Man or Monster….

Everyone loves monsters in some way or another, I mean who doesn’t. They are essential us in a different form. If we take a look back at the twentieth century’s most popular monsters of cinema and literature a couple stands out: Dracula, Frankenstein, Wolfman, Jekyll and Hyde, and the Phantom of the Opera. What a lot of people don’t see is how much sympathy each of them get’s, they receive this from the same audiences that look forward to being frightened by them.

Even Dracula, who after all, is a creature of Satan, can be seen as someone doomed, compelled to do evil until a stake is driven deep into his heart, after which a look of piece spreads over his face as he crumbles to dust. Frankenstein is the model of an absolute orphan, abandoned by Victor, his creator, and because of his size and ugliness, is forever doomed to a loveless existence. The Wolfman also, invokes compassion because he does not choose his brutality. He is reluctant before his transformation and remorseful after he has committed his acts of violence.

As we go further down our list of monsters we notice that by the time we get to Jekyll and Hyde, and especially when we get to the Phantom of the Opera, our monsters begin to resemble regular people. They are mortal, and they are people. When we are first introduced to Dr. Jekyll, there is nothing about him that makes us think he is a monster. Only do we realize that inside Dr. Jekyll lays waiting, the devious and murderous Mr. Hyde, flesh of his flesh, bone of his bone.

Now its time for the Phantom, when we think about how he’s a monster it becomes a grey area. The Phantom is a very talented and gifted person whose physical deformities drive him to crime. Just like Frankenstein, the fault isn’t his, but his makers. In the Phantoms case, that maker is God, who he curses at for even letting him be born.

So for the purpose of argument, the line between monster and man can be either black or white, or a hazy area which there is no middle ground. Lines become blurred and emotions take a front seat to drive either man or monster to do what ever he or she is compelled to do. It’s this thinking that makes me think we have a little monster in all of us.

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