As you start to fall asleep after a long and tiring day you suddenly see a shadow move out of the corner of your eye. Paralyzed in fear you think of what it could be, a ghost, a demon, an evil monster coming to steal your soul. You muster the courage to get out of bed and turn on the lights. In a brief second you are both terrified and relieved, you find it humorous that you could think it was something so crazy and out of this world. But why is it that your mind went to a demon or a monster first? Why wouldn’t you think of something more realistic? A murderer or a burglar? When you think of a monster you commonly think of a creature from stories or movies that used to keep you up at night when you were a child, something that surly isn’t real seems like the most terrifying thing. But what if the most terrifying monster is the one you see on the news almost every day the one that is so common yet so far from everyone’s mind. Humans. Human beings are the biggest threat to themselves. So many horror movies and documentaries based on true events and heinous crimes that human beings in this world have done, leave the worst taste in your mouth and chills down your spine. If these people are the biggest monsters of all then why are they still so prominent in our society? Why are criminals and killers still everywhere we look? _________ has remained so prominent in our cultural society because they reveal true human nature and desires that are not always so easily controlled.
Every human being has a part of themselves that they would rather not share with others, a part of their mind that represents all their deepest wants and desires, even the socially unacceptable ones. This level of consciousness is hidden away and deemed unfit for society. In
The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, a gothic horror novel, Dr. Jekyll is a scientist searching for a way to express his urges with out guilt or consequences. He creates a potion that does exactly this, splitting the moral side of his personality and the immoral side. After taking the potion he transforms into a terrible monster of a person, calling himself Mr. Hyde. Mr Hyde is essentially Dr. Jekyll’s immoral alter ego. Mr.Hyde represents all the bad parts of a person with no conscience to do the moral thing, acting on solely on urges such as violence, sex and torture. He does horrible things throughout the novel as a result of this. Dr. Jekyll needs to take a separate potion just to retain a glimmer humanity, although this is not very effective as Mr.Hyde gradually becomes the dominant personality. At the end of the novel Mr.hyde kills himself to avoid facing the authorities. The whole novel reveals two parts of a person, a good and an evil side. The horrifying part is the only thing separating the two is a conscience, a way of telling right from wrong. Professor of Christian ethics, Patrick McCormick, offers some insight as to why characters like Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hyde continually appear in stories across cultures everywhere. “ we are also haunted by an underlying sense of sympathy— and… responsibility for these misshapen men” Professor McCormick implies that we as humans can identify with broken characters like this because we can see part of ourselves in them. Everyone loves a villain they can hate but what really captivates an audience is a villain who can be related to.
On the more realistic side of evil we have serial killers who do not need a potion to become monsters. Serial killers are sometimes thought of as the embodiment of evil, like Mr.hyde acting solely on their urges and emotions. So many famous serial killers did the most awful things but that is the exact reason why they are so famous. Famous for being a real life monster. In Inside A Murdering Mind, Former reporter for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Anne E. Schwartz, describes the events leading up to the arrest as well as an insight into the past of the serial killer and cannibal Jeffery Dahmer. An officer stated “…Polaroid photographs of males in various stages of dismemberment, pictures of sculls in kitchen cabinets and freezers and a snapshot of a skeleton dangling from a shower spigot.” Dahmer kidnapped, assaulted, murdered, and cannibalized 17 men. He would seduce these men or befriend them, lead them back to his apartment and murder then have sex with their bodies and then proceed to dismantle the bodies and dissolve them in acid to get rid of evidence. With later victims he is said to have eaten parts of their bodes and kept parts to mummify on a shrine.
Without a doubt Dahmer was one of the wort serial killers known to man. But the part of his story that makes it so interesting is that dahmer seemed like a normal person and so no one every suspected him of having these dark desires. (Schwartz 292) He was handsome, nonviolent and he had a charm about him that made him seem perfectly irresistible to his victims. Even hearing him speak in interviews, he seems so calm and charming with the demeanour of a perfect gentleman. The article states “ I think he knew exactly what he was doing and how he was going to do it. There’s nothing wrong with Jeffery Dahmer.’’ Dahmer too has stated this himself. So it was not a lack of conscience it was the fact that he was ignoring it and letting his immoral thoughts and urges control what he did. He has stated that his reason for doing all of this was wanting someone to be there for him but also wanting someone who he could control completely. In one particular incident Dahmer lured a boy into his apartment knocked him out and tried to inject acid into his brain in an attempt to make him completely subservient. When Dahmer was finally discovered he did not resist arrest and he did not try to cover anything up. He knew that what he had done was evil and in a way it seemed he wanted to be caught so that he could finally stop hurting people. He had no self control.
The question is raised as to why we still see many killers and serial killers, and what exactly makes them different from anyone else. The answer might lie in lack of self control and a combination of minor mental illness such as anxiety or depression. But those answers seem to broad and could apply to a lot of people. The terrifying thing is that, you don’t know, you don’t know what makes them different, you don’t know why they go on to commit these heinous crimes or how these urges and thoughts get so out of control. Is it just a coin toss? What about the average person? Is there something inside you just waiting to get out? And how do you identify who is good and who is bad if they don’t show it ? That is the scary part and the part that no one wants to think about. But this reason alone is why serial killers interest so many people, why so many documentaries are made on them. To think that something might click and they might be a killer themselves makes people really question themselves and their hidden desires. Richard Tithecott, author of Jeffery Dahmer and the Construction of the Serial Killer.
Serial killers are some of the worst kind of people and in the story of life they are the villains but what happens when the villain is supposed to be the good guy in the story? In “The Hunchback of Notre Dame’’ a classic French novel the villain is the human and the monster is the protagonist or the good guy. At the beginning of the novel Claude frollo adopts a deformed gypsy baby, this was only after he tried to kill it because it looked liked a monster and because he hated the gypsy people. He then made the realization that god had sent him the child as a test of some sort. 20 Years later the deformed baby “Quasimodo” is the bell ringer of the church, frollo keeps him hidden away from people in an attempt to keep him safe from the hateful towns people that might harm him because he is different. but really he just thinks he is a monster and would rather people not see him. Throughout the novel Claude frollo who is a respected member of the church and of the town, tries to murder all the Gypsies because he states they are witches and are impure in blood. He then murders a gypsy girl because she refuses to be with him. He hates the gypsies but is sexually attracted to this one girl and because she refuses to be with him he kills her. Throughout the novel we don’t see him struggle with the fact that he is murdering innocent people in gods name, in fact, we see him struggle because he lusts after the gypsy girl. This character is just overall evil in every way and it is ironic that the ‘’ monster’’ isn’t even the one who looks like a monster but the human man who is driven by his faith in god. The story draws a lot of parallels to Frankenstein as the villain is the human and not the ‘’monster.’’ This again hints to humans being the true monsters. Somewhere in the human mind is evil, sometimes dormant and sometimes not but when this evil side comes out it is a horrible fate for anyone in their path. And the terrifying part is that you would never be able to tell if you didn’t witness or already know that said person has this side of them. You could remain blissfully innocent if you didn’t know any better.
In conclusion the worst monsters are human beings and they have remained so prominent in our society because they expose our deepest are darkest desires and impulses in a basic human nature that cannot be helped.
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