these sensations; I thought, that as I could not sympathize with him, I had no right to withhold from him the small portion of happiness which was yet in my power to bestow.

“You swear,” I said, “to be harmless; but have you not already shewn a degree of malice that should reasonably make me distrust you? May not even this be a feint that will increase your triumph by affording a wider scope for your revenge?”

“How is this? I thought I had moved your compassion, and yet you still refuse to bestow on me the only benefit that can soften my heart, and render me harmless. If I have no ties and no affections, hatred and vice must be my portion; the love of another will destroy the cause of my crimes, and I shall become a thing, of whose existence every one will be ignorant. My vices are the children of a forced solitude that I abhor; and my virtues will necessarily arise when I live in communion with an equal. I shall feel the affections of a sensitive being, and become linked to the chain of existence and events, from which I am now excluded.”

I paused some time to reflect on all he had related, and the various arguments which he had employed. I thought of the promise of virtues which he had displayed on the opening of his existence, and the subsequent blight of all kindly feeling by the loathing and scorn which his protectors had manifested towards him. His power and threats were not omitted in my calculations: a creature who could exist in the ice caves of the glaciers, and hide himself from pursuit among the ridges of inaccessible precipices, was a being possessing faculties it would be vain to cope with. After a long pause of reflection, I concluded, that the justice due both to him and my fellow-creatures demanded of me that I should comply with his request. Turning to him, therefore, I said—

“I consent to your demand, on your solemn oath to quit Europe for ever, and every other place in the neighbourhood of man, as soon as I shall deliver into your hands a female who will accompany you in your exile.”

“I swear,” he cried, “by the sun, and by the blue sky of heaven, that if you grant my prayer, while they exist you shall never behold me again. Depart to your home, and commence your labours: I shall watch their progress with unutterable anxiety; and fear not but that when you are ready I shall appear.”

Saying this, he suddenly quitted me, fearful, perhaps, of any change in my sentiments. I saw him descend the mountain with greater speed than the flight of an eagle, and quickly lost him among the undulations of the sea of ice.

His tale had occupied the whole day; and the sun was upon the verge of the horizon when he departed. I knew that I ought to hasten my descent towards the valley, as I should soon be encompassed in darkness; but my heart was heavy, and my steps slow. The labour of winding among the little paths of the mountains, and fixing my feet firmly as I advanced, perplexed me, occupied as I was by the emotions which the occurrences of the day had produced. Night was far advanced, when I came to the half-way resting-place, and seated myself beside the fountain. The stars shone at intervals, as the clouds passed from over them; the dark pines rose before me, and every here and there a broken tree lay on the ground: it was a scene of wonderful solemnity, and stirred strange thoughts within me. I wept bitterly; and, clasping my hands in agony, I exclaimed, “Oh! stars, and clouds, and winds, ye are all about to mock me: if ye really pity me, crush sensation and memory; let me become as nought; but if not, depart, depart and leave me in darkness.”

These were wild and miserable thoughts; but I cannot describe to you how the eternal twinkling of the stars weighed upon me, and how I listened to every blast of wind, as if it were a dull ugly siroc on its way to consume me.

Morning dawned before I arrived at the village of Chamounix; but my presence, so haggard and strange, hardly calmed the fears of my family, who had waited the whole night in anxious expectation of my return.

The following day we returned to Geneva. The intention of my father in coming had been to divert my mind, and to restore me to my lost tranquillity; but the medicine had been fatal. And, unable to account for the excess of misery I appeared to suffer, he hastened to return home, hoping the quiet and monotony of a domestic life would by degrees alleviate my sufferings from whatsoever cause they might spring.

For myself, I was passive in all their arrangements; and the gentle affection of my beloved Elizabeth was inadequate to draw me from the depth of my despair. The promise I had made to the dæmon weighed upon my mind, like Dante’s iron cowl on the heads of the hellish hypocrites. All pleasures of earth and sky passed before me like a dream, and that thought only had to me the reality of life. Can you wonder, that sometimes a kind of insanity possessed me, or that I saw continually about me a multitude of filthy animals inflicting on me incessant torture, that often extorted screams and bitter groans?

