Discussion about Danny Boyle’s Frankenstein Play Part 1:
Frankenstein happens to be one of my favorite novels because it reflects our need for companionship and inclination towards arrogantly knowing everything about the cosmos with certainty. As with the Greek tragedy, Frankenstein shows the dangers of pride. Throughout the Old Testament of the Bible, we are shown the dangers of being prideful. Oftentimes, prideful figures face repercussions that display to them the grave moral dangers of pride.
Within our modern world, Frankenstein continues to remain highly relevant. Recently, Danny Boyle deftly directed a London theater adaptation that focused on the universal human theme of disorientation within the world. Fantastically, the play began with a highly symbolic scene where the recently conceived Frankenstein feels unbalanced upon birth. Above him, the stage has countless light bulbs that signifies the one elusive mystery of the force of light. Strangely, its visible through certain scientific processes that allows it to be viewed by other components within our eyes that allows that particular type of energy to be recognized by our brains. Without that ability, would we really see the light? If we didn’t have consciousness, would we really perceive that light in the same way that we take for granted daily. We accept that light exists as it is. But, if we were daring enough, we could uncover the more complicated scientific nature of light.
Our life is framed by this mystery. That light brimming above the newly developed Frankenstein shows the equally elusive mystery of our existence. Like light, we are simply visible but questionably existent. What power beyond ourselves granted us this ability to perceive this existence yet have doubts about it? In us, why do we have cognitive powers that enable us to make things deceptively meaningful? Yet paradoxically, the predominant nihilistic view of things contradicts all meaning by making the universe an accidental, meaningless body of existence.
As Frankenstein begins to explore his existence, he happens upon the cottage where an old man along with his son and wife live. There, Frankenstein makes himself known only to the blind old man. Within these tales, blindness symbolically relates to open mindedness. Having the world’s viewpoint, we see things limited and even superficially. Due to the old man’s lack of this worldly obtuseness, he accepts Frankenstein initially because he is able to discern past Frankenstein’s grotesqueness and realize that Frankenstein is both loving and inquisitive by nature. He hasn’t been tainted by the evils of baser feelings yet like vindictiveness, greed, and superficiality. For now, Frankenstein inhabits a state of mind that perhaps the Jew scribes felt that Adam and Eve symbolically inhabited within the Garden of Eden Story.
Within the garden, they could have a thriving life where they were able to inquire and explore their world freely. They viewed the world beyond the surface-level descriptions we limit our worldview like race, religion, political ideology, gender, and sexual orientation. Within their world, there only lived the beauty of human existence and the inexorable world of God’s creation. They haven’t mired their world yet with greed, pride, or vengeance just yet. As Frankenstein finds himself betrayed by conceited humans, he’ll find himself psychologically leaving the serenity of being loved and accepted for someone beyond the superficial level of existence. Aristotle depicts this as the deepest level of friendship that no longer cleaves to the base generalities of vacuous friendship. Instead, it realizes the opposite person as something of mystery. In Hamlet, there’s a wonderful quote that refers to every person being a mystery in of themselves. Frankenstein was treated as a astonishing mystery by the older man therefore Frankenstein can reciprocate those views and experience the ecstasy of recognizing that we are being “known” fully rather than known partially through a stereotype.