Below is a complete analysis of Mary Shelley’s first novel Frankenstein which is one of the Gothic texts being studied at English A2. I will be going through the book in chronological order looking at the most important quotes and their meanings (with page numbers. If the quote has no page number, take the page number of the previous quote(s) and it will be on the same page as that). Feel free to skip to the parts most relevant to you.
Frankenstein or, The Modern Prometheus
- By Shelley naming Frankenstein as ‘The Modern Prometheus’ makes clear it is a novel about trying to gain Godly-like powers and getting punished for transgressing for such powers.
- Prometheus was a demi-God (half Greek man / half God) that stole fire from heaven and gave it to human beings as a gift. He was punished by the Gods for doing this and was chained to a rock so that an Eagle could peck out his liver. He was immortal so every time the Eagle pecked out his liver, it would grow back and he would have to go through the pain of it being pecked out. Prometheus is linked with fire. Frankenstein is linked with lightning as that is what ultimately gives life to the monster.
- Under ‘The Modern Prometheus’, there is ‘Did I request thee, Maker, from my clay To mould me mass? Did I solicit thee From darkness to promote me? – Paradise Lost’. Paradise Lost is another novel where Adam questions God to why he made him if he was to be so lonely without anyone else to interact with. This relates to the monster who hates his creator (Frankenstein) for making him.
- The narration starts with letters from Walton to his sister about an exploration trip to the North Pole.
- When Walton meets Frankenstein who is helped onto Walton’s ship, he takes over the narrative from Walton and tells his story.
- When the monster meets Frankenstein in Frankenstein story, the monster takes over as the narrator.
- After the monster finishes his story, the narration goes back to Frankenstein.
- The narration then goes back to Walton.
- The start of the novel has the setting of the North Pole. This novel was created in the early 1800s. Therefore, the North Pole would have been viewed as an unknown area that is strange, weird and possibly even where God might be.
- Walton is pursing a scientific truth just like Frankenstein is.
- The vocabulary uses is wide. This makes clear that Walton is well educated. For example, read the first sentence of the novel and it’s vocabulary P15 ‘You will rejoice to hear that no disaster has accompanied the commencement of an enterprise which you have regarded with such evil forebodings’.
- P15 ‘I am already far north of London’. The setting is going to be as far away from normal life as possible (isolation – Gothic).
- ‘the sun is for ever visible’. This is the symbol for light, electricity and fire. Walton is on the quest for the six month daylight (as that is what happens at the North Pole).
- ‘attracts the needle’ – Walton is in pursuit of the magnetic pole.
- P16 ‘may tread a land never before imprinted by the foot of man’ – He wants to go nowhere no man has gone which is what Frankenstein also does.
- ‘the inestimable benefit which I shall confer on all mankind to the last generation’ – Walton believes his journey will bring great benefit to the human race (which, of course, links in with Frankenstein).
- P19 ‘I have no friend, Margaret’ – The theme of loneliness is explored early on. This is because the North Pole is an isolated and desolate setting.
- P20 ‘He is an Englishman, and in the midst of national and professional prejudices, unsoftened by cultivation, retains some of the noblest endowments of humanity’ – There is tension between the English and the continent (French). This can bring the point forward that Frankenstein is a foreigner as he is Swiss. The reader will have fear of foreigners as Frankenstein causes evil things.
- P21 ‘I am going to unexplored regions to ‘the land of mist and snow’; but I shall kill no albatross’ – This is a reference to Coleridge’s Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner. Shelley is connecting her story with the story of a man who goes wrong and gets punished and regrets it.
- P24 ‘What can stop the determined heart and resolved will of man?’ – Shelly uses this in an ironic way. The same thing can be said to Frankenstein: he is determined where nothing can stop him (but, he is doing the wrong thing). You can also compare this to Doctor Faustus too.
- P25 There are lots of quotes that describe the isolated Gothic theme, ‘surrounded by ice which closes in the ship on all sides’, ‘thick fog’, ‘the mist’, ‘vast and irregular plains of ice’, ‘he was lost among the distant inequalities of the ice’ and ‘many hundred miles from any land’.
- ‘the shape of a man, but apparently of gigantic stature’. This is the first sight of the monster.
