A little excerpt from one of my literary critiques, comparing the tale to the myth of Prometheus.
O ne of my favorite tales, and more notably, villains of all time: Frankenstein’s creature. Frankenstein, with a little perspective from archetypal psychology is a story of the Self when the Shadow within our psyche goes unintegrated and unitiated.
The darkness which clings to every personality is the door into the unconscious and the gateway of dreams, from which those two twilight figures, the shadow and the anima, step into our nightly visions or, remaining invisible, take possession of our ego-consciousness. -CG Jung
For me, the Creature personifies all the neglected shadows within. I have been a ruthless Victor to my shadows. I have cried for the creature, deeply, knowing there are neglected aspects of me that are deserted like he. These aspects of our inner life are what ultimately need the most compassion. If they are dismissed, they can and will be the demise of our joy, and we may go into the dark night of the soul, laden with regret. At one point, these aspects were innocent and well intentioned, only desiring affection and to be of service… but as my main man Joseph Campbell says…
If the hero, instead of submitting to all of the initiatory tests, has, like Prometheus, simply darted to his goal (by violence, quick device, or luck) and plucked the boon for the world that he intended, then the powers that he has unbalanced may react so sharply that he will be blasted from within and without– crucified, like Prometheus, on the rock of his own violated unconscious.
The Shadow, through the power of myth and dream, is given a new voice. And through the generations of this story read, the rooted creature may have been given its greatest desire too late: compassion. A tragic lesson that liberation can only be named by the creator of the experience. Like the familiar tale of Jonah and the whale, Victor goes into the night of his death swallowed by his monstrous creation. Those shadow aspects, left to their painful devices, run rampant, brewing tempests of rage to get our attention. Killing the Mother within us, the best friend, the innocents, the beautiful lover and ultimately, the Self.
Shunned too long in the lightless depths of neglect, there is madness afoot, like the grinning creature whose insides churn of desperation and revenge. The creature/villain/shadow is there in all of us, in all of the moments we shoved our guilt down its throat, hushing it while tears filled its cloudy eyes.
Always with us, this poor dark daemon…
Art by Andrew Jones, “Searching for beauty in the darkest places”