Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Man-Beast Week: Frankenstein's Monster and Jekyll and Hyde


This abomination was the creative work of Mary Shelley in an early 1800s novel dealing with a scientist who decided to piece together a human from dead human's parts and see if he could reanimate it. I'm not sure if the story is as extraordinary fact that she started writing it at 19 and it was published when she was just 21. Her work forever changed the horror industry and the stuff that nightmares were made of. Some have considered this work to be one of the earliest science fiction pieces.

Even if a man could be cobbled together by the parts of the dead and brought to life, the question is - where is the soul? What is to keep him from being a true monster? A half man/half beast scenario? Today, we face the very real issues in the debate about cloning and DNA manipulation. Because you can mix a human and pig together, should you? And, with it only being as good as its parts, if you diversify too much, you get a weaker being.

Frankenstein is perhaps one of the best examples of Man-Beast, illuminating the subject of the soul and spirit versus the function of a human. Just because he can move and take orders does not necessarily make him human, but because he is made of humans, he must be considered one. Doesn't this sound a bit like dealing with other man-beasts in our world, called serial killers?






Robert Louis Stephenson published the novella "Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" in the latter part of the 1800s.  This was an early description of dissociative disorder or split personality. Poor Dr. Jekyll has two personalities held within him, good and evil. The good and evil theme runs strong through humanity; we tend to choose this label before all others in characterizing other humans. How is it that a man who can be so human can turn so evil? Man-Beast scenario exists in all of us, but most of us have a social conscience that keeps it at bay, along with a legal system and friends and relatives who will not tolerate it.





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