Frankenstein when Victor describes his creation: “His
Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus is a masterpiece of Mary Shelley. She writes it when she was only eighteen years old. The novel examines the themes of loneliness and social rejection as the author presents a notable character to Victor Frankenstein, the monster, and Robert Walton. The aim of this essay is to analyze the themes of loneliness and social rejection by symbols and other literary devices, which show the agony and loses as the three characters experience these feelings. Mary Shelley uses imagery, irony, and symbolism that set up the themes. The themes of loneliness and social rejection are shown through imagery as the monster, Victor, and Robert experience how the society casts them.
The monster horrendous appearance makes the society disgusts him that even his creator, which is Victor get terrified upon seeing him. This is seen when Victor describes his creation: “His yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath; his hair was of a lustrous black and flowing; his teeth of a pearly whiteness; but this luxuriance only formed a more horrid contrast with his watery eyes, that seemed almost of the same colour as the dun-white sockets in which they were set, his shriveled complexion and straight black lips” (Shelley 42). The monster’s strange physical appearance makes the society to be terrorized, mistreat and reject him. It becomes his main barrier as the people use to judge the outward appearance without looking at its inner surface.As it happens, not only the creation experiences the rejection and loneliness but also his creator, Victor Frankenstein.
He has this eagerness to learn science that resulted in creating the monster. It is his way of shaking off the loneliness and other negative feelings which is seen when he is creating the monster: “My cheeks had grown pale with study … and the moon gazed on my midnight labors while with unrelaxed and breathless eagerness … My limbs now tremble and my eyes swim with the remembrance … my eyeballs were starting from their sockets on attending to the details of my employment” (Shelley 39). As it shows the process of how he creates the monster, Victor’s knowledge of science and his hunger to create a human, give him the power that results in loss and death of his family because of his carelessness to his creation. Also, his obsession with scientific knowledge separates him from his social life, as he is the one who isolates himself from everything.In addition, Robert Walton has also the desire for knowledge that makes him explore and reach the North Pole: “I feel a cold northern breeze play upon my cheeks, which braces my nerves and fills me with delight. Do you understand this feeling? This breeze, which has traveled regions towards which I am advancing, gives me a foretaste of those icy climes. Inspirited by this wind of promise, my daydreams become more fervent and vivid” (Shelley 1). As Robert Walton chases his dreams and discovering new places, his knowledge and place leave him a gap between his shipmates as he thinks that his shipmates are too uneducated to share his dreams and feelings.
In brief, the three male characters express and build the themes through their senses which give vivid and real imagination to the reader. Moreover, Shelley also uses irony to show how the three male characters are seeking for companionship to build relationships, so that they can connect their feelings and thoughts. The monster does not choose to look horrible and get rejected.
He feels unconnected and seeks companionship and understanding from human society and Victor which is seen: I endeavored to crush these fears and to fortify myself for the trial which in a few months I resolved to undergo; and sometimes I allowed my thoughts, unchecked by reason, to ramble in the fields of Paradise, and dared to fancy amiable and lovely creatures sympathizing with my feelings and cheering my gloom; their angelic countenances breathed smiles of consolation. But it was all a dream; no Eve soothed my sorrows nor shared my thoughts; I was alone. (Shelley 111)The monster feels alone and is looking for a living creature that will give the care and understanding, which his creator and the society have not given to him. *** Not only the monster is seeking companionship but also Robert Walton. He mourns the absence of a friend in his life.
This is seen when he is updating his sister through a letter: But I have one want which I have never yet been able to satisfy, and the absence of the object in which I now feel as a most severe evil. I have no friend, Margaret when I am glowing with the enthusiasm of success, there will be none to participate my joy, if I am assailed by disappointment, no one will endeavour to sustain me in dejection… I desire the company of a man who could sympathize with me, whose eyes would reply to mine. (Shelly 4)Robert Walton cannot find a companion in his shipmates because of his position.
He shows his depression as he has no one to share his feelings, no one can relate to him because of his knowledge. The knowledge that separates him from his mates. On the other hand, Victor is stuck with his emotions as he receives a letter from his father about his brother’s death, William. This is seen when Victor is on his way home: “My journey is melancholy. At first, I wished to hurry on, for I longed to console and sympathize with my loved and sorrowing friends; but when I drew near my native town, I slackened my progress. I could hardly sustain the multitude of feelings that crowded into my mind” (Shelley 58). Victor is questioning himself how his brother died, questions that have filled his mind which causes him to return home slow. It is so mysterious to him.
The punishment that Victor faces in being blinded in creating and not understanding the monster is the loss of happiness, downfall, and destruction of his family. Furthermore, Mary Shelley uses irony that keeps the reader intrigued as far as the themes are concerned. It also helps as the story becomes more interested and the three male characters experience such struggles just to feel connected. Other than imagery and irony, Shelley also uses objects as a symbol that represents the themes. To prove it, as the monster is looking for his mate, the symbolism of window often take place when this happens. This is seen when Victor is working on the female monster that he and his creation’s deal up, while the monster is watching him through the window: “I trembled and my heart failed within me, when, on looking up, I saw by the light of the moon the demon at the casement. A ghastly grin wrinkled his lips as he gazed at me, where I sat fulfilling the task which he had allotted to me” (Shelley 145).
Victor realizes that creating the female monster is one of the ways to make sure the safeness of his family. Apparently, he thinks that the female monster might cause more conflicts and struggles rather than it will solve. Likewise, the monster feels inspired and envy at the same time by the De Lacey family, as he sees the care and love that they have for each other. This is seen when monster observes the De Lacey family through a window:I have found that one of the windows of the cottages had formerly occupied a part of it, but the panes have filled up with wood … He raised her and smiled with such kindness and affection that I felt sensations of peculiar and overpowering nature.
They were a mixture of pain and pleasure, such as I had never before experienced, either from hunger or cold, warmth or food, and I withdrew from the window, unable to bear these emotions. (Shelley 89)Through the De Lacey family, the monster learns how a family should be. The way how the De Lacey family love, care and support each other despite their poor situation.
The window shows importance and significance to the monster as he watches Victor creating his female mate and observes the De Lacey family.