“I had admired the perfect forms of my cottagers — their grace, beauty, and delicate complexions: but how was I terrified, when I viewed myself in a transparent pool! At first I started back, unable to believe that it was indeed I who was reflected in the mirror; and when I became fully convinced that I was in reality the monster that I am, I was filled with the bitterest sensations of despondence and mortification.” This image of the creature glaring at his reflection in the pond is a clear interpretation that the creature indeed is human. It is clear that the creature was unaware of his physical appearance and harmful actions, but rather wished he was like everyone else. More specifically, he wished to have the family that he was never born into.
Throughout the text, the creature has a mixture of human emotions, both gentle and harsh. "Was man, indeed, at once so powerful, so virtuous, and magnificent, yet so vicious and base? He appeared at one time a mere scion of the evil principle, and at another as all that can be conceived of noble and godlike" (Shelley 80). A social label has been created for the creation as “monster”. He does not understand the reasoning why and solely is looking for acceptance; however, because of the loneliness he experiences and rage from the separation and differences he has he declares a “war on the species”. Because of the social label given to the creature, the creature himself is unable to truly see that he too is human.
Taking a closer look at the image, the creature has large, innocent eyes. In comparison to other images in the novel, the creature’s face is finally shown. His eyes are not filled with rage and anger, rather with a kind of loneliness and emptiness. This sadness can be taken as his unacceptance into society or to the idea that he is lost in a position that he is unaware of what he is or what he is there to do. Just like “puppy dog” eyes, the monster is looking for acceptance or possibly recognizing his damage and wrong doings. Possibly, the large innocent eyes can be seen as a child as well. A child looking into the world trying to find himself, but clearly very lost. He can be seen as looking to cleanse himself by stepping back and taking a look at himself and his actions that he has taken.
Using his innocence to show the creature is human can be seen as Shelley’s way of saying monsters is not born monsters. It is due to the social label and being outcaste that the creature rages out in revenge; “…finding myself unsympathized with, wished to tear up the trees, spread havoc and destruction...I declared everlasting war against the species, and, more than all, against him who had formed me, and sent me forth to this insupportable misery" (Shelley 92). The creature is able to feel happiness just as humans do. He wants to feel accepted into society and cannot understand why he is being shunned until the moment that this illustration comes in.
Moreover, the monster is conscious of his frightful actions and damaging ways. Throughout the text, the monster does take responsibility for his actions; he understands what he is doing, but in his mind is doing it as revenge. He has never had the nurturing family upbringing with the attention and love from others. Rather, he has been brought into a life where he is disconnected and isolated. This isolation is clearly shown in his big eyes. As the images of Elizabeth and Victor both portray big eyes, it is almost as if the creature is trying to fit into the aristocratic family he always wished to be a part of.
The audience gets a feeling of empathy for the creature as he looks into the pond. It is not a monster that he wants to see; rather, he would prefer to look like a real human and to fit in with all of the rest. Shelley really tries to portray that a criminal or monster is not born that way, rather created and underneath it all they are all human. "Oh, Frankenstein! Generous and self-devoted being! What does it avail that I now ask thee to pardon me?" (Shelley 153). The creature, although not accepted by others, does eventually repent his actions; proving that he may have wreaked havoc and raged causing extreme damage and hatred, but despite it all, he is still human with a good side somewhere inside him. This image of him looking at himself portrays his repent from early on.