Frankenstein Flashcard Example #55007

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The theme of justice.
1. The significance of the characters names: Justine ironically resembles the word justice yet she is treated unfairly, Victor means “conquere” but he fails to speak up for Justine, Elizabeth means “my God is my oath” and she is loyal to Justine, the creature is unnamed which highlights how Victor has absolved his responsibility as a parent.
2. The quality of evidence brought against Justine is poor: “she looked very strangely” “the picture was produced”-it is coincidental and orchastrated to condemn Justine and to restore order and maintain the status-quo. Whilst she is in the dark readers get more evidence implicating the monster.-There is a link to the revolution when those in charge tried o to maintain the status-quo by restraining the people. It may also derive from Shelley’s literary background, Godwin writing political novels and Mary questioning the social positions of men and women as both sought justice.
3. The court even disregards the individuals brought forward suggesting a greater injustice in society “I lived in the same house as her” “benevolent of human creatures” “rely on her perfect innocence” The court disregard the evidence from females and convict nevertheless. They are rendered mute in the patriarchal court and the only man who could speak out doesn’t-The Gothic concept of the “mob” ironically they are disguised as the law here.
4. Religion is presented as a force against justice here “God in heaven forgive me!” “he threatened ex communication and hell fire” they manipulate superstitious beliefs for a guilty plea but it is forceful and aggressive- The manipulation of religion to supress the masses links to “The Monk” which Shelley read.
5. Through the sense of injustice, Victors own cowardice is highlighted “rather would I have confessed myself guilty of the crime ascribe to Justine” “would have been considered as the ravings of a madman”
6. Throughout the novel inadequate parenting is frequently presented in different situations. Justine was treated unfairly by —————————
7. “I thought with a sensation of madness on my promise of creating another like him, and trembling with passion, tore to peices the thing on which I was engaged” Victor betrays the creatures trust and sentences it to permanent isolation, Robert Frost stated that “Victor may have feared and anticipated a furture nightmare had he allowed the she-monster life, But in destroying his nightmare he has also shattered the monster’s dyllic dream. Frost writes that “Victor tears the she-monster apart with his bare hands. There may be no life in the parts that have assembled, but the ferocity of the attack, the sense of sexual violation of a prone female body is deeply disquieting”
8. Irony in Victor being cleared of murder in Ireland as on one hand he bears some responsibility for Henry’s death as he created C, but on the other he was commiting murder of a kind on the night in question by disposing of the female C’s remains so Henry’s death could be regarded as the punishment for this.
9. False imprisonment is again presented with wrongful incarceration of F’s father and Agatha reminding readers of inescapable context of French Revolution which gained much momentum as a challenge to established corruption in the aristorcracy, yet failed partly to suppression by ruling classes and through flawed ideology.
AO4-Frankenstein was first published in 1816 against a backdrop of political and social unrest. The French Revolution had inspired writers and thinkers to believe that a more egalitarian and democratic age was about to start, at the same time as it terrified the establishment into ever more droconian attempts to maintain the status-quo.
The theme of doppelganger and human monstrousness
1. The monster being the external embodiment of Victors increasingly divided and conflicted personality. The monster represents the darker side of Frankenstein’s psyche (the monster killing Elizabeth representing Victors fear of women/sexuality ————————–
2. The monster is living proof that Victor has become separated from the best of himself ————— his grisly experiments, treatment of other people and rejection of the monster——————
3. Victor and the monsters road to destruction seem to mirror, the way they react to circumstances V.F “I shunned the face of man” “I had begun life with benevolent intentions” “I ardently wished to extinguish the life” “I wandered like an evil spirit, for I had committed deeds of mischief”-AO3 however one may argue that since the monster was created by Frankenstein then they are not the same but it is the monster imitating Frankenstein and his fears as he also choses to die soon after Frankenstein does. C21 V breaks out of his narration letting W “soon, oh! Very soon, will death extinguish these throbbings” showing W he’s on a suicide mission to sacrifice all to destroy C, language used eerily echoes the syntax used my V previously when he discussed the fate of C, showing how shared and intertwined their fates seem.
3. V.F’s actions seem to be dehumanized like the monster “I gnashed my teeth, my eyes became inflamed” “wild eyes” compared to the description of the monster “too horrible for human eyes” “sight tremendous and abhorred” “watery yellow eyes”. Then after the trial of Justine he is “hanging among the rocks” -the beastial description suggests that he is able to form into a monster when things don’t go his way.
4. -AO3 One may argue that V.F and the monster are opposites and that the monster is a being that possess the qualities of Frankenstein most abhors as the monster seeks isolation while V.F is in isolation, and whilst V.F sought for the monsters life to be destroyed the monster wanted another like him to be created and when V,F wanted to protect human life the monster killed———————————————
5.The monster doesn’t behave monstrously naturally – arguably unlike Victor- but only because he is rejected and unloved—————–
6.-AO3 The Monster is not a symbol of the dark side of Frankenstein’s character but an autonomous creation, acting in his own right and the response to him may be from a perspective other than the psychoanalytical – moral, social, Marxist etc————————-
7. C seems to be able to interpret V’s feelings “a moment ago you were moved by my representations” as V can anticipate what C will do, “In my dying moments I shall not curse my maker” a dynamic similar to a parent and child-reminded of juvenille nature of C.
AO4-the gothic convention of the doppelganger which can either be an alternative version of the individual, a complimentary version that completes the individuals personality or it could be an opposite that possesses all the qualities the individual lacks and most abhors.
The theme of Nature
1. Nature as a force of oppression, causing isolation -In Walton’s letters “I’m encompassed by frost and snow” reflecting his melancholy due to the monotonous lifestyle on the boat. V2C3 “felt cold also, half frightened” “Darkness then overcame me” “light became more and more oppressive” in C’s early experiences. Nature in V2C8 facilitates for C destroying DeLacey cottage, he gathers components of “straw” “heath” “bushes” and “branch” to help him set fire mirroring V’s actions earliers as he observed nature in graveyards “saw how the worm inherited the eye” and adapts it for evil.
2. Nature showing its disapproval- in chapter 5 pathetic fallacy is used after monster is created “a dreary night in November” “dismal and wet” “drenched by the rain that poured from a black and comfortless sky”.After hearing C’s request “Oh! Stars and clouds and winds, ye are all about to mock me” “eternal twinkling of the stars weighed upon me”-link to Coleridge’s Mariner, nature causing torture reflecting the severity of his crimes.
3. The appearance of the creature demonstrating Victors violation of nature “horrid contrast with his watery eyes” “wrinkled his cheeks” “straight black lips” showing the monsters limination between life and death. C cannot imitate the songs of the birds “uncouth and inarticulate sounds” shows he is an abomination
4. Nature representing a renewed spirit and redemption (in chapter 6) “flowers of spring bloomed” which could highlight the beauty of nature when it is undisturbed by man almost putting to shame Victors artificial imitation of the process of new life.
5. The nature being sublime “Immense mountains and precipices that overhung me”-terrifying and overwhelming, gives perspective to the limitations of man who is dwarfed by nature. “river raging”-powerful, forceful, attractive reflection of Victors turbulent mind. “spoken of a power mighty as omnipotence” – a God-like source of spirituality “perpendicularity of the mountain” -a steep incline, physically challenging “thick mist hid the summits” – vision impaired, disguise
6. AO3-Victor seems more disappointed at the aesthetics of the creature he had created, not that he had violated nature but that his imitation of nature wasn’t accurate enough “His yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles” “I had selected his features as beautiful”
7. Transgressing nature- “I pursued nature to her hiding places” “watched how the worm inherited the wonders of the eye” “I dabbled among the unhallowed damps of the grave” infringes on the beauty of nature with science and his scientific mission has prevented him from realising his own madness and transgression.
AO4- Shelley wrote the novel on holiday in Switzerland when they had to stay inside because of the raining and poor whether so it was written against a backdrop of the sublime.
V seems only to truly appreciate nature when his is not/less concerned with C as in making C “Winter, spring and summer passed away during my labours, but I did not watch the blossom or the expanding leaves-sights which before always yielded me supreme delight” and “lost soul or sensation for this one pursuit” then when V thinks the monster was gone “spring…its beauty compensated for its dilatoriness” “serene sky” “flowers of spring bloomed” “nature had the power of bestowing on my the most delightful sensations”
8. Nature often tries to steer him in the right direct and away from the destructive path “often did my human nature turn with loathing from my occupation” showing he is naturally repulsed in creating C. Then in almost trying to prevent V returning home where C would follow him and kill his family in C6 “snow arrived, the roads were deemed impassable and my journey was retarded”. Yet V ignores the natural signs of his body and surroundings.
AO3-Roussuea said “everything is as good as it leaves the hands of the author of things, everything degenerates in the hands of man” “he loves deformity and monsters. He wants nothing as nature made it, not even man”
AO3-Dr David Higgins “The novel doesn’t endorse Roussuea’s view but engages it. The creature monstousity is a matter of perception from institutions, the creature is supposedly unnatural but he is in fact far closer to nature than anyone he encounters, but the prejudices make him unnatural.”
AO3- Anne Mellor “Victor Frankenstein is engaged upon a rape of nature, a violent penetration and usurpation of the female’s “hiding places” of the womb” “Nature punishes Victor Frankenstein the life-stealer most justly by denying him the capacity for natural procreation. His bride is killed on their wedding night, cutting off his chance to engender his own children…Frankenstein is left entirely without progeny”
The power of science
1. The power gained by Frankenstein as a result of his scientific experiments———————–
2. The role played by electricity in the animation of the creature————
3. Frankenstein’s supposed ability to create life but that this all goes horribly wrong because Frankenstein is out of his depth—————–
4. Scientific experiments to explore the unknown are therefore unacceptable and to be feared———————-
5. Science is rather ambiguous and unspecific and therefore is more akin to gothic superstition and imagination than genuine scientific investigation.—————————
6. Science is also dangerous – Shelley shows this as novel was written at a time when acquiring knowledge in science was frightening as it defies religion linking to Shelley’s introduction “supremely frightful would be the effect of any human endeavour to mock the stupendous mechanism of the Creator of the World”. The thunderstorm V witnesses demonstrates to him the destructive nature of science and galvanism incorporating the thunderstorm which was traditionally viewed as God’s anger “We witnessed a most violent and terrible thunder storm” “…Nothing remained but a blasted stump” “…I had never beheld anything so utterly destroyed” perhaps signifying an omnipotent warning though nature to V.
7. V defies religion and seems to try to take the role of God shown by his belief that he can give and take life “tore to pieces the thing which I was engaged” and “Anew species would bless me as its creator and source”. Also V repeatedly calls his pursuit of killing C a “pilgrimage”-religious connotations. The language used by V to W at the end links to the ten commandments “Swear to me Walton that he shall not escape, Swear that he shall not live, Swear that he shall not triumph”. V also presents science as a substitute to religion as he speaks of his dedication towards it “I was thus engaged, heart and soul, in one pursuit” “But here were books and here were men who had penetrated deeper and know more. I took their word for all they averred and I became their disciple”-V looks to a faith that can be explained.
8. Shelley shows the fear of science through C and that the outcome of scientific frolics are aesthetic disappointment “Dun yellow eye… His skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath…his shrivelled complexion and straight black lips”. In using this extremely frightful image Shelley exaggerates the danger that can stem from science.
9. In writing the novel as a retrospective morale it magnifies the dangers of the pursuit of knowledge and V ensures Walton “Learn from me, if not by my precepts, at least by my example, how dangerous is the acquirement of knowledge”.
9. C19 shows science as something to be feared, in preparing to create FC V describes it as “like the torture of single drops of water continually falling on the head” conveying distress of promise hanging over him and constant psychological torment the more he delayed. V compares self to “blasted tree; the bolt has entered my soul”-familiar language to V’s earlier discourse yet image is of self-destruction rather than ignition of a new course.
AO3-Crabb in “English synonyms explained” said “Wonders are natural, miracles are supernatural…Wonders are agreeable to the laws of nature…monsters are violations of the laws of nature”
AO3-Chris Bond “The science in Frankestein is really a matter of convenience. It is not realistic, but rather hocus-pocus and serves a representative purpose.”
