The pathos of this passage comes from the fact that we are made to (over)hear the creature condemn himself to monstrosity by internalising the merely superficial judgements about his appearance which Frankenstein has already made.
Ironically, as he looks in the mirror, he sees himself as a monster, and in a second, in a flash, he has fallen, his consciousness deceived into taking appearance for reality in exactly the way that Frankenstein’s rejection of him had done earlier.
(My Italics).1 The first thing that strikes one about this report of their first encounter is that Victor Frankenstein names the creature: ’monster’.
The reader witnesses, not simply the creature, but also the process by which Frankenstein reaches for this seductive and powerful label.
How can I describe my emotions at this catastrophe, or how delineate the wretch whom with such infinite pains and care I had endeavoured to form? His yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath; his hair was of a lustrous black, and flowing; his teeth were of a pearly whiteness; but these luxuriances only 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.
His limbs were in proportion, and I had selected his features as beautiful. The different accidents of life are not so changeable as the feelings of human nature.
He literally demonizes the creature, and in doing so reduces himself.
The second passage I want to compare with this has a different speaker, and a different addressee.
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Was the famed character conceived solely in the mind of novelist Mary Shelley, or was Frankenstein based in reality, as some argue?