I nearly named this blog post “A New Name for Frankenstein”!
Mary Shelly’s The Modern Prometheus (Or as everyone but me prefers to call it, Frankenstein) is a masterpiece, written by a lady who had no idea that her little spooky tale would become the key to her immortalizing. We all know the story: Told in the point of view of the beast himself to an old traveler and writer the beast explains the story of him and his master. Victor Frankenstein, a scientist, wishes to create the “perfect man” using the powers of SCIENCE! Unfortunately his creation is not as beautiful as he had imagined and he abandons it. Years later, the creature comes back after learning of human love and educating itself. With its new found intelligence and monstrous strength it demands that the fearful scientist creates a bride for it to love. Thus begins a tale of tragedy and horror which has captivated mankind for generations.
However, we are not here to discuss the novel itself (at least, that’s not all this post will be about). What this post is detailing is my quest to guess at the beast’s name.
I’m not sure if Mary Shelly had ever given the creature she created a name. It is mostly called Frankenstein (not too incorrectly as there are many adaptations of the novel where he was called that) but as far as I know (and I’ve only read the novel and have never actually seen the famous movie adaptation) Victor Frankenstein had never given the monster a name.
Because of my stubborn refusal to call the novel version of the monster Frankenstein I always end up referring him to “the monster” as he is called in the story. I’ve considered calling him “mon” for short since calling him “the monster” becomes bothersome and repetitive after a while.
That is why today, with this blog post, I’ve decided to give the monster a name.
I’ve read several novels and stories that were inspired by Frankenstein. The original story for Hulk, for instance, was inspired by the movie adaptation of Frankenstein. In it the hulk was a tad more verbose than the current version of Hulk but less so than a regular person, much like how Frankenstein from the second movie was (once he was taught by a blind hermit to speak coherently). Stan Lee named this creature the incredible Hulk after hearing a comment about how hulking the beast looked. I can’t be sure about Mary Shelly (seeing as she’s dead and I haven’t read much of her) but when Victor Frankenstein built the monster he was enraptured by his fantasy that he was creating a beautiful and perfect creature.
I highly doubt “Hulk” or any other comment on it’s appearance would be an appropriate name for the creation he was so optimistic about.
If Frankenstein was going to name his creation after his appearance, perhaps a different name could be possible. The Monster was described to be 8 feet tall. With its sheer size alone, Victor Frankenstein would have been justified in naming the beast Titan, after the beings said to be enormous predecessors of the Gods. Or perhaps he could have chose to name it Magna, which is latin for large.
But to name the beast after it’s size is a bit simple and seeing as Victor Frankenstein was a “mad genius” I doubt he would settle on such a simple name. Victor Frankenstein saw his creation as the perfect man, therefore perhaps the Latin word for Perfect, Perfectus, would be a more fitting name.
Perhaps, instead of his creation’s appearance, Victor Frankenstein decided to name his creation after how he was born? As a child, Frankenstein was inspired by Lightning splitting apart oak to harness its power. Perhaps Frankenstein would name his creation Fulgor, the latin word for Lightning? Or perhaps Fulmine, or Blitz, the German and Italian names for lightning.
Let’s look at ancient mythology. In Greek Mythology mankind was created by Prometheus out of clay, hence one of the titles of the book being The Modern Prometheus with Victor Frankenstein symbolizing Prometheus. The name of Prometheus’s first human was Deucalion. In Dean Koontz’s tale this is in fact the name the evil Victor Helios Frankenstein gives to his first creation, the first of many.
In Abrahamic religion the first man was named Adam. In the novel the monster refers to himself as “the Adam of your labours”. However, it later retracts this statement and claims to have become Victor’s “fallen angel”
In Abrahamic Religion, Satanael is the first recorded angel to be outcasted by God. He is also written to be the one who brought “death” to the world. The Monster is the creature who destroys Victor’s otherwise perfect life (living as a wealthy man in Geneva, his life must have been quite luxurious). With this in mind, Mary Shelly could have named this creature after Satanael or Satan.
Mary Shelly intended the novel Frankenstein to be the deconstruction of the advancement of science. The monster represents science gone “too far”. For this reason, an appropriate word to base a name off of could be Interdictum which means forbidden.
Theoretically, if Mary Shelly had her way the monster would be the final creation of science. As the death of science perhaps Ultima would be an appropriate word to base a name off of.
If we combine the name “Adam” who was the first human male with the Interdictum which means forbidden, and Manus which means man we get Interdictum Manus Adam. Forbidden Man’s Adam
Or we could replace Manus with Ersatz, which means copy and fake.
Interdictum-Ersatz-Adam. Forbidden false Adam
If we remember these words:
Alchemy=as a stand in for science since science means “to learn through knowledge” where alchemy was closer to what we mean by science
(altenatively Revolution instead of Alchemy)
we can create Mort-Alchemy (Death science)
or Ultima-Alchemy (Final science)
If we mix Ultima and Alchemy together we get Ulchemtima which is strange sounding. Let’s make it Alcetima.
Let’s try to mix Interdictum-Ersatz-Adam together to make a coherent name. Insatzadam (it took a while to come up with that)
If we give Frankenstein’s monster a name, Alcetima Insatzadam could be a possible name. It represents all the foreboding Mary Shelly felt about new science. It represents Victor’s attempts to create life being a forbidden imitation of God.
But I’m sad that this name does not represent what Frankenstein’s monster is truly about to me: sadness, loneliness, rejection and inferiority. The monster was described as superior to a man in every way except for the fact that it was a created being. Bein an aberration, it was seen as vulgar and its existence itself a heresy.
I hope to one day come up with a name for Victor Frankenstein’s Monster. One that expresses what I feel when I read of him. Until then fare thee well Alcemita Insatzadam.