Dealing with Death: Lessons from Frankenstein

7705993698_f12dd82b02Horror fiction reflects our unusual fascination with the dead. We are not only afraid of dying, but the thought of how our decomposed body appears deeply unsettles us. At the same time, humans have the tendency cling their greatest hopes in the idea of experiencing an afterlife, particularly one better than our present living conditions. But by the time we confuse the dead and the living and break taboos (e.g. split open caskets and defile corpses) we know we have already crossed the line and performed an abominable act. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein reflects all the heinous consequences of ignoring the importance of life and death.

Let the dead stay dead

Victor Frankenstein, the protagonist, is a brilliant science student who is not afraid to cross the boundaries of human conventions. He proposed to bring the dead back to life. It was a phenomenal idea that consumed him, despite his mentor’s constant rebuke and discouragement. One can use this plot as an analogy in the context of grieving loved ones struggling to get past denial stage. We all yearn for our departed loved one’s to resurrect before our eyes and treat them far better than we did. It is one thing for Christians to muse about Jesus reviving Lazarus. It is a completely different matter to imitate Frankenstein and trespass cemeteries because…

Even corpses deserve respect

Since Paleolithic times, humans have already conceived the idea of revering the bodies of their departed loved ones. From offering sea shells to composing melodic funeral poems, how we treat our dead is a reflection of our decency. The story of Victor Frankenstein’s exploits is one replete with detestable crimes like grave robbery and defiling corpses. You can hardly find any classical horror character that pretty much sets the earliest standards for “offense against the deceased”.

Isolation is worse than death

Although the central theme of Frankenstein concerns aboutdeath, there is also a deeper retrospect that concerns life. Victor Frankenstein is an example of someone who doesn’t know how to live properly. He lets his obsession dominate up to a point where he denies himself of human contact. The reason why maximum security prison completely isolates their convicts is because there couldn’t be any worse punishment. Therapeutic experts have discovered how personal interaction affects the individual’s physical well-being. Isolation causes depression, the singular prevalent motive for suicide.