Batman & Frankenstein: The Monster Within Us All

There is a monster within us all. This is evident in the novel written by Mary Shelley, called Frankenstein, and even more so in the Zack Snyder directed film, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Victor struggles with the inner monster because of the deaths he caused, while Batman also struggles with what we’re going to refer to as ‘The Bat’ in this literary analysis. Both of these beings are exposed to both injustice in humanity, which drives them both to become jaded, and corrupted versions of what they previously were, then finally they redeem themselves and come back to their proper ways by making sure no one ever experiences what they experienced themselves.

First the Creature, who was created by Victor Frankenstein. Strung together by scattered body parts and insides, with no wish to be made. However, the Monster did try to understand human life and be one of them; but they rejected him. For example, when the monster first left Victor’s apartment, he was seeking shelter. To quote the Monster himself,  “Finding the door open, I entered. An old man sat in it, near a fire, over which he was preparing his breakfast. He turned on hearing a noise, and perceiving me, shrieked loudly, and quitting the hut, ran across the fields with a speed of which his debilitated form hardly appeared capable.” The old man screamed and high tailed it out of his own hut upon just the sight of the Monster, which hurt Frankenstein. Another example is when the Creature finally gains the ability to read and reads the notes that were in his pockets when he escaped from Victor’s apartment. He outlines the fact that in the horrible process of his unsavory and unwanted creation, in the end, even his own creator turned from him in disgust.

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Furthermore, the cottagers definitely did not help the Monsters situation. In that, he resided in the hovel that was off the house itself and provided firewood and food for the family that lived in it. He stayed dormant for an entire year until he finally tried to expose himself in a peaceful manner, to make friends with the family of the cottage. As soon as the family walked in the Monster was assaulted, beaten until he retreated, all because he was not the prettiest being on the planet. These are the injustices the Monster faced, now let’s talk about Bruce Wayne, AKA Batman.

The Batman is arguably just as complex a character as the Monster from Mary Shelley’s novel. He is a being created against his will, which suffers from rejection and constant injustice from people around him, which causes him to lash out in a variety of different ways. Batman was forged by Bruce Wayne as a conduit to exact justice upon the criminals of Gotham City. Through his 20 years in service to the city, we can see in the film Batman v Superman, a lot has happened to both the Bat and Bruce. We see a shot of his sidekick’s old suit, that is beaten and battered, with spray paint on the chest that indicates the Joker has killed his child protege. This changes the Bat for the worse. He becomes more violent, which brings us to the next point.

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Vigilantism is against the law. However, sometimes Law Enforcement just can’t handle a situation – this is where the Batman comes in. While he’s helped many many people in his time as the Bat, he is met with a very large obstacle – the Gotham City Police. The GCPD operate in a city that is comparable to our universe’s Detroit. They are hard police, so they do not take too well to people breaking the law; especially breaking the law to beat people up, even if they are criminals. One thing Bruce says to his partner and butler, in regards to his growing brutality and even more resistance from the police, he states, “20 years in Gotham Alfred, we’ve seen what promises are worth, how many good guys are left? How many stayed that way?” This quote perfectly illustrates that the Bat has begun to take control and is rising in anger and brutality.

Back to Frankenstein’s Monster. The running theme of both these works of fiction and this editorial itself is that there lays a monster in us all. Ironically, the monster himself noticed this, which is what began to bring him to this feral rage and homicidal thoughts. The above references support the fact that the Monster saw the ugly within all humans and decided to reflect it, let it corrupt him to the point that he was willing to kill everyone close to Victor. Speaking of Victor, he rejected the Monster, with all of its deformities and imperfections. This is what really jump-started the Monster’s hatred for humans in general and what spawned his murderous thoughts. This coincides with the idea that humans are ugly, they are mean and they are ignorant; this includes Victor Frankenstein, the man who created life, then immediately rejected it and caused the deaths of everyone close to him, even himself.