- P27 ‘I never saw a more interesting creature, his eyes have generally an expression of wildness, and even madness’ – This is the first description of Victor Frankenstein. Sometimes, madness is a punishment for evil (which could be why Frankenstein is described as mad).
- ‘But he is generally melancholy and despairing’ – Frankenstein is depressed which builds tension, drama and is foreshadowing: why is he depressed?
- ‘Have you drunk also of your intoxicating draught?’ – Frankenstein is drunk and mad. This brings a risk and danger to his scientific progress.
- P29 is an important part to the novel’s structure because it is the part where the reader realises Frankenstein is going to take over Walton’s narration, ‘let me reveal my tale, and you will dash the cups from your lips!’. Frankenstein starts his narration at the start of Chapter I.
- P31 ‘I imagine that you may deduce an apt moral from my tale’ – Frankenstein is saying that you can learn something from his mistake.
- P32 ‘Strange and harrowing must be his story, frightful the storm which embraced the gallant vessel on its course and wrecked it – thus!’ – This is Frankenstein foreshadowing the story he is about to tell. The shipwreck he describes is a metaphor to describe Frankenstein’s life.
- We get a first glimpse of Frankenstein’s upbringing in Chapter I. His family consists of Elizabeth, his sister who is adopted and beautiful and Caroline who is his mother that is caring and loyal to their dying father and is beautiful in character.
- P34 ‘His daughter attended him with the the greatest tenderness’ – Elizabeth is caring in nature.
- P35 ‘He strove to shelter her, as a fair exotic is sheltered by the gardener, from every rougher wind’ – This botanical imagery. Exotic plants need to be cared for more than normal plants. This is also used in a structural way in the sense that women are vulnerable in the novel.
- P36 ‘a being heaven-sent, and bearing a celestial stamp in all her features’ – Elizabeth is described like an angel. This links in with with Prometheus and the fire from heaven: Elizabeth is good.
- ‘fairer than a garden rose among dark-leaved brambles’ – Foreshadowing the character of Elizabeth.
- P37 ‘Elizabeth Lavenza became the inmate of my parent’s house – my more than sister – the beautiful and adored companion of all my occupations and my pleasures’ – There is a strong bond between Elizabeth and Victor. It is no surprise that they marry.
- P38 ‘Harmony was the soul of our companionship, and the diversity and contrasts that subsisted in our characters drew us nearer together’ – This is an example of binary opposition. Victor and Elizabeth are opposites which, because they are opposites, made them attracted to each other.
- ‘I was capable of more intense application, and was more deeply smitten with the thirst for knowledge’ – Victor elaborated the contrast / too passionate (obsession might be a future problem for him).
- ‘The world was to me a secret which I desired to divine’ – He wants to know how things work.
- Henry Clerval is a contrast to Victor.
- P39 ‘No human being could have passed a happier childhood than myself’.
- ‘My temper was sometimes violent, and my passions vehement’ – Victor is a bit too obsessive.
- ‘The saintly soul of Elizabeth shone like a shrine dedicated lamp in our peaceful home’ – Elizabeth is like a light in darkness.
- P42 ‘the thunder burst at once with frightful loudness from various quarters of the heavens’ – Lightning is how Frankenstein created the monster. This experience he had with lightning might be what gave him the idea of life from lightning.
- P43 ‘Destiny was too potent, and her immutable laws had decreed my utter and terrible destruction’ – This has a strong Gothic theme.
- P47 ‘He was an uncouth man’ – It seems like M. Krempe has become evil and ugly because of science. Is this why Frankenstein first appeared weak and mad when met by Walton?
- P51 ‘I read with ardour those works, so full of genius and discrimination’ – His passion makes science seem obsessive and unrestrained (and possibly dangerous).
- ‘Two years passed in this manner, during which I paid no visit to Geneva, but was engaged, heart and soul, in the pursuit of some discoveries which I hoped to make’ -Victor is in a pursuit for knowledge: transgression.
- P52 ‘To examine the causes of life, we must first have recourse to death’ – Dissection was ‘big’ back in the early 1800s because no-one didn’t really know the anatomy of the human body. However, from Victor meddling with the death, the reader will view it as ugly and wrong with a moral suspect.
- P53 ‘I beheld the corruption of death succeed to the blooming cheek of life’ – We all die.