AO3-Bernard O’Keefe “tension between the probable and “true” the imagined and the real”
ao4-Marx later said “Modern bourgeois society with its relations of production, of exchange and property, a society that has conjured up such gigantic means of production and of exchange, is like a sorcerer, who is not longer able to control the powers of the nether world whom he has called up by his spells”
AO4-Shelley writes that in her conversation between her husband Byron in which they discussed “the experiments of Dr Erasmus Darwin who preserved a piece of vermicelli in a glass case, till by some extraordinary means it began to move with voluntary motion…perhaps a corpse would be reanimated”
Scientific enlightenment
1. Victor can arbitrarily judge others based on whether they affirm his own scientific values, he is unwilling to compromise his passions (About Krempe) “He was an uncouth man”- a boujoir judgement as he doesn’t ascribe to what he thinks. “Did not prepossess me in favour of his pursuits-Ironic as before he is willing to disregard his ideas but not when others tell him to, he’s superficial and temperamental character.
2. Krempe and Waldman represent a dichotomy in scientific enlightenment and so V.F favours those in agreement with him “He said that these were men whose indefatigable zeal modern philosophers were indebted to for most of the foundation of their knowledge”———-Victors views were not challenged but validated so he is not stimulated by debate
3. From chapter 6 science become a symbol of trauma and dread “violent antipathy” “the sight of a chemical instrument would renew all agony” – rather than previous thrill and excitement science now evokes terror.
4. -AO3 one could argue that the novel also contrasts scientific enlightenment because of the many conveniences and hocus-pocus occurrences, Victor ignores even scientific method by not having a clear procedure and hypothesis .
Through science the gothic themes of exploitations and the disturbed imagination, and the tension between realism and fantasy can be employed. Before writing Shelley was influenced by Louigi Galavani, Erasmus Darwin and scientists trying to bring bodies to life.
5. Science can be seen as noble as in Victor’s childhood he is presented as intelligent and motivated “I was indifferent, therefore, to my school fellows” “I always came away from my studies discontented and unsatisfied” “My father was not scientific, and I was left to struggle with a child’s blindness, added to a student’s thirst for knowledge” link to the monster with “childhood blindness”.. Shelley suggests V’s behaviour is admirable as it is comparable to Isaac Newton “Sir Isaac Newton is said to have avowed that he felt like a child picking up shells beside the great and unexplored ocean of truth”. S and V perhaps state that individuals need to push beyond knowledge that has already been found and the contradiction of whether to pursue or avoid knowledge runs through the novel. V started his pursuit of knowledge as “wealth was an inferior object; but what glory would attend the discovery, if I could banish disease from the human frame and render man invulnerable to any but a violent death!” this could be a reflection of Shelley’s childhood as she seems to have been neglected by her father but he considered to have “considerable talent”.
C takes on quite a scientific method when learning about fire “the same cause should produce such opposing effects” “I reflected on this” “is this the cause” “I observed this also”. C uses trial and error and develops through experimenting, parallel to V. The excitable risk C takes to put hand in fire links to repercussions of tampering with natural elements “hand into the live embers but quickly drew it out again with a cry of pain”, shows he can learn from experiences, the dangers of naivety-link to Prometheus but C streals fire from man.
AO4- The holiday discussions about Galvanism and Dr Erasmus Darwin lead to discussions about whether “there was any probability of it (the principles of life) ever being discovered and communicated” and whether “man was to be thought merely an instrument”
AO4-The early nineteenth century spread of mechnisation meant, for the majority of the working population, a brutalising enslavement to the machine. The glorious goal of the political revolution in France had been to eradicate class divisions the only effect of the Industrial Revolution was to deepen them.
AO4-The novel can be read as part of a wider Romantic reaction against Enlightenment scientific thinking and the processes of technology associated with the Industrial Revolution”
AO3-Nora Crook “Frankenstein invented the archetypal mad scientist whose vainglorious obsession with realizing anything that the human mind can conceive and whose refusal to set artificial limits to human capabilities threaten to destroy every humanity they claim to benefit.”
The theme of terror
1. The creation of the monster—————–
2. The injustice ————————————-
3. The gothic settings——————————-
4. The horrid murders———————————
5. V2C7 “end of chapter Shelley creates tension and drama as C is forced to quickly decide what to divulge “the moment of decision” “struggled…to answer him” C is desperately under pressure to give the right impression. Reactions of cottagers are one of terror also as “Agatha fainted” “Felix darted forward” perhaps even the physical appearance to excessive and more than the human eye can handle.
AO4-War with France in 1815 was followed by a period of economic depression. This with permanent surplus of labour due to a high population growth and the replacing of workers with machines, led to political discontent. The government began to fear the lower classes.
A perceived threat was felt by the government and aristocracy and the rioting mob began to be seen as a “monster”
The theme of good and evil.
The “goodness” of Elizabeth and Justine and the fact that they may be seen to suffer because of or in spite of their goodness—————–
• Frankenstein’s desire to increase knowledge and benefit mankind as essentially good and explore how this goes wrong “banish disease from the human frame” “
• Frankenstein as evil in his desire to play god, his usurpation of the maternal role or his neglect of parental responsibility for his “creation”
• The role of the monster – many are likely to see him as initially “good” – in need of care and affection – turning evil when shunned by Frankenstein———————————
• Sympathy for the monster but the murders he commits should not be overlooked and C is often described to have evil traits as V refers to him as “devil” and “fiend” and after murdering William he “clapped his hands” and after murdering E a “grin was on the face of the monster, he seemed to jeer” “pointed towards the corpse of my dead wife” -ostentatious and deliberate E was “thrown across the bed, her head hanging down”-no mercy or dignity in the death.
• The ending of the novel, seeing it as morally ambiguous – there are moral ambiguities throughout which are not necessarily resolved at the end with the clear victory of good or evil. The final line of the novel-“He was soon borne away by the waves and lost by the darkness and distance” the question of obscurity and impairing vision and ambiguity over whether C is dead or still out there-the distance being either acceptance from society or in aesthetic value. There’s an ambiguity over what “darkness” reprosents, death or self-worth and loathing. C lets nature take him wherever, the landscape will provide a disguise for him, the only habitat he has. Looming threat of other is ever-present-sombre note, how easy it is to remove the remnants when science has gone too far.
– the typical gothic convention of the struggle between good and evil
The women are shown to be moral compasses in particular Elizabeth for Victor———————
-V2C4+5 C’s vulnerability is shown in that he could easily accept the stories and be so greatly moved by them “I felt the greatest ardour for virtue” “firm hold on my mind” he’s vulnerable as he allows his perception to be shaped by works of fiction. C “admire peaceable lawgivers…” but resentment creeps over him “envy rose within me”, his egalitarian and considerate theme develops into violence and vengence.
V2C8 in setting fire to cottage C is described with hellish terms and given an image of the devil “enveloped in flames” “licked it with their forked and destroying tongues” “insantiy in my spirits, that burst all bounds of reason and reflection” he has become savage and regressed. Also his planting of the necklace on Justine is deliberatley malicious despite the fact she had done nothing against him “bent over her, placed the emerald necklace…”
AO3-Allen Graham “It is significant that Victor describes Elizabeth as “the purest creature on earth” which links her to the creature’s account of Milton’s Adam. What Victor does not see however is the manner in which the coming together of the two extremes of the pure Elizabeth and evil monster reflects his own lack of responsibility-Victors abandoned child murders his abandoned wife”
AO3-Allen Graham “Frankenstein presents a socio-political scenario but its ultimate focus is not how the master figure maintains his ability to pursue and enslave his victim but how the creature pulls the master-creator figure down to his own “hellish” level as a tragic act of revenge and Victor dies unenlightened to the reality of this scenario”
The epistolary form.
1. It shows the unreliability of Walton’s narrative through his changing tones and accounts across the letters and his fluctuating narrative-(letter 1) “increasing confidence in the success of my undertaking” “heart grow with enthusiasm which elevates me” (letter 2) “encompassed…frost and snow!” (letter 3) “I feel bitterly” (letter 4) “good spirits” “surrounded by ice” “loose masses which float”
2. The selectiveness and prioritisation and diluted accounts of a letter makes readers question the reliability “I writes a few lines in haste” “No incident…that would make a figure in a letter” “I cannot forbear recording it”
3. The frequency of the letter reflects the excitement and compulsion to write “My first task is to assure my dear sister” “I cannot forbear recording it”—————
4. Readers must be aware of the unreliability in the fact that Frankenstein tells his tale to Walton as a warning “listen to my history…perceive how irrevocably it is determined”
5. Through Walton’s letter we can draw parallels between he and V.F (the past encroaching on the present) “use the language of my heart” “burning ardour of my soul” “one man’s life or death were but a small price to pay for the acquirement of the knowledge”
6.2. In chapter 6 the layering of narrative perspectives allows readers to test the reliability of Victors account of his family and the fact that Elizabeth’s kindness does seem to match Victor’s earlier description of her. _________________________________ There is a dilution as the letter will have been passed from Elizabeth to Victor, to Walton then us and whilst it is an intimate form it is also selective so Shelley poses the question of the ambiguity of the epistolary form.
7. C22 V refers to letter sent by E whose thoughts are framed within a letter which takes place in embedded narrative of V which is embedded in another epistolary form -letter to Margaret. The letter attempts to authenticate E’s thoughts yet the heavy weight of male influence channelling her voice does little to elevate her narrative voice. The peripheral viewpoint is further in tentativeness of E’s narrative-another self-sacrificing virtuous woman who is aware “that her and Victor’s union had been a favourite plan of Victor’s parents since their infancy” showing her heightened sense of loyalty and obligations as well as assertion “it is Victor’s happiness I desire” showing selflessness which seals her fate as those with those dispositions in novel that are disposed of by more ruthless figures.
AO4-Gothic novels often draw attention to their own artifice and to the very act of writing and recording.
The theme of Childhood, education and development
1. Walton introduces the theme of the value of education-in his injuction Walton’s father forbid him to travel and his education was neglected but he pursued in anyway as poetry “entranced my soul” and he dedicated himself to “the study of mathematics”, he also has aspirations comparing himself to “Shakespeare” and “Homer” showing he is looking for infamy.
2. Victors childhood was innocent but inquisitive that it was inevitable that his fate should be as it was “before misfortune has tainted my mind” “bright vision” ironic because the vision leads to destruction.
3. Victors greed and excessive ambition can be seen in his childhood “temper was sometimes violent”-temperamental male, unstoppable in his pursuits foreshadowing him becoming volatile when things didn’t go her way “I always came away from my studies discontented” -his greed and persistence “If I could banish disease from the human frame” -wants to be the hero “thirst for knowledge” appetite to learn-it sustains him.
4. Victors heritage and lineage lead him to setting himself higher goals than others and perhaps fed his ego “my family is one of the most distinguished of that republic” -it’s slightly arrogant and indicates good education and being upper class. (About Alphonse-“he was respected by all who knew him for his integrity”-showing that V.F was brought up around honesty and without corruption. “I was their plaything and their idol” which introduces the role reversal suggesting he was wiser than his parents.
5. V.F’s isolation started in childhood-“I was indifferent, therefore, to my school fellows”-aloof and alienated “lives of my parents were passed in considerable seclusion”
AO4-Shelley was influenced by Rousseau’s views on childhood that the idea of the “orphan” brought up in seclusion in the countryside with minimum assistance from adult carers would not be contaminated by external cultural factors by external cultural factors, would be more authentic and autonomous. One could argue Shelley supports this by the dangers V.F faces when he leaves home yet she could be showing the emotional cost and alienation caused by such an upbringing when one then does enter civilization.
—–discuss the creatures childhood and education——- and clerval’s and elizabeth’s————————
6. C is able to describe his earliest experiences so allows Shelley to record the normally unspoken, unconscious process bu which children aquire foundation of personality and makes a possible running critique of ways this process can go wrong. C’s story is so sad as readers witness the painful spectacle of the systematic destruction of his innocence, trust and love——————————————————————————————
7. C was highly receptive to power of nature, it teaches him about difference at a sensory level “light pressed upon my nerves” until “ogliged to shut them” also it forgrounds his later understanding of how he differs from humanity—————LAKE QUOTE——. C gradually adapts finding benevolence in “gentle light that stole over the heavens” and moon “enlightened my path”-embody maternal encouragement-moon considered nurturing symbol in literature or could show C’s enlightenment in learning to survive.
8. C’s aquiring of language -AO4Shelley read John Locke’s essay “Concerning Human Understanding” describing intellectual state of child’s mind as a tabula rasa- a blank slate filled through experiences.
AO4-Rousseau -challenged the traditional concept of the fall-each child is borne in a state of innocence which then becomes corrupted.