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As was previously stated, Batman in his 20 years of watching over Gotham City become quite brutal. Though like most things there are effects, with a cause preceding it. That is certainly the case here. Crime evolves like the rest of us. It used to be as simple as a mugging, then it evolves into a clown kidnapping and senselessly killing people. This pushed the Bat to raise his efforts as well. He began branding people, he even blew people up with his batmobile and very nearly killed Superman himself on the slight chance that he was a threat to the planet. He evolved as crime did, and unfortunately, it brought out the monster within him.

Zack Snyder is a great director in the sense that he loves to put great metaphors in his movies which makes you delve deeper into the film and appreciate it that much more. For example, in the film Batman v Superman, Bruce is walking to his parent’s crypt to put flowers by their graves. Suddenly a giant bat creature breaks out of the graves and begins to eat Bruce. This is an amazing metaphor that illustrates that with every criminal he beats up, with every crime he stops the Bat comes closer to taking over, and making the two characters one being. Also, in just the opening credits, while briefly covering Batman’s origin, it also with just one sentence portrays Batman’s fall from grace, “There was a time above… a time before. There were perfect things… diamond absolutes. How things fall, things on Earth. And what falls… is fallen. In the dream, they took me to the light. A beautiful lie.” This quote illustrates that Bruce used to be optimistic, but now he has realized just how dirty humanity can be.

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While there is a monster in us all, that does not necessarily mean that it is entirely evil. The Monster is one case of this. In the story, he kills everyone that Victor loves or causes their death in an indirect way. Throughout the story, we think that he does so without remorse, just a casualty in his quest for revenge against Victor. This is not the case after all, because, at the end of the story, when Victor is dying from exhaustion and a broken heart, the Monster reveals that he won’t kill Victor, and he also reveals that when he killed all those people he did not enjoy it. He was just a byproduct of his short life. He was met with disgust and rejection which pushed him over the edge. However, he was still capable of feeling. He felt every death and was in anguish over it.

That anguish took over him too. In the end, when he got his revenge, he wanted to make sure that there were no more creatures like him to wreak havoc on the world in a way such as he did. So he did the only thing he could, which was to end his own existence so that he could never be reproduced. Thus ended the Monster and the horrid things he did during his short life. The point is, even though he did unspeakable things, in the end, he redeemed himself and prevented the same unspeakable things from happening at the hands of another creature like him ever again. “Fear not that I shall be the instrument of future mischief. My work is nearly complete. Neither yours nor any man’s death is needed to consummate the series of my being and accomplish that which must be done, but it requires my own. Do not think that I shall be slow to perform this sacrifice. I shall quit your vessel on the ice raft which brought me thither and shall seek the most northern extremity of the globe; I shall collect my funeral pile and consume to ashes this miserable frame, that its remains may afford no light to any curious and unhallowed wretch who would create such another as I have been. I shall die. I shall no longer feel the agonies which now consume me or be the prey of feelings unsatisfied, yet unquenched. He is dead who called me into being; and when I shall be no more, the very remembrance of us both will speedily vanish. I shall no longer see the sun or stars or feel the winds play on my cheeks. Light, feeling, and sense will pass away; and in this condition must I find my happiness. Some years ago, when the images which this world affords first opened upon me, when I felt the cheering warmth of summer and heard the rustling of the leaves and the warbling of the birds, and these were all to me, I should have wept to die; now it is my only consolation. Polluted by crimes and torn by the bitterest remorse, where can I find rest but in death?” This is the quote stated by the Monster when he explains to Victor that his deeds shall not go unpunished and he will also no longer cause any future deaths.

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Batman, while he is a violent man, is not completely devoid of emotion. When Superman sacrifices his own life to save the world from Doomsday, he almost literally emerges from the long stint of darkness that he suffered through, to become a new hero. He makes the decision that he won’t let Superman’s death be in vain and makes an effort to become a beacon of hope that Superman was rather than a symbol of fear and violence. To further this point, he even seeks out other heroes and forms a Justice League to try to prevent other heroes from feeling so overwhelmed that they feel that they need to push towards going to the dark in a way that Bruce did with the Bat.

In conclusion, there’s a monster within us all. Even superheroes and monstrous creations are not immune to this fact. Batman and Frankenstein’s Monster are both troubled individuals, who were corrupted by humanity, but ultimately changed in the end for the better.

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman

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