By degrees, however, these feelings became calmed. I entered again into the every-day scene of life, if not with interest, at least with some degree of tranquillity.


Aric Maiden:

This line and the following passage explores the idea that society sets some sets the rules and then abandons those that cannot conform to them. Victor, and most of society, would like to believe that there is Good and Evil, and bear no responsibility. But the Creature has been shaped by the parameters of the existence his creator abandoned him in. Society is constantly allowing its most vulnerable to fall through the cracks, and then judging them for their reactions and attempts at survival. A street urchin steals food from a shop to survive; he should’ve starved to death awaiting the condescending charity of the privileged, society would say. But the Creature is instead asserting himself in the world by the only path it has left for him, controlling his destiny as every living being has a right to.

Julisa Cortes:

In this moment, the creature is attempting to convince Victor to make him a female companion in order to end the loneliness and sadness he has experienced due to the rejection by society. Right away, Victor is against the idea; he is no longer excited and passionate about carrying out the same scientific experiment once again. As a result, the creature foes on this rant where he expresses his emotions and perspective regarding the situation. When the creature says, “You would not call it murder, if you could precipitate me into one of those ice-rifts, and destroy my frame. . .,” we can see that no matter how much the creature more the evolves into a more “human” being, he will always be rejected by everyone, even his creator. Additionally, throughout the novel, we have witnessed how advanced and emotional the creature has become, representing a “normal” human being on the inside, but no one gives him a chance to become a part of society due to what they see on the outside. In the end, due to the blinding prejudice society has during this time, the creature will only ever be regarded as a monster or demon, even when displaying human attributes.

Diana Rejon:
  • Appearance and its effects are a major theme in this book. An attribute of Frankenstein is the importance of looks. While he talks about the beauty of Elizabeth and Justine; He also describes the disgusting appearance of his creation. Even the creature is disgusted by his looks but admires the beauty in others. “His words had a strange effect upon me. I compassionated him, and sometimes felt a wish to console him; but when I looked upon him, when I saw the filthy mass that moved and talked, my heart sickened, and my feelings were altered to those of horror and hatred. I tried to stifle these sensations; I thought that, as I could not sympathize with him, I had no right to withhold from him the small portion of happiness which was yet in my power to bestow.” (131)

Cora Ducolon:

Much of the novel seems to be rooted in this fear of woman. Frankenstein is taking on the role of woman when he creates a human, perhaps due to womb envy. Then when the creature asks for a woman, Frankenstein is hesitant since the woman could be stronger and could reproduce.

Albert Bang:

In the second paragraph of chapter IX it highlights the monster’s ultimatum. Victor is quick to refuse and I don’t blame him for doing so, for any sane man would. But unless you can somehow delete his monstrosity of a mistake, refusing this request would be a mistake not only for Victor’s well being but for all of mankind. For the monster’s loneliness and alienation from the rest of the world would only fuel his rage and resentment towards mankind, which will only bring more deaths and destruction in his wake. Victor should create a female companion for the monster for he will be content and leave the world of mankind alone.

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Duncan Burdick:

This is the key moment that Frankenstein remakes his view of the creature, and, even if for only a moment, he genuinely cares for the creature. And this is a good thing, to finally see the creation that you’ve made in a different light, to see it as something that you may have never seen it as before.

Ash Kingery:

The creature demands a mate, but he fails to consider the possibility that she could reject him or otherwise make a choice contrary to his wishes. As Victor finally realizes, making another creature is a terrible idea, and his refusal is ultimately for the best. There are too many potential disasters that could result from a second creature existing, and even with the misery the first creature inflicts on Victor, his anger is kept away from the rest of humanity. In addition, it would be cruel to bring another monster into the world when the first is so miserable; even being away from humans would not necessarily prevent the two creatures from living unhappy lives.

