Themes of Frankenstein (technically motifs) Flashcard Example #37542

Family, Society, Isolation
True evil is isolation not Victor or the monster.
Victor becomes lost in his studies cutting all ties to society.
Loses sight of his responsibilities and the consequences of his actions.
The monster turns vengeful because of isolation filling him with hate and anger.
Ambition and Fallibility
Frankenstein portrays humans as being deeply ambitious yet deeply flawed.
Victor and Walton dream of changing society and bring glory.
Their ambitions are fallible.
Blinded by dreams of glory they fail to consider the consequences of their actions.
Victor becomes a god, a creator, yet highlights his fallibility.
Walton at least turns back before getting himself and his crew killed.
Walter is angry that he was robbed of glory.
People rushing to raise themselves up in glory above the society are in fact rash and “Unfashioned creatures” with “Weak and faulty natures”
Romanticism and Nature
Nature is portrayed as the greatest and most perfect force in the universe.
Words such as “sublime” are used to convey unfathomable power and flawlessness.
The implication is that human being, weighed down by petty concerns and countless flaws such as vanity and prejudice.
Victor in his pride attempts to discover the “mysteries of creation,” to “pioneer a new way” by penetrating the “citadel of nature”
Nature prevails in the end and Victor is destroyed for his misguided attempt to manipulate its power.
Revenge
The monster begins his life warm and open hearted.
He is abandoned and mistreated by Victor and then the De Lacey family, turning him towards revenge.
It has been hurt by the unfair rejection of humanity and cannot see past its own prejudices.
The monster says when Felix attacks it and flees with the rest of the De Lacey family “…feelings of revenge and hatred filled my bosom…and I bent my mind towards injury and death”
He will never be accepted by human society
Taking revenge the monster eliminates any hope of acceptance.
Victor swears revenge after the monster murders his relatives.
He vows “a great and signal on the monster’s cursed head”
The very human desire for revenge transforms both Victor and the monster.
Prejudice
Ever human in the novel has assumed the monster is dangerous, even though the monster is innocent (at first).
Again and again the monster finds himself assaulted and rejected by entire villages and families.
The violence and prejudice he encounters convinces him of the “barbarity of man”.
The blind man is the only one who accepts the monster. (humanity is blinded by their own prejudice)
Lost Innocence
Victor starts as a young man excited to behind at his university.
He aims to explore “unknown powers”
His success in finding the “mysteries of creation, ” he ends his own innocence.
He creates a monster that reflects back to him the many flaws in his own species.
Victor’s cruel “un-innocent” behavior also destroys the monster’s innocence.
Victor and the monsters losses of innocence ultimately lead to the deaths of William, Justine, Elizabeth, and Clerval.
Four characters who are portrayed as being kind and innocent.
Innocence is suggested to be fleeting.
Light
Light symbolizes enlightenment in Frankenstein.
Walton expects to find the secrets of the universe unveiled in the North Pole, which he describes as “a country of eternal light”
Light is associated with all of Victor’s epiphanies.
When he discovered natural philosophy he believes a new light seemed to dawn upon him.
When he discovers life he describes a sudden light broke in upon him.
He envisions a “torrent of light into our dark world” through his creation a new species.
Yet light that’s too bight is also blinding and both Victor and Walton fail to see or consider the dangerous consequences of their quest for enlightenment.
Fire
Prometheus was the titan who gave the knowledge of fire to humanity.
He suffered severe punishment at the hands of the Gods for his generous actions.
Victor attempts to give the gift of the secret of life to humanity, but ends up suffering grave punishments as a result: the monster he creates destroys his family and his life.
There appears throughout the novel as a dangerous force used for sustenance.
Described when the monster burns himself during his first encounter with a fire (camp).
And punishment when the monster describes suffering in the lake of fire in hell.

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