The DeLacey’s represent the family construct, emphasised by their “gentle manners” as “superior beings” contrasting C’s abandonment. C recognises “no father watched his infant days” and wonders “where were his friends” leading him to question “What was I?” his existential crisis caused by V’s neglect. C’s reference to “no friends” echoes Walton’s desire for a friend in earlier chapters yet W’s desire to have friend is to have his ideas validated——-further evidence for his own narcissism, C’s is a genuine desire for companionship.
C’s clandestine stay at DeLacey’s allows him to hear Felix relaying Volney’s Ruins of Empires, C internalises story and applies to self knowing he “possessed no money, no friends, no kind of property” and he was “completely ignorant” of his creator meaning “the possessions most esteemed by humans which were high, unsullied decent into riches” left C an outcast with little value. C is appauled that “one man could go forth to murder his fellow” which is painfully ironic considering the decent readers know C has experienced in killing William and Justine.
AO4-from a Marxist perspective one could argue how C’s case represents class struggle with C oppressed through his lack of property.
AO4-Shelley was exposed to an intelligent literary circle in her childhood. Coleridge, Charles Lan who edited Coleridges work, Hanslett and Percy Shelley.
The theme of outcast/ex-communication/alienation/isolation
1. Since V seems to be somewhat morally inept it is the benevolence of is family that helps to guide him “Clerval…again taught me how to love the aspect of mature, and the cheerful faces of children” and Elizabeth urges him to “return to us” “You will find a happy cheerful home and friends who love you dearly” therefore preventing and steering V away from his dangerous seclusion, the fact that V is so unique in his moral and social decisions even in comparison to C who at times portrays a greater level of moral acuteness than V suggesting that in terms of morality V is the one truly bizarre, alienated and deformed.
2. It is clear that V puts himself in a state of isolation as he carries the secret of C so long on his own and whilst one could argue it is because V’s account would be deemed “the ravings of a madman” which is affirmed by the magistrates later dismissal of V’s plea, had V told someone before he had reunited with C and learnt of his murders his stories of creating life would have seemed more probable than claiming to have created a speaking. emotional and rational being that commits murders so V creates own ultimate isolation “I could never persuade myself to confide in him” (about Clerval)
3. V takes the fact that he is loved and accepted for granted “study had before secluded me from intercourse of my fellow-creatures and rendered my unsocial” which is ironic because he claimed that his studies would gain him fame and acceptance from these people he has isolated himself from; then in trying to pursue the monster in the end to save mankind from C’s vengeance, V again becomes isolated- it seems each time he tries to help mankind he become geographically and mentally secluded and an outsider.
“I shunned the face of man” “terrifically desolate”
4. V2C4+5 Through convenient plot device C learns how repulsed V was by him “description of my odious and loathsome person” “language which painted your own horror” C exposes the irrational and reckless actions of V “Why did you form a monster so hideous…” so readers feel need to condemn V.
5. V isolates himself even at the end after W admires him in an “admirable friend” “his eyes closed forever” “a gentle smile passed away from his lips” in an almost homoerotic description yet despite this closeness V even distanced himself from W “think you that any can replace those that are gone? Can any man be to me as Clerval was; or any woman another Elizabeth?”
AO4-Rousseau believed that a child brought up in relative seclusion in the countryside and offered the minium of assitance from its adult carers is capable of developing naturally not contaminated by external cultural factors and is more autonomous. This relates to possessive individualsim and the self formation that the thesis highlighs the sense of alientation and the emotional cost experienced by a child set apart from others.
Victors fear of females, female dominance and sexuality and the depiction of females
——————————-Victor assumes this threat of “I will be with you on your wedding night” is for him and doesn’t even consider the safety of Elizabeth, the allusion to a rape when he gets rid of the female creature, Victors fear of creating a female creature, the friendly and impersonal manner that he speaks about Elizabeth, Victor wondering the grounds before meeting with Elizabeth on his wedding night
2. Frost writes that “Victor tears the she-monster apart with his bare hands. There may be no life in the parts that have assembled, but the ferocity of the attack, the sense of sexual violation of a prone female body is deeply disquieting”————————————————————————————-
3. Margaret provides our first and our final image of domesticity. In W’s letter II he remembers a youth under her “gentle and feminine fosterage”———-passive and virtuous females———-
There is an immediate opposition set up between the public nad private worlds. Caroline’s father’s ruin is due to him cutting himself off from all friends out of pride. The need for others is closely connected to the idea of one’s obligations towards others. Alphonse’s “benevolent disposition” means they do much charitable work and towards V they display “a deep consciousness of what they owed towards the being to which they had given life”
4. Elizabeth is seen as an object to be possessed she is offered to V as a “pretty present” seen as “a possession of my own” “mine-mine to protect, love, and cherish” “mine only”
5. Safie offers a degree of alternative version of female representation in novel embodying more independent and resilient qualities than other saintly and virtuous women.———————————————————————————————
6. Alphonse questions V about intention to marry E “you, perhaps, regard her as your sister, without any wish that she might become your wife” for Alphonse to notice, who had been previously subtly criticised by V for his lack of attention to pursuits of his son, indicates the extent of V’s apathy to E, which supports interpretation of V’s asexual nature, his detachment showing his inability to engage with the opposite sex. AO3 “I never saw any woman who excited, as Elizabeth does, my warmest admiration and affection” expresses V’s warmth in a manner that would have been suitable etiquette for the time. Yet V says “To me the idea of an immediate union with Elizabeth was one of horror and dismay”-can show V’s anxiety over looming threat of C, but vocab choices indicate genuine apprehension and alarm linked to V’s inexperence/lack of interest in women.-Yet ironically V cannot cannot fulfill the promise of mother’s dying wish because of obligation to C “bound by a solemn promise which I had not yet fulfilled and bared not break”.
7. V’s reasoning for not creating FC suggests he has a fear of female power “she might become ten thousand times more malignant than her mate” “a thinking and reasonable animal” “sympathies for which the daemon thirsted would be children
AO4-The death of a woman becomes the most poetical topic of literature, especially when that woman is associated with beauty -E in this novel, also Lucy Westenra in “Dracular” by Bram Stoker and Bertha Mason in “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Bronte. Modern readers may also see this is true in the death of the iconic Princess Diana. The modern order is often re-established after the death of a woman as when Matilda dies in “The Castle of Otranto” by Hugh Walpole.
AO4-Rooms can represent the imprisonment and oppression of women in the patriarchal order as in “Eden Close” Anita Shreve
AO4-Mary Wollstonecraft wrote her novel at a time when women had no rights and were governed by men. Wollstonecraft wrote in “A Vindication of the Rights of Woman” in 1790 that women were only inferior because of the lack of education and that marriage was like a transference of goods.
AO3-Anne Mellor “Frankenstein is a book about what happens when a men tries to have a baby without a woman” “by stealing the female’s control over preproduction, Frankenstein has eliminated the female’s primary biological function and source of cultural power” “the division of the public man from private woman also means that women cannot function effectively in the public realm” “First, he is afraid of an independent female will, afraid that his female creature will have desires and opinions that can not be controlled by his male creature” “And finally, he is afraid of her reproductive powers” “What Victor Frankenstein truly fears is female sexuality as such. A woman who is sexually liberated, free to choose her own life, her own sexual partner” “(FC) defies that sexist aesthetic that insists that women be small, delicate, modest, passive, and sexually pleasing-but available only to their lawful husbands” “Victor almost ardently desires his bride when he knows she is dead; the conflation of his earlier dream…signals Victor’s most profound erotic desire, a necrophiliac and incestuous desire to possess the dead female, the lost mother”-“embraced her with ardour; but the deathly languor and coldness of the limbs”
1. V.F’s warnings to Walter as he sees his same qualities mirrored in him “that you may deduce an apt moral from my tale” “you are pursing the same course, exposing yourself to the same dangers which rendered my what I am”
2. Victor regarding himself as a cautionary case “learn from me, if not by my precepts then by my example” “Hear me-let me reveal my tale, and you will dash the cup from your lips”-showing that desire for ambition is poison.————————–
3. Victors melancholy and despair shows his guilt and these implications contribute to Shelley’s moral message “I was tempted to plunge myself into the silent lake” “I could only answer my father with a look of despair”
4. We may however question whether Victor had really evolved in the story because he still neglects some of the blame and is quite selfish “If my father had taken the pains to explain…I should certainly have thrown Agrippa aside” “the last effort made by the spirit of preservation” “Destiny was too potent”-blaming his father and fate”I shuddered to think that future ages might curse me as their pest”-still egotistical and self concerned.
5. Nature seems to enforce moral guidance and punishment as it shows its disapproval at Victors transgressions “a dreary night of November” “drenched by the rain which poured from a black and comfortless sky”————————-
6. The monster ironically appears to have had the moral high ground before he was corrupted but Victor who has not had the hardships that the monster has appears to be immoral “I will not set myself in opposition to thee”————————————-
AO4-Shelley’s novel could be seen as an allegory of the dangers of revolution and the monster being the uncontrollable forces let loose when convention is overthrown.
7. Since V seems to be somewhat morally inept it is the benevolence of is family that helps to guide him “Clerval…again taught me how to love the aspect of mature, and the cheerful faces of children” and Elizabeth urges him to “return to us” “You will find a happy cheerful home and friends who love you dearly” therefore preventing and steering V away from his dangerous seclusion, the fact that V is so unique in his moral and social decisions even in comparison to C who at times portrays a greater level of moral acuteness than V suggesting that in terms of morality V is the one truly bizarre, alienated and deformed.
8. V’s language choices suggest omniscience as he tries to calculate strength of C and whether to be persuaded to create female c “relect on all he had related and the various arguments which he had employed”-sees himself as a judge or jury rather than culprit to C’s loneliness. V questions C’s moral code hypocritically “threats were not ommitted in my calculations” “the promise of virtues”.
9. Rather than pursue the creeation of female with a hasty purpose as in V1 in V3 C18 “day after day, week after week, passed away on my return to Geneva, and I could not collec the courage to recommence my work” indicating level of his procrastination considering logistical element of creating fC and moral uncertainty. V’s skittishness in creating FC is highlighted “every day more horrible and irksome to me” “Sometimes I could not prevail on myself to enter my laboratory for several days”-his inconsistency reveals he remains unresolved in moral argument for creating FC, V feels soiled, one assumes spiritually, knowing he’s sinning again yet “every moment I feared to meet my persecutor”-Shelley explores difficulty of returning to state of purity or innocence when science has pushed so far that boundaries between wrong and right have been blurred.
10. V tells W to “seek happiness in tranquillity and avoid ambition” yet when the men aim to head back to England V pipes up from his illness to encourage them to go on “glorious expedition…because it was full of dangers and terrors”. This shows V’s moral contradictions and selfishness, he is willing to allow the men to die as W says to Margaret “unfortunate comrages have already found a grave”, in order to his mission to be fulfilled. At the end V also asks Walton “Swear to me Walton, he shall not escape” forcing him to take on the mission that he had spent his dying moments warning him of.