- ‘light broke in upon me – a light so brilliant and wondrous, yet so simple’ – Victor is having the stereotypical light-bulb idea on how to overcome death.
- ‘I became myself capable of bestowing animation upon lifeless matter’ – He now knows how to bring the dead back to life.
- ‘painful labour’ – This is birth imagery.
- At the top of P54, Victor is talking to Walton making clear it is a narrative aside. This reminds us that this is a story within a story, ‘Learn from me, if not by my precepts, at least by my example, how dangerous is the acquirement of knowledge and how much happier that man is who believes his native town to be the world, than he who aspires to become greater than his nature will allow’ – Frankenstein is making clear this is a cautionary tale and is warning Walton about his journey to not follow in the same steps as Frankenstein.
- P55 ‘A new species would bless me as its creator and source; many happy and excellent natures would owe their being to me. No father could claim the gratitude of his child so completely as I should deserve this’ – This quote has many references. One is to Aeschylus who was an ancient Greek tragedian. Another is of Adam and Eve. Frankenstein is playing God (which is his hubris: his tragic flaw). He is trying to put himself in the position of God.
- ‘Who shall conceive the horrors of my secret toil as I dabbled among the unhallowed damps of the grave or tortured the living animal to animate the lifeless clay? – Victor knows what he is doing is cruel and holy. This quote is a good example of macabre as it seems Victor has an obsession of death.
- ‘In a solitary chamber, or rather cell, at the top of the house, and separated from all the other apartments by a gallery and staircase, I kept my workshop of filthy creation’ – There is a Gothic setting for where the monster is created.
- P56 ‘The summer months passed while I was thud engaged, heart and soul, in one pursuit. It was a most beautiful seasons’ – Juxtaposition is used hear of a great summer versus the loneliness of Frankenstein: he has nocturnal habits.
- P57 ‘I shunned my fellow-creatures as if I had been guilty of a crime’ – Victor’s perception is that he has done evil things.
- This is the Chapter where the monster born and becomes alive.
- P58 ‘It was on a dreary night of November’ – Pathetic fallacy is used to set a Gothic setting.
- ‘infuse a spark of being’ – Lightning is used to give life to the monster.
- ‘my candle was nearly burnt out’ – Life represents life and the candle is about to burn out. This adds to the Gothic setting.
- ‘I saw the dull yellow eye of the creature open; it breathed hard, ad a convulsive motion agitated its limbs’ – This makes it sound as if being brought to life was painful for the monster.
- ‘How can I describe my emotions at this catastrophe’ – Victor sees this creation as a failure.
- ‘Beautiful – Great God!’ – Victor makes clear that this has turned out not in the slightest way he wanted.
- ‘the beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled my heart’ – Victor doesn’t know what to do now since what he wanted to happen will never happen.
- P59 ‘dead mother in my arms’. Frankenstein has a dream from sleeping that the girl he kisses turns into his mother (Oedipal response). The Oedipus complex was 100 years before Sigmund Freud.The dream is very Gothic and dark and is a prophetic dream. There is a focus on death, macabre, the gruesome and horrifying in the dream.
- ‘every limb become convulsed’ – Frankenstein and the monster are tied together. He is waking up from his sleep like the monster did when born.
- ‘wretch – the miserable monster whom I had created’ – Victor wished he didn’t create the monster.
- ‘while a grin wrinkled his cheeks’ – This makes clear the monster does not start evil but becomes evil. The monster is trying to communicate but can’t. It also links in with the 19th century philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau who stated that when first born everyone starts on a metaphorical blank sheet of paper. It is our experiences with nature that shapes us into the people we are today.
- ‘the demoniacal corpse to which I had so miserably given life’ – The monster is described as devil-like.
- ‘A mummy again endued with animation’ – This links to Egyptian mummies that were just being discovered in the 19th century.
- ‘it became a thing such as even Dante could not have conceived’ – Dante was an Italian writer that wrote The Inferno which is a description of what hell is like.
- P60 ‘Morning, dismal and wet’ – Pathetic fallacy is used on the morning after the birth.
- ‘aching eyes the church of Ingolstadt’ – Religion (God) is watching him do wrong.
- ‘black and comfortless sky’ – Pathetic is used again here.
- ‘Like one, on a lonesome road who…Doth close behind him tread’ – This comes from the Ancient Mariner where he can’t get out of this situation. He has played God and now can’t go back on what he’s done. The monster is following him. Therefore, guilt is metaphorically following him too.
