As depicted by Shelley, the creature is a sensitive, emotional creature whose only aim is to share his life with another sentient being like himself. The novel portrays him as immensely intelligent and literate, having read Paradise Lost, Plutarch’s Lives, and The Sorrows of Young Werther. He is driven by despair and loneliness to acts of cruelty and murder.
From the beginning the monster is rejected by everyone he meets. He realizes from the moment of his “birth” that even his own creator could not be around him; this is obvious when Frankenstein says:
“…one hand was stretched out, seeming to detain me, but I escaped…” (Shelley, 43).
The creature tries to forget about this and move on, but everyone who sees him run away in fear. Upon seeing his own reflection, he realizes that he too cannot stand to see himself. By the end of the novel, he is overcome by loneliness and resentment, swearing revenge on his creator and renouncing all of mankind.
In the 1931 film adaptation, the creature is depicted as mute and bestial. In the subsequent sequel, Bride of Frankenstein, the creature learns to speak and discover his feelings, although his intelligence and capacity of speech remains limited. In the second sequel, Son of Frankenstein, the creature is again rendered inarticulate.
Following a brain transplant in the third sequel The Ghost of Frankenstein, the Monster speaks with the voice and personality of the brain donor. This was continued after a fashion in the scripting for the fourth sequel Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man, but the dialogue was famously excised before release. The Monster was effectively mute in later sequels, though he is heard to refer to Dracula as his ‘Master’ in Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein.
Modern popular culture has not stopped this decay. The Monster has grown into a representation for science run amok, black-and-white monster movies, and lumbering brutes with their hands stretched out, among other things, and is now one of the most famous movie characters in history, perhaps the most famous and visually memorable of the Universal Monsters. The Monster’s face has become very well known, especially for the electrodes sticking out of his neck and the square head. He has starred in numerous films, book spin-offs, games, and has appeared on shirts, laptops and lunchboxes.