AO3-Bernard O’Keefe “Gothic texts often blur the boundaries between oppositions-light and dark, good and evil, conformity and transgression…leaving the readers in an unsettled state between what is true and what is imagined”
AO4-Cinema adaptation of Frankenstein-“The Bride of Frankenstein” the bride strongly rejects her suitor and the monster is spurned in a manner that validates Victors suspicions In “Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein” the monster is brought to life with E’s head grafted on Justine’s body, she still possesses her memories and reflexes and turns away from the monster towards “the superior beauty of man”
AO3-“Frankenstein should have better balanced the obligations of the great and small, of parent and child, of creature and creature…thus in Mary Shelley’s eyes both a moral and an aesthetic failure, resulting directly in the creation of a hideous monster”
AO4-The sublitilte “the modern Prometheus” who according to one version of the Greek myth created mankind and was punished by Zeus for stealing the fire of the gods and preventing a devastating flood. He is chained forever to a rock in the wilderness of Mount Causasus and his liver perpetually eaten out by a vulture and Vis also made to forever pursue C by whilst Prometheus is eventually released by Hercules, Shelley does not allow her Prometheus to be released form his torture
1. The cemeteries, charnel-houses and dissecting rooms which link back to the traditional gothic locations and revive the mysterious and superstitious fears of the past. “a solitary chamber or rather cell” “One doomed by slavery to toil in the mines”-held captive by his own desires “I kept my workshop a filthy creation” “collected bones from charnel houses” which shows the relentlessness of his ambition
2. The description of St Petersburg “cold northern breeze…braces my nerves and fills me with delight”-the sublime “the sun is forever visible” contrasts Archangel which seems more epic and vast “encompassed by frost and snow” “trembling sensation, half pleasurable and half fearful”
3. The workshop symbolising moral transgression, breaking romantic boundaries and of madness “my workshop of filthy creation” -knew devastation it would cause” “I pursued nature to her hiding places” “emaciated with confinement”-irrational
AO4 the settings link back to the gothic tradition of castles, dungeons and graveyards creating a “disturbing return of pasts upon presents”. There is also the gothic traditions of the sublime -grandeur metaphysical force beyond rational knowledge and human comprehension
The Sublime
1. Walton’s elevated view of the expedition and poets “poets whose effusions entranced my soul” “my resolution is firm; but my hopes fluctuate”
2. The storm that sparked Victors interest in galvanism “curiosity and delight” “stream of fire issue from an old and beautiful oak”—————
3. Victors sense of awe and wonderment at nature “the tempest, so beautiful yet terrific” “waterfalls around spoke of a power mighty as omnipotence and I ceased to fear”———————————-
AO3-Edward Burkes definition -“The sublime is…astonishment and astonishment is the state of the soul” “Whatever is fitted in any sort to excite the ideas of pain and danger, that is to say whatever is in any sort terrible, conversant and about terrible objects, or operates in a manner analogous to terror is a source of the sublime”
Edmund Burke-“Whatever is fitted into any sort to excite the ideas of pain, and danger, that is to say, whatever is in any sort terrible, or is conversant about terrible objects, or operates in a manner analogous to terror, is a source of the sublime, that is productive of the strongest emotion which the mind is capable of feeling” “No passion so effectively robs the mind of all its powers of acting, and reasoning as fear. For fear being an apprehension of pain and death, it operates in a manner that resembles actual pain. Whatever therefore is terrible, with regard to sight, is sublime too.
AO3-Anne Mellor “those characters capable of deeply feeling the beauties of Nature are rewarded with physical and mental health”
Greed and excessive ambition
1. “disturbed with profane fingers” “tortured the living animal to animate the lifeless clay” and this links to Rousseau’s theory that “everything degenerates in the hands of man…he disfigures everything…he wants nothing as nature made it not even man” which in a literal sense is when V is doing disrupting and fondling dead corpses and creating a monster “of gigantic stature” “eight feet in height” as if trying to defy nature in every way yet V by rejecting C and those C encounters seem also to have inadvertently caused C’s mental deformation “I had saved a human being from destruction and as a recompose I now writhed under miserable pain” leading to C deciding “I vowed eternal hatred and vengeance to all mankind”.
2. In pursuing C at the end V said he “had no conception that vessels ever came so far North” and aimed to “fulfill my pilgramage” as though it is the pinicle of V’s life and is a religious quest. V also says “revenge kept me alive” using excessive ambition to spur him onward.
AO4-William had an alcohol problem so also exhibited excessive behaviour.
AO4-Shelley’s parents were from a radical literary background challenging conventional society as Godwin wrote “Enquiry into political justice” and Mary Wollstonecraft “A vindication of the rights of man (then later of woman)”
AO3- Chris Bond “Frankenstein’s difficulty was not his success, which pleases him until death, but the limitation of his success”
AO3-Chris Bond “there is an extreme vanity and egotism acting as the motivating force for Victor’s work, as opposed to a disinterested desire to further the interest of the human race in general.”
1. In C4 V’s self conscious narration as though he feels the need to assure readers of his won credibility/ reliability of his tale because of his irrational past that he recalls “most interesting part of my tale” remember I am not recording the vision of a madman” “Listen patiently until the end of my story” -assuring
2. V3/C18 V interrupts chronology of his adventures with Clerval stating “pardon this gush of sorrow; these ineffectual words are but a slight tribute to the unexampled worth of Henry. But they soothe my heart, overflowing with the anguish which his rememberence creates. I will proceed with my tale”-introduces forboding suggesting Clervals passing preparing readers for V/C’s next victim.
AO3-Bernard O’Keefe “In Frankenstein there is not omniscient narrator, but the narrative (in Dracula) is much more fragmented. Its multiple narrative perspectives are presented through a range of methods of writing and representation-letters, telegrams, newspaper reports…this encourages a sense of authenticity, the fantastic and supernatural events being recorded in documentary authenticity embedded in everyday and contemporary means of recording”
AO3-Nora Crook “How can Walton be sure that Victor has not faked them (the letters)? How can we be sure that Victor’s story has not been dreamed up by Walton-imaginative, ice-bound, isolated and longing for a friend?”
Unreliable narratives and narratives within narratives-embedded narratives
1. Walton’s narrative seems unreliable as his gives different versions of the North Pole and accounts of the whether. He contradicts himself firstly saying he’s safe but says there are sheets of ice around him. Hyperbole is used his extreme reactions to everything and the dramatizing of events “A country of eternal light”-spiritual suggestions enlightenment and knowledge. Ambiguity of the narrative reducing its reliability, eager and exited, pompous and optimistic in L1 “increasing confidence in the success of my undertaking” “heart grows with enthusiasm which elevates me”, in L2 arrogant, despondent, proud and hubris “encompassed by frost and snow” L3 there’s reassurance and determination “should you never hear from me again” “I feel bitterly” – at the expense of Margret’s worry. Walton’s changing tones by fluctuations in the narrative and worrying and melancholy L4 “surrounded by ice” “loose masses which float”
2. In chapter 6 the layering of narrative perspectives allows readers to test the reliability of Victors account of his family and the fact that Elizabeth’s kindness does seem to match Victor’s earlier description of her. _________________________________ There is a dilution as the letter will have been passed from Elizabeth to Victor, to Walton then us and whilst it is an intimate form it is also selective so Shelley poses the question of the ambiguity of the epistolary form.
3. Running concurrently with C’s evolution is the introduction of Safie and history of DeLacey’s. R is exposes to another form of injustice and corruption. Shelley explore role of irresponsible father again————- Turkish merchant is amancipated by Felix only to later betray him and later his daughter. Reader will draw parallels between Safie, DeLacey’s and C who share status of exhiles; those expelled from society for upsetting the status quo.
3. C21 Shelley manifests V’s psychological torment into the physical setting “awakening from a dream” V finds himself “in prison, stretched on a wretched bed, surrounded by gaolers, turnkeys, bolts, and all the miserable apparatus of a dungeon” -(V is transported to a subterranean level, hidden from view to conceal the transgressors of society) V calls the authenticity of events into question “I sometimes doubted if indeed it were all true, for it never presented itself to my mind with the force of reality” supporting view of events being so absurd they are constructs of V’s heightened imagination.
4. V “corrected and augmented” W notes on the story “in many places” a degree of bias makes us question how reliable it is, V to tires make himself out to be a tragic hero and in doing this he is likely to demonise C so our view is coloured by V’s. Shelley draws attention to the foibles of merely believing a narrative as V thinks he can posterate his own narrative and control the way he is viewed after his death.
AO3-Andrew Green “The first-person narratives of Walton, Frankenstein and the monster can thus be seen as one narrative, their journeys as one and the same journey”
AO3-Bernard O’Keefe “Gothic narratives place the reader in that liminal state between our real world and the world of imagined fears and horrors. They also, through narrative methods, provide an unsettling fragmentation ofperspective, and unreserving sense of dark truths hidden below, or embedded in, our everyday lives, and through a self-conscience in the act of recording and representation, a disturbing sense of textual instability
1. “watched how the worm inherited the wonders of the eye” ~”I dabbled among the unhallowed damps of the grave” infringes on the beauty of nature with science and his scientific mission has prevented him from realising his own madness and transgression.
2. V’s dream of his mother and Elizabeth “I saw Elizabeth in the bloom of health…as I imprinted the first kiss on her lips, they became livid with the hue of death…I thought that I held the corpse of my dead mother in my arms” which defies natural familial boundaries not only with the kiss of the cousin but also the mother-AO4 this links to the gothic theme of incestuousness and exposing social toboo’s and releasing repressed desires.
AO4-Shelley said “Supremely frightful would be the effect of any human endeavour to mock the stupendous mechanism of the Creator of the world”
AO3-Dr David Higgins “V’s creation of life transgresses nature but his own transgression may be a natural process-his desire to “banish disease” is like the monsters fire to keep away cold-both alleviate human sufferings.”
The Ruins of Empires is not the only instance of intertexuality used by Shelley to inform C’s education. Goethe’s The Sorrow’s of Werther, a book about the importance of emotion to any definition of humanity which enlarges the monster’s sympathies; Plutarch’s Lives, like Ruines of the Empire offers evidence of extremes of human behaviour. Reading the books helps confirm C’s moral choices. C admires the “peacable lawyers” of history rather than the tyrants and despots. Paradise Lost has big impact on C reflecting his own situation. Like Adam C has been thrust into the world however C has no benevolent protector. This lacking presence and solitary life is C’s kind of living hell and C admits “many times he considered Satan as the fitter emblem of my condition”. When C again questions “Who was I?” “What was I?” the true extent of his purposelessness is unveiled-without identity his is nothing to anybody.
It is one of the most intertextual of gothic texts of Gothic narratives comprised (rather like its monster) of bits and pieces from elsewhere.
1. There is a parallel between Justine and Elizabeth who was also brought in and raised by the family but later dies which reflects Elizabeth who also abandoned and neglected———————————————- and the two have a bond so close that when Victor hurts Justine and causes her death he also harms Elizabeth
2. Through Justine, Elizabeth and Victors stories we see the theme of inadequate parenting and the importance of upbringing and education—————————————————————————————————
3. There is a parallel between Justine, Victor and the Creature as all of their fates were set once they gained an education——————————————————————————————————————————–
4. When V arrives in Ireland it reflects the hostile reception that the C always received as V was “so slenderly acquainted with the geography of this part of the world” “tormented by burning thirst” “I was exceedingly surprised on receiving so rude an answer” “faces expressed a mixture of curiosity and anger” and yet V fails to be able to sympathise with C despite experiencing otherness for himself. Then V experiences the isolation C suffers “no one was there to soothe me” when he is in prison and when his father arrives V “stretched out to him and cried” mirroring the behaviour of C after his creation, yet Alphonse embraces his parental responsibility.
5. “I saw Elizabeth in the bloom of health…as I imprinted the first kiss on her lips, they became livid with the hue of death…I thought that I held the corpse of my dead mother in my arms” whilst the dream could symbolise the consequences of V’s attempt to bring the dead back to life as though his family are the penalty and are to be forfeited for this, it also foreshadows the death of Elizabeth just before she and V consummate their love and here Elizabeth is paralleled with V’s mother showing that Elizabeth’s fate is set the same and employing the gothic convention of the past encroaching on the present. The dream could also be paralleled to C if we substitute V with him, V’s mother with V as C’s parent figure and Elizabeth with C’s promised companion the female creature and how this act quickly lead to the death of his parent figure.
AO3-Vijay Mishra suggests that Frankenstein offers a “narrative of excessive duplication and reduplication of dreamlike regressions and endless mirroring”
6. V2C4and 5 reflects the main narrative events like V who was too inquisitive Felix is drawn to dangerous case of Turkish merchant “solemn vow to deliver him” “attempts to gain admittance to the prison”-Felix made his family suffer the brunt of what he thought were noble decisions. A link can also be made to Turk as like V he abandons his duty and word but because he distains Christianity “loathed the idea that his daughter should be united with a Christian”.
7. The parallel between C21 and C8 as eye witness testimonies are given against V “about ten o’clock” “it was a very dark night, as the moon had not yet risen” is circumstantial enough to arrest V as with the circumstantial evidence used to condemn Justine “the picture was produced” “she looked very strangely”. V shapes his narrative in cynical terms believing the victim “had apparently been strangled” believing logic and fact will emancipate him from the false accusations “knowing as he had been conversing with several persons in the island he had inhabited about the time that the body had been found”.
8. Walton’s ambitions mirror V’s and at the end, like V, W’s dream fails and W returns feeling “I come back ignorant and disappointed” “blasted by cowardice”—–
AO3-Nora Crook “It is a novel about doubling, shadow selves, split personalities.”
1. C’s description of nature when in his early experiences he was “delighted” by “little winged animals” “pleasant songs of birds” showing an appreciation for bird song and the redemtive power of the natural world. In V2C4 the “genial warmth of spring” is celebrated and C’s admiration and despiration to “discover the lovely feelings” of the DeLacey’s-as spring a time of rebirth approaches.