Brennan Jackson:

This passage demonstrates how much Vicor has gone through. Shelley shows this through the line “the medicine had been fatal.” This shows that no matter what Victor does to give him a break from constantly worrying about the monster, it doesn’t work. This passage also reminds the reader of Victor’s family, displaying the distress placed on them as well. Shelley reminds the reader of the cost at which the progression of knowledge takes on people. Shelley does this through not only the repercussions shown in Victor’s physical and mental health, but also in the people the Monster has affected as well. The reader is encouraged to be cautious with the progression of knowledge. Victor had originally wanted to make life so badly that it consumed every minute of his time. But now, he wants nothing to do with what he created, but it’s too late to turn back now. It is important for Shelley to depict the state at which Victor is in in order to display the progression of the character. This is what teaches some of the lessons in which Shelley attempts to make. Once the reader sees the character go through this hardship, they can see the lesson in which they are meant to take away.

Charlie Kopp:

In this quote, the monster feels a great rage, as Victor says “contortions too horrible for human eyes to behold.” Note that Victor says specifically human eyes, reinforcing the fact that this monster does not belong in the human world and will never be able to fit in. Again in this quote the monster’s inhumanity is emphasized, in its “fiendish rage.” Fiendish, meaning unusually cruel or devilish further dehumanizes the monster, emphasizing and further encouraging the alienation that the monster experiences throughout his short life span. This dehumanization in descriptions is not only seen in Frankenstein and other works of fiction of human-like monsters, but also in real life of actual humans.

Just look at the language used in US legislation concerning immigrants, with the word ‘alien’ being used multiple times to describe foreign citizens (Esther Yu Hsi Lee “The Dehumanizing History Of The Words We’ve Used To Describe Immigrants). Although the word has since been removed (in 2015), the impact and effect stays, these inhuman descriptors encouraging xenophobia and making it easier for many Americans to dismiss immigrants as an ‘other’ and ‘things’ that we should look down upon. This relates back to Frankenstein, because all throughout the book Victor is trying to find ways to distance himself from the monster, just as some of my fellow Americans try to distance themselves from immigrants. The easiest solution to distancing being simply to say that, ‘they’re different from me’.

Lance Davenport:

Mary Shelley uses many different literary devices to get the monsters point across alongside bringing more action into this novel. This passage specifically shows Shelley’s use of metaphors and hyperboles adds to the description already seen in this play. Shelley adds description to further develop the characters and the plot. Shelley used a hyperbole to help set a tone for the monster in the rest of the novel, “his face was wrinkled into contortions too horrible for human eyes to behold” Victor Frankenstein already does not like the Monster because of his “ugliness” but Shelley added this hyperbole for the reader to understand what Victor felt when he saw the Monster.  Shelley's description especially when she described the monsters face “contorting” shows her ability to draw the reader in and keep them interested. Shelley also described the monster as too ugly for anyone to “behold” further developing the readers vision of the monster and the readers thoughts of the monster. Shelley's description of the monster adds to the plot and allows the reader to understand what the monster feels and looks like.

Dexter Mayo:

The Monster has requested for Victor to build and create him a woman monster, with whom he can share his life in hopes that it will not be as miserable with company. Victor is reluctant to create another monster, and does not know if he should help the Monster. Because of what the Monster did to William and Justine, Victor knows what he is capable of, and does not want to see these animals ruining the human world. The monster threatens Victor by saying “Have a care: I will work at your destruction, not finish until I desolate your heart, to that you cure the hour of your birth”. The Monster needs to show Victor that he has the ultimate control, and that since Victor has created a being so much more powerful than him, he is now subject to the Monster. But, this is exactly what Victor is worried of. Should he create a Monster, that might potentially ruin the world, with his new female counterpart? Especially if the monster has just shown so much power and hatred towards humans. Or, should Victor not create him and possibly enrage the Monster even more, and put his family and the human race in danger? Another reason for Victor not to create a monster is that he has many bad memories of when he first created the Monster; being closed off from his family, not eating, not sleeping, and being cut off from the outside world. Frankenstein does not want to waste more time of his life making a creature he knows will only bring horror to his world.

