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Frankenstein: Penetrating the Secrets of Nature

Hideous Progeny

Full length view of human figure lying on his back and twisted to left at the waist; head (at right) and left arm extend over edge of platform; left leg extended (at left), right leg bent at the knee; full body musculature defined.
Untitled, 1779. J.F. Declassan. Illustration from Jacques Gamelin (1739-1803), Nouveau Recueil d'Osteologie et de Myologie, 1779. National Library of Medicine Collection.

I collected the instruments of life around me, that I might infuse a spark of being into the lifeless thing that lay at my feet. . . . His yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath; his hair was of a lustrous black, and flowing . . . [it] formed a more horrid contrast with his watery eyes, that seemed almost of the same colour as the dun white sockets in which they were set, his shrivelled complexion, and straight black lips.

Victor Frankenstein
Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, 1818

Overcome by the horror of what he has done, Victor Frankenstein abandons the "miserable monster" he fathered in his laboratory. That evening a nightmare disturbs his sleep; Elizabeth, his fiancée, becomes in his arms the decaying corpse of his own dead mother. The next morning when he returns to his "workshop of filthy creation," the monster has escaped.