“these bleak skies I hail, for they are kinder to me than your fellow beings”-exaggeration and personifying the sky which is inanimante ironic as V dehumanizes C that is animate “desert mountains and dreary glaciers are my refuge”-he is adaptable and climatises to nature well. “ate some berries which I had found” “It enlightened my path”———————
2. Nature alleviates C from revenge, he naively feels he can restore his relationship DeLacey’s “The pleasant sunshine, and the pure air of day, restored me to some degree of tranquillity…I could not help believing that I had been too hasty in my conclusions”.
3. C idyll of living with a female creature “We shall make our bed of dried leaves; the sun will shine on us as on man and ripen our food” “vast wilds of South America” “The picture I present to you is peaceful and human”-it links to Rousseau’s nature and echoes the genesis story of Eden paradise but the Adam and Eve story didn’t end whell suggesting C’s ideal cannot be sustained.
4. Shelley creates difference between V and Clerval, V notices “How great the contrast was between us! He was alive to every new scene, joyful when he saw the beauties of the setting sun, and more happy when he beheld it rise and commence a new day” “”This is what it is to live” he cried “How I enjoy existence!””. Clerval depicted and ultimate romantic poet-inspired by beauty and grandeur of nature and encouraged to imagine beyond conventional boundaries. Ironic-C loves his life which will be ended shortly, here appreciation is punished, yet V who often reflects on putting himself out of his misery continues to live-leads us to question which is the worse punishment.
AO3-Dr David Higgins “the creatures biographical narrative presents a microcosm for romantic debate about nature vs culture and encapsulates the novels ambivalent attitude to those debates”
Persuasion of the Creature
1. V2C2 C empowers and honours V with a God-like status “you, my creator”. “But I will not be tempted to set myself in opposition to thee. I am thy creature and I will be enver mild and docile to my natural lord and king” C humbles himself giving V an evelated status, something V clearly sought in him creation of C and affirms fact that C intuitively knows his creator. C ironically assumes moral highground in not wanting to cause conflict “How can I move thee?” also a willingness to negotiate. C uses flattery appleaing to V’s righteousness “implores thy goodness and compassion”. “come to the hut” “Thus I relieve thee” C shows concern for V, ironically offering him comfort and refuge.
2. C reminds V of his duties towards him as a creator and father-figure “thy creature” stressing V’s possession of him “thou art bound by ties only dissoluble by the annihiliation of one of us”-the metaphore reminds him of the paternal bond “thou owest me” “I ought to be thy Adam”. C’s presumptions about his creator that are accurate “Your purpose to kill me” as though they are trully bound by some sort of intuition -doppelganger, and strengthens the bond between them.
3. C is then accustatory “How dare you sport thus with life?” which is ironic as C also takes life, which displays how parents are influential to their children. “Oh praise the eternal justice of man!”-condescending the choices of man.”yet you would, with a satisfied conscience, destroy your own creature” highlights V’s inconsistency and reminds him he is only to blame alluding fact that to kill C would be as wrong as having created C in first place, rythmical balanced clauses highlight V’s contradictions and shows C’s sophisticated use of speach.
4. C assumes control by setting out conditions and ultimatums “Do your duty towards me. and I will do mine towards you and therest of mankind” reminding V of the exent to which his mistake affects the whole of humanity. “If you comply with my conditions…”
5. C also assumes the beastial and ruthless image, ironically whilst trying to present himself as humane enough to be reasoned with, showing his temperamental nature-duality and ambiguity of fluctuating tone “I will glut the maw of death, until it be satiated with the blook of your remained friends” grusome and animalisitc threat.
6. C uses impareatives and injucitives to assume authority “Be calm!” . “Let your compassion be moved and do not distain me” shows C really has control but is only feigning vulnerability to get what he wants.”Listen to my tale” “Listen to me” “listen to me”-repetition of this shows his desperation for his voice to finally be heard-wants validation from another. It echos request V makes of W “Listen until the end of my tale” showing how only those that don’t conform to human standards are ignored. The later C says “You must create a female for me…I demand it of you as a right which you must not refuse” he has a notion of entitlement suggesting he deserves human rights.
7. C attempts to evoke pity from V “Have I not suffered enough” “Life although it may only be an accumulations of anguish”. “I am rather the fallen angel” “everywhere I see bliss, from which I alone am irrevocably excluded” “I was benevolent and good; misery made me a fiend” echoing V’s “I had begun life with benevolent intentions-but this instead draws more sympathy from readers than V which in turn makes readers scorn V. “arm themselves for my destruction” places himself in the role of victim-alludes to the “mob”. C uses hyperbole in persuading for female creature “benevolence..I should return them a hundred and a hundred fold”.
8. C becomes defensive “Life…is dear to me, and I will defend it” ironic because not only does C kill others showing his selfisness that ony his life is sacred, mirroring V’s earlier selfish intentions for creating C, but V was earlier suicidal so C asks permission for a better life from a person that doesn’t even seem to value it. C also reminds V of the physical threat that he poses “my height is superior to thine, my joints more supple” and reminds V of his own folly in the way he created him. “The guilty, are allowed, by human laws…to speak in their own defence before they are condemed” ironic as C caused a situation where Justines defence was rendered meaningless and creditless.
1. There is a parallel between Justine and Elizabeth who was also brought in and raised by the family but later dies which reflects Elizabeth who also abandoned and neglected———————————————-
“My aborrence of this fiend cannot be conceived”
AO3-Anne K Mellor “Mary Shelley conceived of Frankenstein’s creature as an embodiment of the revolutionary French nation, a gigantic body political originating in a desire to benefit all mankind but abandoned by its rightful guardians and so abused by its King, Church and corrupt leaders of the ancient regime that it is driven into an uncontrollable rage-manifested in the blood-thirsty leadership of the Jacobins.
AO3-Dr David Higgins “Victor challenges the boundaries of human foreign being reluctant to embrace the creature or fears about ones self”
Forbidden knowledge
AO4-convention of a typical tragic protagonist whose previous desires then lead to his downfall
“Hear me-let me reveal my tale, and you will dash the cup from your lips”-showing that desire for ambition is poison
AO4- One of the archetypal seekers after forbidden knowledge is the eponymous protagonist of Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus play published in 1604.
AO4-the serpent in Milton’s “Paradise Lost” addresses the tree as the “Mother of Science”
Corruption of innocence
1. “disturbed with profane fingers” “tortured the living animal to animate the lifeless clay” and this links to Rousseau’s theory that “everything degenerates in the hands of man…he disfigures everything…he wants nothing as nature made it not even man” which in a literal sense is when V is doing disrupting and fondling dead corpses and creating a monster “of gigantic stature” “eight feet in height” as if trying to defy nature in every way yet V by rejecting C and those C encounters seem also to have inadvertently caused C’s mental deformation “I had saved a human being from destruction and as a recompose I now writhed under miserable pain” leading to C deciding “I vowed eternal hatred and vengeance to all mankind”.
1. Although V may make it seem as though he had little freedom in creating the monster he “hesitated a long time” went through “difficulty and labour” “impracticability” over “some months” showing that unlike with the creation of the second monster when he was under intense pressure from C, here V had time to consider his actions yet decided to plough on deliberately overcoming the hurdles and difficulties that wen with it. Also the fact V reveals “A new species would bless me as its creator” contradicts his justification of not creating a female creature “a race of devils would be propagated” when V clearly had foresight and even intention for this to happen even before creating the first C. V even goes on to boast “No father could claim the gratitude of his child so completely as I should deserve theirs” so V already knew the sort of obligation and duty he would have to C so it is irrational and bewildering as to why aesthetic appearance should be a considerable enough factor to sever parental responsibility.
2. There seems to be an unknown and uncontrollable force V feels plagues him and this may be the reason behind his actions as when creating C “feeling which bore me onwards like a hurricane” and he said a “frantic impulse urged me forward” under “a passing trance” and a “frantic impulse urged me forward” and during his studies V reflects “destiny was too potent” then in pursuit of C, V says “the spirits that preside over thee” as though there is a possessive force or passion that brought him down such a path.
3. Nature often tries to steer him in the right direct and away from the destructive path “often did my human nature turn with loathing from my occupation” showing he is naturally repulsed in creating C. Then in almost trying to prevent V returning home where C would follow him and kill his family in C6 “snow arrived, the roads were deemed impassable and my journey was retarded”. Yet V ignores the natural signs of his body and surroundings.
4. Readers may condemn V as C felt “sensations of a peculiar and overpowering nature” “unable to bear these emotions”-the fact that C is able to easily develp a sense of empathy is ironic as he’s been abandoned and noone reached out to help him yet V who has love and support finds it hard to sympathise with his creation. Also C stops feeling sympathy when they turn against him yet expects V to feel sypmathy for him when he turns against him and kills.
5. The moon is usually presented as a nurturing and benevolent force so by waiting “until the moon had sunk” C shows that he no longer has the care and compassion be once had. Waiting for moon to go down indicates an element of guilt as though he doesn’t want moon to witness his cruel actions. Loss of C’s innocence, geographical instincts make him more enflamed as he gets closer to V. C’s self-consciously aware of his actions-his individual choice negates parent responsibility “The mildness of my nature had fled, and all within me was turned to gall and bitterness” “The nearer I approached to your habitation, the more deeply did I feel the spirit of revenge”
6. C’s childlike state in killing William “I gazed on my victim, and my heart swelled with exhaultation and hellish triumph, clapping my hands” highlights blame to V who gave C no moral backbone. If he can’t join in life C will take it, parallels V who creates C to help humanity but on realising it’s unsatisfactory turns to destruction.
7. After C’s persuation for a female creature V “was moved” and felt he owed him, yet their is a sense of self-congratulatory tone “creature of fine sensations”. C18 V later calls task of creating fC “unearthly” acknowledging it as unnatural and macarbre.
8. C18 V notices “the presence of my friend could in no way be an impediment, and truly I rejoiced that I should be saved many hours of lonely, maddening reflection”-despite his meloncholy V sees the benefit of having companionship but doesn’t extend this to C and still sees himself as the victim of torment “I was the slave of my creature”.-AO4 resonate the interpretation of class divide, V is uncomfortable with reversal of power-proletariat C assuming position of power and expecting much of former ruling classes.
9. In C19 V says “I was guitless” developing notion of self-perception and self-deception as V contradicts the facts asserted, the blurred sense of self is typical of a gothic protagonist and their distorted justification for their behaviour.
=================”I had an obscure feeling that all was not over” “I had begun life with benevolent intentions” “I was tempted to plunge myself intot the silent lake” “Now I could only answer my father with a look of despair” “I shunned the face of man” “I had commited deeds of mischeif beyond description”. At the end V says “examining my past conduct, nor do I find it blameable” despite being “chained in an eternal hell” which he created
10. The farce of the trial in C21 is exacerbated when V sees identifies Clerval’s body and after being distraught while the “magistrate observed me with a keen eye, and of course drew an unfavourable augury from my manner/2 shows how behaviour can be misinterpreted and blame misapplied, V also says “Have my murderous machinations deprived you/2 which the magistrate takes as further evidence of V’s guilt, like Justine’s false admission of guilt. Yet V is saved when the magistrate intervenes and appeals to Alphonse, the patriarchal structure of well-educated men advocating for each other prevails here.
11. C22 V states “Alas my father” “how little do you know me” Alphonse has no idea of the extent to which his son has transgressed, but V’s tone is accusatory when his the exemplification of fathers who are utterly unreceptive to their progeny. V’s self-delusion and self-pity shown when he makes the parallel “Justine, was as innocent as I” infuriating for readers who are aware V is accountable for events that had befallen his life whereas Justine was epitome of the sacrificed innocent.
—Victors recognition of responsibility is immediately qualified and erased by the quasi-utilitarian and Godwinian idea of the greater, “more paramount” responsibility of the individual to the “common weal”
AO3-William Godwin in Political Justice stated that people were not slaves to their passions, or to their environment, but should use their own reason to conduct their lives.
The theme of whether and the elements.