Jeremy Fried:

In this passage, the Monster shows his true colors. He demonstrates how he is nothing but an ugly creature with a good heart. Although filled with rage, the Monster is able to contain himself and reason with Victor. After being self-educated, the amount of knowledge and communication skills is other-worldly. These skills are truly put to the test as he must confront his creator, whom he possess nothing but hatred for. The Monster admits he is flawed, but that he will overcome it, “I will revenge my injuries: if I cannot inspire love, I will cause fear; and chiefly towards you my arch-enemy, because my creator, do I swear inextinguishable hatred.” He speaks about his hatred for Victor because of his treatment of him after birth. Frankenstein ditched him with no intellect and less than a day on Earth. As a birth giver, one is automatically presented a responsibility to take care and nurture their child. In this scenario, Frankenstein abandoned him. Because of that, the Monster swears on his eternal hatred for Frankenstein and promises to overcome the challenges bestowed upon him by his creator.

Lola Hakim:

In this quote, the Monster demands that Victor creates him female companion of his own kind. As the Monster has caused much destruction to Victor’s life, Victor refuses the Monster’s wish out of spite and fear. The thought of another demoniacal and malicious creature out in the world inserts fear in Victor. When Victor refuses, the Monster makes the point that he has not always been malignant and odious. The Monster states that he was initially benevolent, as he was just discovering the ways of the world. But once society rejected and shunned the Monster, he began to believe that not only was he the Monster that people made him out to be, but he developed a sense of vengeance towards the world in return for how they treated him. The monster illustrates his struggles to Victor about the ways he was hated by all mankind, and then states that even Victor, the man who created him, would take joy in his destruction. He states that although Victor calls the Monster’s actions murder, if Victor killed the Monster he wouldn’t believe it to be so. The monster then proceeds to ask a question which makes Victor vacillate, “Shall I respect man, if he contemns me?” The Monster forces Victor to think of the Monster as human, by comparing himself to others. He makes the point that if society rejects him, why should he respect society. The Monster manipulates Victor by justifying all of his unlawful actions, eventually leading Victor to agree to comply with his demands.

Julian Galvan:

What is being said in the quote is that you may call me the worst of men but you will never have me realize that perspective. Then he goes on to say “create another like yourself”, he is telling the monster what harm he has done and that no one wants to be around him. The monster is having many things said to him and he also realizes that no one likes to be near him or even maintain a relationship with him. Begone he says to the monster Victor feels that he has been through so much with the monster and realizing now that he is not all that Victor expected him to be. Victor is fed up with the monster and wants no part of him anymore or even guiding the Monster. “You may torture me, but I will never” what is being said is that the monster can let all his anger out on Victor but that won't do him any good. In life getting back at someone in a physical was is not the way to forget your problems, you need to talk with the person. - Julian Galvan

Mia Brisbin:

In this passage, Frankenstein has just finished telling his magnificent story to Victor, his creator, and has left Victor in a state of complete shock. After the Monster tells Victor his tale he expresses a request for another like himself, except female. Victor, considering the traumatizing experience he has had in the past when created the present Monster, refuses his request. “‘I do refuse it,’ I replied; ‘and no torture shall ever extorts consent from me…’” Here Victor declines the Monster’s request to create a second creature much like himself. Since the Monster he has already created has already killed one of his family members he fears that the second monster will do the same thing. Even though the monster negotiates that him and the other creation will share interests and live outside of humanity, Victor worries that his second creation might not desire the same as the Monster, therefore advancing the problem. Victor also expresses what would happen if the second monster he creates does not live up to the Monster’s standards. “...whose joint wickedness might desolate the world” Victor is worried that if the Monster is upset with the outcome of his second creation, that the Monster and his new “friend” will go off doing the same thing; creating chaos.

liv reinis:

Here Frankenstein is making a point to the Monster that he would never create a being like him. The Monster has already asked, forcefully at that, which is why Frankenstein’s response is so hostile. When he says “and no torture shall ever extort a consent from me”, he is proving even further that this request is far beyond unattainable. However, from previous passages we know that Frankenstein is terrified of the Monster no matter how stoic his facade is. It is undoubtedly so that Frankenstein truly does not want to create another being like the monster, but with how intimidating and powerful it is there is an uncertain outcome. Also, he does not reference death when saying what he would do to refrain from creating such a monster perhaps because he values not only his life but life in general too much. For the duration of the entire book we see Frankenstein’s continuous fascination with manipulating life, which, as the Monster might be able to notice is his biggest weakness.

