The novel and the film: differences of plot
Difference in the time of exposition
Between the book and the film there is also a difference in the time of exposition because to read a book a man needs more time than to watch a film. This characteristic is underlined in the film: we can understand it because Branagh leaves out some parts of the story and in particular minor characters and roles. This is because in about two hours the film director must hold on the attention and the expectations of the spectators with special effects, violence and horror. In the book, on the contrary, the writer can dwell upon precise descriptions of the characters and places, commenting on events and giving opinions.
Differences between the plot of the film and the scenes of the film
1. In the book, Victor meets the monster after the homicide of his brother by the creature.
It wants a woman like itself and the doctor starts to create another monster; but when he arrives at half of his work, he has a remorse and destroys the half-made new creature.
In the film, on the contrary, Victor creates a woman for the monster but she commits suicide.
2. In the plot of Mary Shelley’s novel, the monster wants hid revenge on all the society because of his condition and because people consider him different and, for this reason, a monster, an ugly and dangerous person for the others, while in the film the monster wants his revenge only on Victor, his creator and Frankenstein’s family.
3) In the book, Victor meets his friend Clerval in Geneva because their parents are also good friends. Clerval doesn’t study at the University of Ingolstandt while in the film Frankenstein meets this other student at the university during a lesson of natural science.
4) Frankenstein’s father dies in the book of a heart attack when he finds Elizabeth killed by the monster while in the film it is the monster itself that murders Victor’s father.
5) When Victor Frankenstein meets Captain Roberts Walton, near the North Pole in the book the doctor is old, ill, weak and dying while in the film Victor is quite young, rather strong and active when he walks to the ship of the sailors.
6) In the film after the creation of the monster, Victor is ill, tired and filled with horror. Clerval, his friend, takes care of him and Elizabeth is there too. In the book on the contrary, the girl remains in Geneva with Victor’s family.
7) The first part of the story when Victor is a young boy, in the house in Geneva, is narrated by the writer with a detailed description of the place and narration of the facts and feelings. In the film this introductiary part is nearly totally absent.
8) After the monster kill’s Victor’s brother, we see that in the film Justine is executed after a trial and we don’t know if she had confessed her crime while in the book she admits her murder even if she is innocent.
9)Victor isn’t in Geneva when he learns in a letter from his father that his youngest brother William has been strangled.
10)William talks to the monster and William is wearing the portrait of Caroline (not Victor).
11)In the book, Victor had another brother, Ernest.
12)The monster collects firewood for the De Laceys, not beetroots.
13)In the book, the monster learns how to read and write when Felix teaches his language to an Arabian girl called Sofie by reading from a history book; in the film this girl is not present and we do not have the impression that books are an important influence on the monster. The character of Sofie is important because the De Laceys welcome her into their family, despite the differences of the appearance and culture. This contrast with the rejection that the monster has experienced so far. 14)In the film Victor doesn’t go to the remote Orkney Islands to make a female creature for the monster. 15)The monster saves a young girl in the book, not present in the film. 16)In the book the monster learned to love virtue and hate vice from the story of the De Laceys and this part is secondary in the film.
Similarities between the book and the film
The film and the book have also some parts in common like for example when the monster learns to speak and read from a family of farmers.
Another similarity is present in the end of the story when near to the North Pole, Victor dies and Captain Roberts Walton meets the monster before it runs away in the fog and commits suicide. Kenneth Branagh, the director of the film, hasn’t changed these parts of the plot in the book because in the first part, Branagh shows the characteristic and behaviour of the monster before it use its violence against other people, in a moment of tenderness, and in the second part, a great end for a good film of Hollywood rich in violence, action, horror and a bit of unhappiness and sorrowful of the monster for the death of Frankenstein.
Why Mary Shelley wrote ”Frankenstein
Mary Shelley wrote “Frankenstein” almost two centuries ago, in 1818, when she lived in another historical context with differences in culture, science and society. Frankenstein is one of the most terrifying examples of black or gothic fiction and so it’s considered the first science fiction novel of our century. The novel has a catastrophic end but this end is not only in the story but also in the life of people if they don’t respect the rules of nature, religion and ethic. In this book,the man, has committed the sin of going beyond the limits of science and god. Mary Shelley wrote this book when she was only 19 years old but her fiction isn’t completely created by the imagination of the writer. Shelley in fact wrote in the book the story of a dream but the novel is also inspired by the ideas of the natural science of the time. In fact in this time, scientists thought they could reproduce or create artificially life and produce automatons and robots. Beyond these ideas and the dream of Mary Shelley, there is the unlucky life of the writer and her big unhappiness. In fact, when she was born, her mother died. After this when she was a young girl, she ran off to Europe with Percy Shelley who died in a voyage by boat on the sea. Mary’s sons died too. All these problems in her life affected her ideas, feelings and the same typology of fiction. We find all these characteristics in the content of the story.
Main differences between the novel of Mary Shelley and the Kenneth Brahnag’s film
MARY SHELLEY’S NOVEL PLOT
-HENRY C. IS A FRIEND OF VICTOR SINCE CHILDHOOD.
-VICTOR DESTROIES THE “FEMALE MONSTER” BEFORE HAD FINISH IT
-THE MONSTER IS ANGRY WITH THE MANKIND THAT DOESN’T ACCEPT HIM.