1. Lightning-references can be made to Luigi Galvani who experimented on animal tissue using electric sparks. Shelleys descriptions match that of her own experience, just like Victor it was the storm that lead to her writing the novel as she, Percy Shelley and Lord Byron passed the time telling and creating ghost stories and the description mirrors letters that Shelley wrote to her sister Fanny in 1816. “The thunder storm that visit us are grander and more terrific than I have ever seen before. We watch them as they approach from the opposite side of the lake, observing the lightning play among the clouds in various parts of the heavens, and dart in jagged figures upon piny heights of Jura…”
2. Ice and Snow-Wlaton is shown to believe that the weather is preparing him for his expedition as he claims that the “cold northern breeze which played upon his cheeks which braces his nerves and fills him with delight” provided him with a “foretaste of those icy climates”. Walton’s presentation of weather shows the elements are encouraging him on his taks to “discover the wondrous power which attracts the needle” yet the excessivley dangerous weather of ice is associated with negative ideals, possible indicative of the dangers of Walton’s excessive ambition to transgress over physical boundaries.
3. Shelley portrays the weather as a warning to the reader as the climate of the “fog” and “snow” are a warning of what the hourney of enlightenment can cause and as such leading to deakness that juxtaposes Walton’s view of the North ole being the land of “eternal light”
4.The weather could be seen as a warning which would inkeep with the romanitcs view of the whether being a benevolent force. As the whether could be seen as preventing Walton reaching the pole and also preventing Victor from reaching C aas “with a mighty shock of an earthquake, it split and creacked witha tremendous and overwhelming sound”.The weather may warn Victor of when the creature is approaching by the storm as in chapter 9 as V progresses up the mountain he “heard the rumbling thunder of the falling avalnche” suggesting danger is approaching yet it is interesting that when C approaches the whether is the same as when V created him reflecting the destructive and violent means so the weather could be punishing V.
5. The weather can be shown to suggest a loss of innocence as Walton believes that his journey with bring “glory” but the weather causes his enterprise to be seen as a failure as the ship was “encompassed by frost and snow”. The lightening experience when “the dazzling light vanished the oak had disappeared and nothing remained but a brunt stump” and when this happend V was “fifteen years old” which he describes as “beautiful” mirroring the later description of the creature.
6. C4 begins with “rain patterned dismally against the pains” and C5 on “a dreary night in november”-pathetic fallacy showing that V creating C will cause him nothing but despair. Then after the creation V was “drenched by rain which poured from a black and comfortless sky” showing natures dissaproval of V’s defiance and violation.
7. The element of water where C looks into “a transparent pool” and was “convinced that he in reality was the monster that he was, he was filled with the bitterest sensations of despondencce and mortification. So the water exposes C to the value of the aesthetic and causes him to “loath” himself but to also understand the reasons behind human prejudice.
8. The sun is alluded to in Walton’s letters as he believes the NP wlll be land of “eternal light”-literally is the sun at the NP but metaphorically Shelley alludes to the hope of enlightenment for Walton but the actual weather is dark and cold and prevents his journey. The notion of dark overtaking light is paralleled by V who seems restored to health by nature in C9 “a scene so beautiful and heavenly” that “bade him weep no more” yet whenver this occurs darkness takes over in the form of rain and storm and metaphorically taking him back to the dark times of creating C. The light offers a false hope for male characters and Shelley shows how light in a character can quickley be overtaken by darkness due to science.
9. Nature reminds us of the childlike innocence C had “light pressed upon his nerves” and he notices “the denial warmth of spring”
The moon typically associated in literature as a nurtuing symbol is shown as it “enlightened C’s path”. It could also be seen as a symbol of enlightenment allowing C to “distinguish between his various senses” so it adopts the mother or father like role. It also reprosents C’s guilt as when he destroys the De Lacey’s cottage he “waited until the moon has sunk to commence his operations” suggesting he doesn’t want the moon to witness his acts. Robert Frost suggested that the moon is representative of Margaret as they are both observers of the events that occur who have “no direct part to play” but offer the characters comfort.
The theme of death and destruction.
1. V destroys the female C fearing she might procreate “a race of devils” however Meller suggests V had alternative motives for this “Victor is ultimatley scrared of the idea of femanine free will, that the female might dare to have a say in her life and not be controlled by the men in her life”
2. Justine’s death was an unjust one where she was sentenced in a male dominated “harsh” and “unfeeling” courtroom so it highlights the patriarchal ruling and the lack of voice females have. The fact that Justine admits false guilt when she is innocent highlights the typical self-sacreficing female often found in literature.-Justine’s trial possibly links to Shelley’s failure to gain legal guardianship of his children by Hamet Westbrook Shelley-even after her death in December 1816 the Court had refused to grant custody to Percy Shelleyawarding Ianthe and Charles Shelley to foster parents which sharpened Shelley’s awareness of the harsh Patriachal ruling court system.
The scene of the death is based on “The Nightmare” by Henry Fuseli, the corpse of Elizabeth is placed in the same position that Fuseli placed his “thrown across the bed, her head hanging down, and her pale and distorted features helf covered by her hair”
Imprisonment and confinement.
1. Confinement to punish
One could argue that C is falsey imprisoned————, exhiled, rebuked———————- and locked out of society then pursued to the death by V for crimes that in light of John Locke’s tabula rusa were more V’s fault than his own.
The journey to the North Pole
1. By Shelley placing the setting of the arctic at the beginning and end of the novel could accentuate the feeling of engulfment and entrapment and the language used “stretched out in every direction, vast and irregular plains of ice, which seemed to have no end” creates a vast imagery which introduces the notion of the sublime.
2. Being so far away from London Walton conveys a tone of melancholy “how slowly time passes here” that comes with being in isolation and this is heightened by Walton’s frequent letters to his sister “September 5th…September 7th…September 12th” as though he is longing to return to civilization.
3. The night before the ship crew spot Victor “the ice broke, and freed their ship”-and the breaking of the ice could represent the end of Walton’s entrapping loneliness once he finds a friend, but it could also show the end of his ambition that like their ship is entrapping him and will lead nowhere-since Victor will tell him a tale that will ward him off his pursuits “deduce an apt moral from my tale”. The ice could also represent Victor who Walton describes to be “broken in spirit” as Victor’s solid ambition and determination to catch the creature finally begins to crumble.
4. Walton and Victor are heading North in an elevated geographical region from the rest of the world which portrays how they both seem magnetised to and gravitate towards danger seek glory as Walton informs his sister “I have read with ardour the accounts of the various voyages …through the seas the surround the pole”.
5. It is ironic that on the ship Victor sees himself as autonomous and in control of his own destiny deciding “He must pursue and destroy the being to whom I gave existence, then my lot on earth will be fulfilled, and I may die” when in actual fact he could not, as much as he wanted to, sustain his body long enough to capture and destroy the monster himself and being stuck in the arctic highlights the fact that truly Victor is just driven wherever nature or his fate takes him.
6. Walton near the end of the novel says “I am surrounded by mountains of ice, which admit of no escape, and threaten every moment to crush my vessel” which portrays that Walton, unlike Victor, is constantly cautious or is at least now more cautious about the dangers around him and has the ability to foresee potential disasters.
7. The fact that Walton experiences such a tormenting loneliness “I felt bitterly the want of a friend” and physical sufferings “braces my nerves” suggests that the trapped state they are in in the arctic could be comparable to a hell like Dante’s description of the ninth inferno and Dante describes this place to be reserved for those who have committed betrayal and that the worst kind of betrayal is a betrayal of God. So it’s appropriate that Victor arrives at place of almost doom or damnation since he has violated God by animating life which God had put to rest and Walton may be there for attempting to reach places beyond human limits and land.
8. Shelley also links the setting to the Ancient Mariner as Walton says he’s in “the land of mist and snow” and Shelley read Coleridge’s “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” when growing up. By doing this Walton creates the idea of the past encroaching on the present when he says “but I shall kill no albatross” as though he aims to amend the mistakes of the past in his own expedition. Yet a link could also be made more closely with Victor and the Mariner who both sacrificed many things to gain glory and respect but their violation of nature is what led them into destruction therefore not only does Walton amend the mistakes of the Mariner but those of Victor.-Yet may argue that although Walton has not killed an albatross he has traversed areas untouched by man and therefore is guilty of violating nature himself.
AO4-Mary Shelley’s first, premature baby died a cot death and there are parallels between V’s being revived on W’s ship and her real dream of rubbing the dead baby by the fire and restoring it to life.
1. Geneva is the place where Victor grows up and it is here that the theme of the absent woman and neglecting father is introduced. Early on in the first chapter Victor tells of his parents meeting because Alphonse’s friend Beaufort got into debt and because he was of “proud and unbending disposition” he took Caroline and went to Lucerne and this led to him “lay(ing) on a bed of sickness, incapable of exertion” and whilst Alphonse almost counteracts this neglectful fathering by taking care of Caroline after Beaufort’s death and substituting the father which he later does also with Elizabeth; it is also in Geneva that Victor fails to help his own son as Victor reflects “If instead of this remark my father had taken the pains to explain to me that the principles of Agrippa had been entirely exploded…I should have certainly thrown Agrippa aside” and because of Alphonse’s failure to do this Victor thrives from these books which seem to nurture and assure his “thirst for knowledge” rather like a father figure should have. Shelley then interjects the “failing father” theme across the rest of the novel as we are told of Clerval’s father eventually allowing Clerval to travel after having been “persuaded”, there is also the neglect of Safie’s father but then Felix intervenes in a heroic father-like way and there is of course Victor as the father figure of the creature abandoning his offspring but then Victor delegates his role of capturing the creature to his would-be successor Walton. So from the initial fathering mistakes in Geneva we see how the repercussions of this can echo across the novel as one father neglects their child leaving the responsibility to another man, and so each child does the same tot the next generation creating a cycle of irresponsibility that is perpetuated by those that repeat same the level of carelessness by which they were reared- therefore this portrays the gothic concept of the past encroaching on the present.
2. Geneva is the where the family is based and because each time Victor returns there his spirits become renewed as Alphonse says Victor “seemed to be returning to himself”. Geneva could be seen as a place for comfort, tranquillity and recuperation. Although one may argue that Victor is the one that leaves his benevolent and empathetic family to seek isolation as his studies “rendered me unsocial”, the family could be the ones that are in confinement. For the most part of the novel the Frankenstein family members remain confined to Geneva, and don’t’ go to visit Victor when he created the creature in Ingolstadt, during his suicidal time in the Alps when he was meeting with the creature and when creating the second creature then when Alphonse does visit Victor in Ireland he dismisses his claims about the creature as Victor notices “he appeared to consider it as the offspring of delirium”. So ironically, the family’s failure to geographically transgress beyond the bounds of their native country has perpetuated the repercussions of Victor’s initial transgression in creating the monster as had they not been in Geneva they could have been helping Victor resolve the issue of the creature or perhaps they wouldn’t have been so easily tracked down and killed in the creatures vengeance.
3. Geneva is the place where William dies hiding in the countryside in “Plainpalais” and this could portray nature snatching him away in return for Victor creating new life-this substitution could reflect the romantic idea that nature works harmoniously and in a pattern.
4. Throughout the first half of 17th century, Geneva faced with terrible epidemics of plague and smallpox, and recurring food shortages, which reduced its population of 16,000 to 12,300 inhabitants and Shelley incorporates this in the novel with the many illnesses that arise in Geneva such as the sickness of Victor’s mother, Elizabeth’s “scarlet fever” and Alphonse’s death from heart-break. Not only does this add an authenticity to the novel but also alludes to the idea of the tragic hero who is plagued by a series of unfortunate circumstances
5. V describes himself as a child being guided by a “silken cord” while this paints a picture of an idyllic family life, in retrospect we might see this choice of words an early hint of the potentially stifling nature of the domestic world. There is certainly some tension here between the softness and ease suggested by “silken and the tightness and restraint associated with “cord”.
1. Ingolstadt is the setting where Victor’s scientific dreams flourish so one could argue that not only is it the birthplace of the creature but also where Victors gothic ideas are conceived “a spark of being” giving birth to an irrational and ruthless version of himself “one hand was stretched out…but I escaped and rushed down stairs”.
2. Here is where the theme of human prejudice is introduced as Victor judges professor M. Krempe to be “an uncouth man” and after Krempe dismisses Victors studies “every instant that you have wasted on those books” Victor calls M. Krempe “a little squat man” “with a gruff voice and a repulsive countenance” almost encouraging readers to feel contempt towards him based on these superficial observations. Prejudice is also portrayed in Victor’s description of the monster as being far from “beautiful” but having “watery eyes”, “yellow skin that scarcely covered the work of muscles” and “dun white sockets” and based on these judgements Victor “escapes” to the courtyard as the creature comes to life. The image created of the creature pertains to the gothic convention of macabre so in the context of the gothic novel readers may forgive Victors initial abandonment.
