The Society discussed the great novel Frankenstein on Thursday evening with Resolved: Frankenstein, and not his monster, was the greater villain. Ms. Regen began the evening’s debate by setting forth the historical background of Mary Shelley telling the story as a horror story among her friends in the early 1800s. Ms. Regen began her argument by demonstrating how the monster was born innocent and good but, because of the neglect he felt, he was baptized in fire when he gave up hope for being loved. She continued by telling of the double sin that was committed by Frankenstein which was that he played God by creating the monster and does not take responsibility for his actions by rejecting the monster and lets Justine die for the monster’s crime. Ms. Regen concluded her keynote by illustrating the failures of Frankenstein to redeem himself in the hunt for the monster while the monster, although created to fail, is not the greater villain. Ms. Coccia attributed the desire for greatness, the search for science, and passion to why Frankenstein created his monster and asked if we can condemn good intentions. She continued by agreeing with the decision of Frankenstein to not create a second monster; furthermore, she distinguished with the actions taken by Frankenstein and the monster by arguing that the monster actively chose evil. The monster committed evil on an individual level which included the killing of an innocent child for being related to Frankenstein and deprived Frankenstein of all happiness. Ultimately, Ms. Coccia said that Frankenstein was a victim of his creature and that is why Frankenstein was not the greater villain.
Ms. Miller felt sympathy for the monster and said that his anger was justified. Mr. Spagnuolo argued for the necessity of taking responsibility for one’s actions and that anyone who believes in the Good must negate. Ms. Wynter replied that the story is a cautionary tale of striving for what we shouldn’t and that we cannot apply human morality because the creature is not human. Ms. Marki compared the novel to Phantom of the Opera and said the weight of the monster’s actions was greater. Ms. Murphy brought up scientific ethics and argued that Frankenstein never tried to rectify the situation. Vice President Arber disagreed by saying that Frankenstein learned from his mistakes and that evil that stays evil is worse as in the case of the monster. President Marsh argued that because Frankenstein made himself God we must affirm because there is no greater offense. Mr. Skold (’05) used the example of Prometheus to illustrate that Frankenstein does only human things and that because the monster directly kills we must negate. Mr. Donovan gave the historical allegory of Oppenheimer and the atomic bomb to illustrate that Frankenstein did not redeem himself from his actions. Mr. Dulik grounded the idea of a villain by saying that villainy is the ability to execute a malevolent vision and is ultimately responsible for their actions. Madeleine Ringwald (COL ’16) drew similarities to Battlestar Galactica to argue that creation will always be more rational and appear villainous. Ted Murphy (COL ’16) pointed out that the line between villain and responsibility had been blurred and that the choosing of evil is worse. Anna Hernick (SFS ’16) argued that villains are things we fear and that the ultimate villain is someone who believes they are above morality. Nick Walker (SFS ’16) argued that we actually fear the monster and not the creator as the monster actually acts. Annie Wang (COL ’16) pointed out that the doctor did not take responsibility and that the monster was making an extreme cry for help. Bryanna Michael (COL ’15) showed that the monster knows what is good and evil but still chooses evil. Ms. Moore (’06) pointed out that villain is in the eyes of the beholder citing Assange and argued that nothing would have happened without Frankenstein. I, Mr. DiMisa, used the example of Jaime attempting to kill Bran for the sake of his relationship with Cersei in Game of Thrones to show that people do radical things when frightened. Ms. Christiansen argued that Frankenstein made the monster without ever thinking about how he could function in society. Mr. Quinn said that must contemplate the moral thinking behind an action as agency is not just the hand that does something. Ms. Muldavin compared the novel to bullying and said that the monster is a victim in the situation. Mr. Edgar argued that the problem of the affirmation is that the logic could be extended back into eternity if we blame the creator for the created. Mr. Lim claimed that biggest transgression was Frankenstein believing he was God. Ms. Correia showed that we still hold people accountable even if they do not fit in because everyone has a choice to act. Mr. Kelley argued that monster was the equivalent to locking someone in a room for all of childhood and that is insanity. Ms. Bolas pointed out that there are many villains with sob stories, but it does not negate agency. Mr. RisCassi compared that monster to a handicapped child and said the worst action committed was Frankenstein abandoning the monster. Mr. Mouch showed that horror stories are supposed to be scary and which is why Shelley had to make Frankenstein partially responsible. Caroline Egan (COL ’15) argued that Frankenstein did not pay attention when he was creating the monster which lead to the monster being unable to be accepted.
Ms. Coccia argued that Frankenstein tried to warn other people about the monster as well as that we play God by helping couples conceive who cannot naturally. In addition, she asked if we ever made a mistake and did not realize it was wrong. Ms. Coccia concluded by quoting the novel to show that the monster actively killed and destroyed and admitted wrongdoing. Ms. Regen responded by saying Frankenstein doomed the monster by making him unable to have a relationship with anyone because of his looks making him alone. During the hunt, Frankenstein showed his actions were truly dictated by revenge and that the monster even helps him along the way. She concluded by continuing the quote utilized by Ms. Coccia to illustrate that the monster was willing to do what Frankenstein couldn’t do: end the monster’s life by suicide.
The Society voted 25-4-19 to affirm.