On the other hand, the Monster is very vulnerable here as well. He is desperate for a companion, and Frankenstein is the only one who can fulfill his wishes. So even if he realizes dying is one of his creators biggest fears it does him no good. Additionally, the Monster can evidently tell that when Frankenstein says “Shall I create another like yourself, whose joint wickedness might desolate the world” he is very serious. Frankenstein is opposed to this on all levels, because he is forcing himself to believe that two monsters is the definition of world destruction, even if he knows it could never happen. What’s even more interesting about this is that if Frankenstein continues to ramble on about how the Monster is completely evil and could never change, the Monster might wish to make those dreams come true.

Motivations & SentimentsScience
Mary Drago:

Victor has reason to distrust the creature. As in Aesop’s fable of the boy who cries wolf, once trust is lost, it is difficult to rebuild. Here Victor is moved to compassion by the creature’s request, but he remembers the evil acts the creature has performed and now wonders if he can believe anything the creature says. Consider the research claims of scientists who have been caught in a lie—every claim after the lie is suddenly suspect, regardless of its authenticity. For example, Hwang Woo-suk, a Korean scientist, fraudulently claimed he had created human embryonic stem cells through cloning, so his return to the scientific world of cloning has been reduced to the cloning of animals.

Equity & InclusionPhilosophy & Politics
Devoney Looser:

The term sympathy had multiple meanings in the early nineteenth century, some of which resonate with scientific discourse and some with moral philosophy. The word did mean then what we take it to mean today—a kind of entering into the feelings of another. But it also had embodied, somatic connotations. In On Sympathy (2008), Sophie Radcliffe puts it this way: “The uncertainty as to whether ‘sympathy’ exists as a somatic feeling in itself or as a state of mind resulting from an act of cognition persists through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, with terms and ideas from scientific discourses drifting into literary works and vice versa” (10).

We can see this view in a definition of the word that is now out of use but was current at the time Mary was writing: “a relation between two bodily organs or parts (or between two persons) such that disorder, or any condition, of the one induces a corresponding condition in the other” (Oxford English Dictionary). There was also a question then of whether sympathy is gendered—whether women’s minds or bodies are more readily able to engage in admirable moments of communion of feeling as a result of their supposedly shared characteristics of body, mind, or experience. Mothers, in particular, were imagined as having superior abilities for sympathy due to their roles in creating, giving birth to, and raising children. Other questions were posed: Are scientists (largely conceived of as men, as in this novel) capable of engaging in (stereotypically feminine, maternal) sympathy? What do their scientific judgments or achievements lack if they do not have access to the right kind or levels of sympathy, whether from lack of experience or from supposedly biological shortcomings?

Throughout Frankenstein, invocations of “sympathy,” then, ask readers to investigate what causes a community of feeling among people or creatures and what that feeling means in the act of creating and nurturing new life. Does sympathy arise from the mind? Is it learned through education and the exercise of judgment? In that case, can anyone be taught it? Or does sympathy arise from the body, whether imagined as universally “human” (in which case the creature is a liminal kind) or as differentiated by sex or gender? Mary enters into these debates in her day and, as in this passage, seems to suggest that sympathy fails when there is a lack of identification with the other. This failure, as it relates to the creature, may be read as arising either from the mind or from the body or as arising either from a somatic lack in men or from a somatic lack in humans. Mary does not offer easy answers and leaves many questions for the reader to engage and trouble over in considering where necessary sympathy properly comes from, how it can be exercised, and how it has an impact on scientific discovery