3.- Is it an awakening for Victor or the start of his mental deterioration?
One could argue that in the face of such terror it is only natural to act in an irrational manner or that Victors fleeing represents his awakening to the reality and dangers of his experiments as Auken established that “a strange and unexpected event awakens the mind and keeps it on the stretch”.
4. Ingolstadt also represents enlightenment not only because of it being the setting for educational development as Victor “made some discoveries in the improvement of some chemical instruments” but also there is enlightenment in the fact that Victor “infuse(d) a spark” into the lifeless creature, therefore the creature’s academic birthplace could signify the creature becoming a rational and thinking being that is later able to contemplate “How can I move thee?” perhaps this reason is even at the expense of his creator symbolised by “my candle was nearly burnt out” who becomes unreasonable and reckless “I sought to avoid
the wretch” and this could link to the doppelganger as one possesses the qualities that the other lacks.
Settings for Victor’s experiements
1. Victor had previously contemplated being able to “banish disease from the human frame” but his visit to the charnel house is when he “tortured the living animal to animate the lifeless clay” and “disturbed with profane fingers… the human frame” so this puts into question whether Victor can as Shelley put it “mock the stupendous mechanism of the creator of the world” much like “The modern Prometheus”-(the novels subtitle) who tried to play God, Shelley introduces the conflict between the aspirations of man the omnipotence of nature and since the novel was written at a time when people were unsure of where the limitations of science should be, it is unclear whether Victor has breached any such boundaries until the creature is brought to life in the laboratory and its physical hideousness manifests natures disapproval and answers the question that Shelley seems to pose-which is more powerful man or nature?
2. The cemeteries are a classic gothic location that can emerge fears within readers and Shelley has Victor accentuate this by saying that in hindsight “his limbs now tremble and his eyes swim with remembrance” encouraging readers to experience the “spine chilling” tale to “curdle the blood and quicken the beatings of the heart” that Shelley intended.
3. Victor states that in his laboratory that his “imagination was too much exalted” and that he “pursued nature to her hiding places”; one may argue that the setting then symbolises the romantic notion of allowing the mind and imagination to wonder boundlessly. Yet the genre of the gothic seems to be more prominent in this setting as Victor paints a gruesome image of “the natural decay and corruption of the human body”.
4. The laboratory setting for the second creature juxtaposes the one for the first creatures. In the first creation Frankenstein was driven by a “frantic impulse” and worked on despite the fact the “candle was nearly burnt out” but in the second creation he mentions that he “had no sufficient light for my employment” and he “remained idle”. In the previous laboratory Victor was “urged on by an eagerness” but the
second time has a time for a “train of reflection” and whilst so arguably
in Victors state of creating the first monster he was driven by a force beyond his control “like a hurricane” he refuses to allow the force of the monster to command his actions in the second creation-here Shelley pertains to the notion of “freewill” creating a dichotomy between the man who determines his own actions and the tragic hero who is driven by an inevitable destiny.
5. There are also signs of Victor’s development in his description of the “half-finished creature” being “scattered on the floor” and how he felt he had almost “mangled the living flesh” and this creates a rather repulsive and macabre image in contrast to Victor’s scientific observation of how “the worm inherited the wonders of the eye”. Victor’s reaction to bodily decay seems more humane the second time and this time he makes sure not to “leave the relics of his work to excite the horror …of the peasants” so readers at this point may feel sorry for Victor because despite his seemingly reformed character, he still has the threat of the monster-his first mistake, looming over him “will be with you on your wedding night”
6. Logic and reality are first put in to question and distorted by Shelley as she contrasts the natural and supernatural in how the creature is brought to life into a liminal state between life and death “straight black lips” and just like the creature is physically deformed “his shrivelled complexion” and overwhelming for the human eye, Shelley creates a monster that overwhelms readers in the way that it was formed “renew life where death had apparently devoted the body to corruption” urging readers to experience an alternative, perhaps more horrific perception of reality. This alludes to the gothic convention of making readers decipher between the probable and the unbelievable and testing how far one will suspend their belief. This is probably something the Shelley herself would have experienced when discussing the perplexing works of Erasmus Darwin and Louigi Galvani before writing the novel.
The De Lacey Cottage
1. The use of the Forest which is a typical gothic setting due to its hidden crevices and ability to enclose and disguise is reflected in the structure of Shelley’s novel as she has Victor’s narration of his time in the forest nestled in the middle of the book and embedded just as the existence of the creature is Victors hidden and terrifying secret.
2. The description the creature recalls of the forest setting alludes to why many critics place the novel in the romantic genre as the creature observes the “huge oak” “the little winged animals” and appreciates the beauty of these things “the blackbird and thrush were sweet and enticing” and the way that it facilitates to his needs and aesthetic experience links to pantheism.
3. This setting is where the creature experiences the early stages of development and he is able to learn from his surroundings “I learned to distinguish between the operations of my various senses” “I felt tormented by hunger” “I ate some berries which I found” “I felt cold and half frightened” “I had covered myself with some clothes”. The stages that the creature goes though are rather like that of a helpless new borne and this supports David Marshall’s assertion that the most horrifying this about the creature is its resemblance rather than difference from human beings.- This could perhaps put into question the essence of humanity and what it is to be human which perhaps calls about the fears that many of those critical of enlightened scientists in the 1800’s might have had because if a few bones, electricity and chemical calculations can create a man-like being then man is not so sacred after all and the elevated and romanticised view of nature is undermined.
4. It is here that the creature discovers how different he looks in comparison to the cottagers as when he “viewed himself in a transparent pool” he saw the “fatal effects of his miserable deformity” so here Shelley introduces the gothic concept of otherness and in a sense validates Victor’s initial reaction to the monster.
5. In the hovel the creature is able to witness the “poverty” of the De Lacey family and was “moved sensibly” by the sacrifices they made for
De Lacey which led him to “collecting wood for the family fire”. These acts of kindness and compassion convey the fact that the monster was not inherently evil but simply a “blank slate” as John Locke asserts, coloured by his surroundings. However when the creature enters the cottage, crossing the boundaries between the alienated and the accepted, the socially unacceptable and the civilized, he experiences rejection yet again as on meeting the cottagers “Agatha fainted” “Safie…rushed out” and Felix “dashed him to the ground and stuck him violently” then later after saving a drowning girl a man “aimed a gun…at his body and fired”. So the creature’s attempt to attain a better quality of life with humans could allude to political interpretations of the novel with the humans being the content Bourgeois refusing to yield to those of a lower class (here the monster is of an inferior appearance) who just like the kind instances of the monster, have been working for the benefit of them as well.
6. The experience of the monster in the Forest could also link to Rousseau’s idea that a child or “the orphan” raised in the seclusion of the countryside and not contaminated by external cultural factors becomes a more autonomous and authentic human as the creature only became malicious after the vicious treatment he got from the humans as after the shooting he “vowed eternal hatred and vengeance to all mankind”. This dichotomy of society vs. seclusion puts into question which one Shelley is supporting, the novel itself was written by Shelley in a secluded cottage in Geneva with nothing but continuous rain so she might be supporting Rousseau’s theory by showing the natural innocence of what Rousseau called “the self-made man” and how society can corrupt this, or alternatively, Shelley may be highlighting the consequences of seclusion and how this fails to prepare a person for when they inevitably join mainstream culture and civilization.
The Alps
1. The setting of the Alps is where Victor goes to grieve his mistakes and to confront them “Dear mountains!”…How do you welcome your wonderer?” and it is here that he has the epiphany that the creature killed William “He was the murderer!” so it almost links with or enables Victors intuition.
2. The setting in the Alps is something that allows Victor to recuperate “By degrees the calm and heavenly scene restored me” linking to the romantic notion that humans can be renewed by the power of nature and that man has an innate connection to nature.
3. Victor thrives in settings that facilitate and feed his curiosity and intellectual ability as in his laboratory he was “so deeply engrossed” whereas the creature thrives in the countryside surrounded by nature that he easily adapts to “you will feel the feel the misery of cold and frost, to which I am impassive”. So it is the folly of Victor that the epic battle between creator and creation has been manifested on physical level where the creature clearly has the advantage and that Victor seems to almost put aside his rationality in pursuit of this one aim “overcome by hunger, sunk under exhaustion”.
4. Victor also has the advantage that he is within society; he is accepted and even cherished by those around him “friends who love you dearly”. But he seems to squander this advantage “rendered unsocial” that perhaps could have made him more powerful from the creator who later learns he has to flee from humans in their numbers “the whole village was roused, some fled, some attacked me” using “stones and many other kinds of missile weapons”. Victor is too blind sighted by individuality-which is accentuated by the fact that he chooses to go to these mountainous locations by himself, seeking glory for himself alone, when he doesn’t need to in facing the monster since loneliness and singleness is the Creatures biggest weakness but rather unnecessarily, Victor makes it his also.
5. The scenery in the Alps creates the feeling of the sublime which Edmund Burke describes to be “Whatever is fitted in any sort of excite the ideas of pain and danger” so the description of the grand mountains “immense mountains and precipices that overhang me” the “river raging” and the waterfall that “spoken of a power mighty as omnipotence” “thick mist hid the summits” creates a feeling of awe despite the terrifying danger that it presents so it demonstrates how Victor is often drawn towards things that are grand and threatening. It also puts into perspective the minuteness of mankind and how they can be dwarfed by the overwhelming complexities and grandeur of nature-thus Shelley uses that Alps to almost mock the aspirations of Victor who thought he could match the omnipotent works of nature.
6. The Alps also represents the fact that Victor often tries to escape his problems and although he goes there in a way to find peace and solace from his mistakes in fact the scenery could torment him further with its beauty and harmony juxtaposing “Is this to prognosticate or to mock at my unhappiness?” his internal conflict and disorder.
The Courtrooms
1. The Court setting could represent the patriarchal ruling allowing women to become the subordinates within a male ruling. Despite the quality of evidence brought forth to condemn Justine being poor “she looked very strangely” “The picture was produced” and the very moving and passionate statement given by Elizabeth “she appeared to me the most amiable and benevolent of human creatures” she is still found guilty demonstrating how the male dominated court can mute the female voices which links to the French revolution when those in charge committed acts of injustice simply to maintain the status quo.
2. The court introduces the idea of one paying the penalty for another person’s debts “would have confessed myself guilty of the crimes ascribed to Justine”-Not only does Victors family pay the price for his mistake but Victors mistake (the creature) pays the price of Victor’s loyalty to his family.
3. Justine says she “rests her innocence on a plain and simple explanation of the facts which would have been adduced before me” which is ironic because Victor says that if he was to tell the truth or give the facts of having created the monster it “would have been considered as the ravings of a madman” so it seems that truth rewards punishment and that the withholding of the truth leads to injustice-thus highlighting the corruption of the biased court system.
4. The idea of selectiveness is portrayed in the courtroom as in recalling her whereabouts Justine mentioned that while she sleeping she heard “some steps that disturbed her” Shelley hints at the fact that she was not alone and that another person-who we later realise to be the creature was present. But this crucial piece of evidence is overlooked by the court and witnesses “due to fear and hatred of the crime”. This parallels Victor who also looks selectively at the monster calling him “wretch” “devil” and “fiend” but failing to look into the evidence of the cause of the creatures behaviour because he is too appalled and blind sighted by his horrific crimes “the tortures of hell are too mild a vengeance for thy crimes” “Begone! I will not hear you.”
5. By Elizabeth giving a “simple and powerful appeal” in defence of Justine whilst Victor self-pityingly whilst Victor the truly blameable one remains silently observing Justine’s “countenance” serves to highlight Victors true cowardice and Victor’s conceitedness which is also exposed when he says “The tortures of the accused did not equal mine” establishing the reoccurring instances where Victor feels he can measure and calculate the degree of sufferings of another to enable him to make a moral or rational decision- rather like Godwin’s enlightenment belief that humans can use a “moral arithmetic” .