KENNET BRAHNAG’S FILM PLOT
-VICTOR MEET HENRY C. IN INGOLSTAD, AT UNIVERSITY.
-VICTOR BRINGS BACK TO LIFE ELIZABETH WHO COMMIT SUICIDE BURNING HERSELF AND THE HOUSE.
-THE MONSTER IS ANGRY ESPECIALLY WITH VICTOR AND HE WANT A PERSONAL REVENGE.
The novel and the film: differences of intents
After the vision of the film “Frankenstein of Mary Shelley” directed by Kenneth Branagh (1994) and the reading of the novel “Frankenstein: or, the Modern Prometheus”, written by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (1818), we have noticed that there are some differences between the film director’s intents and the authoress’ ones. First of all we must underline that the gap of time which separates Branagh and Shelley (more than a century) implicates that they care about different themes.
Mary Shelley is worried about the dangers of the excess of human ambition and of the thirst of knowledge;we can explicitly understand it on Chapter 4, where Victor says: “learn from me, if not by my precepts, at least by my example, how dangerous is the acquirement of knowledge and how much is happier that man is who believes his native town to be the world, than he who expires to become greater then his nature will allow”. That is, the authoress makes an explicit admonition to the ones who wants to play God.
Instead Kenneth Branagh brought Mary Shelley’s ideas one step further actualising the whole event to our days: he leads the audience beyond the imaginative speculations of a young 18th century scientist into the tantalazing possibility of the new millennium: human clonation. Differently from the novel, Victor, in the film, after his mother’s death, swears in front of his grave that anybody else won’t die. With his researches and experiments he wants to create a new race, immortal, “.....cheerful, without pain, that doesn’t know what death is.....”; on the contrary, for M.Shelley’s Victor, experiments and researches are finalizated to the reaching of personal glory.
Besides, the novel and the film have got a difference that renders them deeply dissimilar: the theme on which they mainly concentrate their attention. That is, Mary Shelley wrote the novel to highlight particular feelings and states of mind of the monster: in fact, she often dwells upon to describe the creature’s moods. Even Kenneth Branagh (as Victor Frankenstein) while he’s leading an experiment into his lab to conclude his main work, the terrible creature. In the film Kenneth Branagh doesn’t neglect to insert touching scenes which make us understand the monster’s feelings, but his main interest is to impress, to shock the crowd , so he uses above all special effect, agitated scenes, involving musics and things like that.
Obviously this choice of theme is dictated from a technical requirement: books must stimulate readers’ imagination, so, since they cannot visualise images, they must make the readers become an only thing with the characters of the novel, personifying with them. To succeed in it, authors must be very introspective: that’s what Mary Shelley made with the monster. Instead, Kenneth Branagh meets with the opposite problem: to use only images and musics to express the characters’ feelings to the crowd; naturally he has been obliged to point on involving scenes, neglecting introspective parts in favour of scenes which could scare and excite the spectators.
MARY SHELLEY’S NOVEL INTENTS
-SHE WANTS TO HIGHLIGHT THE DANGERS OF THE THIRST OF KNOWLEDGE AND THE THEME OF THE HUBRIDS OF TRANSGRESSING BEYOND THE LIMITS EXPLICITLY OR IMPLICITLY SET TO HUMAN AMBITION.
-THE ROLE OF SCIENCE AND ITS INFLUENCE ON THE SOCIETY.
-VICTOR’S RESEARCHES ARE FINALIZATED TO THE REACHING OF PERSONAL GLORY.
-M. SHELLEY DOESN’T CARE ABOUT THE SCIENTIFIC AND SPECTACULAR PART OF THE STORY, BUT SHE CARES MORE ABOUT THE PSHICOLOGIC ASPECT AND THE FEELINGS OF THE CHARACTERS.
KENNETH BRANAGH’S FILM INTENTS
-HE LEADS THE AUDIENCE BEYOND THE IMAGINATIVE SPECULATIONS OF A SCIENTIST INTO THE TANTALIZING POSSIBILITY OF HUMAN CLONATION.
-VICTOR’S RESEARCHES ARE FINALIZED TO THE CREATION OF A NEW RACE, WHICH WON’T EVER DIE.
-THE DIRECTOR SHOWS ALL THE CREATION OF THE MONSTER BECAUSE HE NEEDS TO HIGHLIGHT THE PART MORE SPECTACULAR OF THE STORY.
The Filmography on Frankenstein
After the publication of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, a lot of stories about “the Creature” were burn, but must times the story was different. In fact the filmography changes the original story to increase the emotion of the films.
Today the majority of the people prefer going to the cinema and watching television, instead of reading books. This fact leads people to know only the reality of the films about “Frankenstein”. But most times this reality is different from the truth story. In fact in many films the name Frankenstein is given to the monster, and not to the doctor; yet in the original version as on the book, Frankenstein is the name of the scientist, and his creation has “no name” or at least “Creature”. Moreover, in horror films the monster is a kind of machine, but originally it is a “flesh and blood” product.
It is probably for this reason that people see in Frankenstein’s story only the sense of horror and not the meaning that Mary Shelley wanted to give with her novel; the meaning of ambition of men against the natural course of events.