6. The courtroom setting where Victor is tried in Ireland seems to juxtapose the trial of Justine in Geneva, possibly further demonstrating the patriarchal rulings that favour the men but dismiss alibies of women as Victor gives little account for his actions “motionless and speechless”
7. In the Court scene we come to question whether Victor is such a tragic hero since such a hero is characterised by one that struggles mightily against their fate. Yet in the Genevan court he puts up no struggle at all but is passive, leaving it to the equally as innocent Elizabeth to “address the court” for Justine and after the trial in Ireland he seems to want to escape his miseries and die “I am sorry that I am still alive” and rather his circumstances and fate seem to amount in his favour here as it was proven that he was “on the Orkney Islands at the hour the body…was found”. Therefore perhaps a more “tragic” hero would be Justine who after fighting against the incriminating evidence was executed or even the creature who fought so much to be accepted by humanity but fails this struggle and dies.
The hotel suite
1. Instead of spending the night romantically with Elizabeth, Victor spends it on-edge anticipating the creature coming to fulfil his promise by “walking up and down the passages of the house” ironically, although Victor says he has a greater duty to his own “follow-beings” he often chooses to pursue that course of the creature at the expense of being with his family.-this makes readers question whether Victor is trying to capture the monster to protect him family or whether this is just another one of his excessive ambitions and he is in search of another victory and self-satisfaction.
2. This setting marks what could be considered as Victor’s nadir as he has become paranoid and just as fearful as the creature wanted him to be “a thousand fears arose in my mind” “every sound terrified me” so although ever since the creation of the creature Victor had always seemed to have a greater power since he had the ability to offer the creature companionship, in the Villa it seems that the roles have reversed ironically fulfilling the creatures earlier declaration-“You are my creator but I am your master-obey!”
3. The image Shelley creates of Elizabeth “thrown across the bed, her head hanging down, and her pale and distorted features half covered by her hair” resembles the painting called “The Nightmare” by John Fuseli which Shelley had seen where the woman in the foreground of the picture is in is thrown across the bed in the same manner suggesting a carelessness in the murder. The painting also has a horse peering into the room smiling and a gremlin sat on the woman’s abdomen so there’s an ambiguity as to who Victor and the monster would be out of the gremlin and the horse since both of them contribute to her death.
Aesthetic beauty and superficiality, abnormality and prejudice.
1. The importance of physical beauty is emphasised as Elizabeth attracts Caroline far more than the other four children in her family those “dark-eyed little vagrants_ and her golden hair seems to set a “crown of distinction on her head”. There is religious imagery that colours Victor’s descriptions of Elizabeth “celestial” “heaven sent”-defines her as a spiritual rather than physical being and in this sense the antithesis of the creature.
2. Shelley is illustrating the influence of judgment based on physical appearance as DeLacey doesn’t reject C intitally and perceives no threat. One he has the eyes of Felix enabling him to see, he too abhors C in spite of their appearent goodness they are no more prepared to accept and odity into their lives —————————. C later says to V that “human senses are insurmountable barriers to our union”. Shelley demonstrates prejudice in the form of a humanist cri-de-coeur.
3. W description of C doesn’t seem as horrific as V’s as W describes him as having a “gigantic stature” “distorted in its proportions” and only “shut my eyes involuntarily” and felt a “mixture of curiousity and compassion” on approaching the “tremendous being” suggesting that C had exaggerated V’s odd appearance in order to make him feel more of an other, Shelley presents the ways that otherness does not always have to mean outcast or threat but could also be interesting and appealing.
AO4-Originally the term “monster” merely meant “large”. The English dictionary defines monster to be “An imaginary creature, usually large and frightening, compounded of incongruous elements”
AO4-In Mary Wollstonecraft’s “A Historical and Moral View of the Origin and Progress of the French Revolution” she blamed it on the arrogance of the French aristocracy who “bewildered in a thick fog of prejudices” and could not discern “the true dignity of man”.
Chris Bond “Victor’s sole regret, and the solution to all the problems in the novel, is that he did not create an aesthetically pleasing being”
AO3-Robert Frost “It is always interesting to note how closely Victor’s conscience and his ability to produce moral judgements are tied to his sense of sight. One look at the monster’s grimace is enough to convince him of “the utmost extent of its malice and treachery”
1. C18 V’s psychological trauma and expectation of the worst reveals a more knowing V than in first creation “waited for my letters with feverish impatience; if they were delayed I was miserable and overcome by a thousand fears”, delay adds to horror and V’s heightend anxiety suggests paranoia and frenzied nature characteristics evident in creation of C but now focused on destruction.
AO3-Anna Letitia Aikin”The more wild, fanciful, and extraordinary are the circumstances of a scene of horror, the more pleasure we can receive from it, and where there are too near common nature, though violently borne by curiosity through the adventure, we cannot repeat it or reflect on it, without an over-balance of pain”
AO3-David Marshall-the most horrifying thing about the creature, for Victor and for others, is his “resemblance rather than his difference from human beings”
AO3-Bernard O’Keefe “Gothic narratives place the reader in that liminal state between our real world and the world of imagined fears and horrors.”
AO4-Mary Shelley was holidaying at Lake Geneva with her husband, Percy, and their friends Lord Byron and John Polidori Byron challenged the group to a ghost story competition.
Anna Letitia Aikin “A strange and unexpected event awakens the mind and keeps it on the stretch; and where the agency of invisible beings is introduced…our imaginations, darting forth, explores with rapture the new world which is laid open to its view, and rejoices in the expansion of powers. Passion and fancy co-operating elevate the soul to its highest pitch; and the pain of terror is lost in amazement”
Entering secret rooms becomes a metaphor for female sexuality as in “Jane Eyre” and the Red Room.
C in symbiotic union with his creator
The French Revolution was still in most people’s memories and for those born later, it held an important place in their consciousness, either as hope for reform or fear of the people.
Mary Shelley was a republican and not radical, she was an evolutionary rather than revolutionary and feared a bloody revolution like the French one would occur in England. The novel can be seen as an anti-Jacobinical tract with the Monster representing all that the social order most deeply feared and resented.
Godwin raised Mary and Fanny surrounded by philosophers and poets, such as Coleridge and Lamb.
The novels subtitle is “The modern Prometheus” about a man who stole fire and gave it to humanity.
Shelley wrote the novel on a holiday in Switzerland when the whether was poor so there was landscapes inspiring the sublime. They read ghost stories and were challenged to write a scary story each. They discussed Louigi Galavani and Erasmus Darwin and their scientific experiments on human life.
Anne K. Mellor “Victor Frankenstein violently reasserts a male control over the female body; penetrating and mutilating the female creature at his feet in an image that suggests a violent rape “trembling with passion, I tore to pieces the thing on which I was engaged” “The remains of the half-finished creature, whom I had destroyed, lay scattered on the floor, and I almost felt as if I had mangled the living flesh of a human being” Frankenstein’s “passion” is here revealed as a fusions of fear, lust, and hostility, a desire to control and even destroy female sexuality” “Uninhibited female sexual experience threatens the very foundation of patriarchal power” “Mary Shelley endorsed a traditional mimetic aesthetic that exhorted literature to imitate ideal Nature and defined the role of the writers as a moral education. Her novel purposefully identifies moral virtue…Shelley’s ethical norm as an aesthetic norm”
Nora Crook “Frankenstein is a critique of male mastery: it is not so much about a woman’s fear of breeding monsters as about masculine usurpation of the feminine” “Are Victor and his Creature simply machines subject to immutable laws governing mind and matter?”
Margaret Walton Saville has the same initials as author Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley.

Frankenstein is read as a paradigm of the French Revolution, with C an emblem of this multitude or Bonaparte, or revolutionary energy, V’s dream of creating anew race of beings in analogous to the utopianism that followed the fall of the Bastille. But a new social order based on liberty, equality and fraternity yields to its nightmare: was and fratricide or which the philosophe class must take some responsibility for because of its lack of foresight and its misguided zeal.
The pacing is described as “the accelerated rapidity of a rock rolled down a mountain” by P.B Shelley hurries readers into feeling that the catastrophe is the inevitable result of a chain of previous causes.
Terry Lovell “The reader cannot be certain whether Frankenstein is a marvellous tale governed by a causality outside present scientific knowledge-an instance of the “scientific marvellous”-or a tale spun out of paranoid delusion and severe sense of deprivation”
Some critics have extended this analysis to see in Frankenstein a political allegory pointing to the neglect and exploitation of the new labouring class brought into being for, and effectively “monsterised” by, the emerging forces of modern capitalism.
The novel may be read as engaging with Romanitcism as Victor is an arch-individualist, unconcerned with the social and domestic life who seeks transcendence through his “art”. V might be in search of the ultimate sublime in pursuit of self-fulfilment through power over nature.
Margaret Homans connects Frankenstein and Wordsworth both men “read nature to impose on it apocalyptic patterns of meaning that destroy it”
Graham Allen “Victor’s dream demonstrates that within him lies a similar blurring and disruption of apparently natural and logical categories” “Shelley’s monster is something new in the world of literature, a being which disturbs the very categories by which we make logical sense of the world: reality and fantasy, being and not being, life and death, natural and constructed, organic and artificial, animate and inanimate” “There is an uncanny, radically disturbing possibility that the creature’s eyes are just eyes, lacking that metaphorical connection to enlightenment and insight that would make them organs of comprehension”
The narrative is itself a journey which begins where it must end; a circular form, emphasising the destructive futility that is one of the novel’s central themes.

“the world was to me a secret which I desired to divine”-V’s true desire to gain divine knowledge of the world consequently substituting himself for the divine entity.
“Denying God as the sole creator of man “No father could claim the gratitude of his child so complelty as I should deserve theirs”
V is not content with being less than the epitome of overreachers “like the archangel who aspired to omnipotence” “From my infancy I was imbued with high hopes and a lofty ambition”
Genevan society is founded on a rigid division of sex roles: the male inhabits the public sphere,the female is relegated to the private or domestic sphere. Women are confined to the home, E is not allowed to travel with V “regretted that she had not the same opportunities of enlarging her experience and cultivating her understanding” and inside the home women are kept as a kind of pet “loved to tend” on E, “as I should have a favourite animal”
Intellectual activity is segregated from emotional activity. V cannot do scientific research and think lovingly of E and his family at the same time “forget those friends who were so many miles absent, and whom I had not seen for a long time”. Because V cannot work and love at the same time, he fails to feel empathy for C he is contructing and callously made him eight feet tall simply because “the minuteness of the parts formed a great hinrance to my speed”
C says “I heard of the division of property, of immense wealth and squalid poverty;…I learned that the possessions most esteemed…were high and unsullied descent united with riches” “Was man, indeed, at once so powerful, so virtuous, and magnificent, yet so vicious and base?”
The De Lacey family represents an alternative ideology: a vision of a social group based on justice, equality, and mutual affection”-an ideal derived from Shelley’s mother’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman.
Safie presents an alternative to the typically passive woman as her mother instructed her “to aspire to higher powers of intellect, and an independence of spirit, forbidden to the female followers of Mahomet” she could be seen as the incarnation of Mary Wollstonecraft in the novel. Wollstonecraft also travelled alone through Europe and Scandinavia and advocated that women be education to be the “companions” of men and be permitted to participate in the public realm by voting, working outside the home and holding political office
When Safie flees with the De Lacey family, we as readers are deprived of the novel’s only alternative to a rigidly patriarchal construction of gender and sex roles, just as Mary Shelley herself was deprived of a feminist role-model when her mother died and was denounced by public press.
“my heart often sickened at the work of my hands…my spirits became unequal; I grew restless and nervous”
Evoking this image reflecting Fuseli’s painting, in E’s death Shelley altered us to what V fears most; his brides sexuality”
Nature pursues V with the very electricity he has stolen “a spark of being”: lightning, thunder, and rain rage around him.
“I now felt as if a film had been taken from before my eyes, and that I, for the first time, saw clearly” these statements about eyes allow us to register how profoundly the novels emphasis on the organs of sight relate to issues of reason and interpretation.
Shelley disagrees with Godwin’s enlightenment belief that human beings can rationally develop a “moral arithmetic”
V says Fc “in all probability was to become a thinking reasoning animal” echoing Wollstonecraft’s critique of all those male writers and social institutions that deny women possess the same rational faculty as men.
It is fitting that Walton’s only-just-beginning journey should be interrupted by Frankenstein’s never-ending pursuit. Shelley uses the extremity of her landscapes to build up the psychological profile of her characters.
It would be an ironic twist to the story if the monster did in fact go on to reach the North Pole, whilst his two enemies, rejecters and insiders turn away from him, the otherness that possesses the faculties that they most ardently desire.
V’s destruction of the female C was not the result of a rations decision. The language used is highly emotive. Filled with a “sensation of madness” and “trembling with passion”.
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