- Victor cannot call any place home now just like the Ancient Mariner.
- P 61 – ‘how very ill you appear; so thin and pale; and look as you had been watching for several nights’ – The monster has taken the life from Victor.
- P62 ‘I was lifeless’ – Like the monster.
- P63 ‘I perceived that the fallen leaves had disappeared and that the young buds were shooting forth from the trees’ – Victor is seeing beauty and getting better.
- Clerval brings moral perspective and the ordinary world to Victor. Victor being lonely is a punishment and Clerval stops this from happening.
- The Chapter starts with a letter (epistle). A letter is used as a narrative device. It enables the narrator to catch up on events elsewhere.
- P66 ‘her mother could not endure her, and after the death of M. Moritz, treated her very ill’ – Mistreated in the past foreshadows the future.
- ‘Justine, thus received in our family, learned the duties of a servant’ – Justine is loyal.
- ‘for the same reason that Ariosto gives concerning the beauty of Angelica’ – This points out that women are the height of beauty.
- Women are domesticated and therefore trapped without freedom in domesticity.
- P67 ‘Justine was the most grateful little creature in the world’ – By describing her as a ‘little creature’ makes women seem vulnerable.
- ‘poor Justine’, ‘anxious affection. Poor Justine’ and ‘poor girl’ – Women are sympathetic.
- ‘I assure you I love her tenderly’ – Elizabeth is trying to protect Justine through insuring Victor.
- Chapter VII starts with a epistle too. However, the happiness of the previous Chapter is shattered with a letter that the brother, William, has died.
- P73 ‘William is dead! – that sweet child’ – What makes it worst is that William is the epitome of innocence.
- P74 ‘Oh, God! I have murdered my darling child!’ – There is someone to blame for the death. Maybe not the monster, but Victor’s fault.
- P76 ‘black sides of Jura, and the bright summit of Mont Blanc. I wept like a child. ‘Dear mountains! My own beautiful lake! How do you welcome your wanderer? Your summits are clear; the sky and lake are blue and placid. Is this to prognosticate peace, or to mock at my unhappiness?’ – There is a contract between Victor and the landscape. The scenery cannot link with Victor and his negative emotions. It is sublime as it is making Victor feel insignificant.
- ‘I foresaw obscurely that I was destined to become the most wretched of human beings’ – Hamartia.
- P77 ‘I saw the lightning playing on the summit of Mont Blanc in the most beautiful figures. The story appeared to approach rapidly’ – Electricity creates the spark for life. This links in with Prometheus. The mountains are a place of torture as Prometheus got tortured there. Is the storm the monster approaching?
- ‘William, dear angel! this is thy funeral, this thy dirge!’ As I said these words, I perceived in the gloom a figure which stole from behind a clump of trees near me’ – Juxtaposition is created from talking about William and innocence to the monster appearing. Evil destroys goodness. This is a symbolic moment of good vs. evil.
- ‘it was the wretch, the filthy daemon to whom I had given life’ – The monster is described in the worst was as he has done an evil deed (killed William)
- P78 ‘was this his first crime?’ – Foreshadows the monster’s future crimes.
- ‘had he not murdered my brother?’ – Victor realises he killed William from his fatal flaw of wanting to be God.
- ‘own vampire’ – A vampire is a evil side to someone. This is Victor’s evil side.
- P79 ‘poor Elizabeth to cease her vain and tormenting self-accusations. – Poor William! he was our darling and our pride’ – William is portray of absolute innocence which makes his death worst.
- P80 ‘she accused herself of having caused the death of my brother’ – She blames herself for the death of William.
- P81 ‘You are all mistaken; I know the murderer. Justine, poor, good Justine, is innocent’ – Victor is about to come clean about the monster.
- ‘My tale was not one to announce publicly; its astounding horror would be looked upon as madness by the vulgar’ – This is Victor’s excuse to not reveal the monster as the murderer. Shelley is being ironic as Victor could have done something to stop Justine being executed.
- P83 ‘A thousand times rather would I have confessed myself guilty of the crime ascribed to Justine’ – This is ironic as he wishes that he confesses but never actually does: hypocritical.
- ‘she appeared confident in innocence and did not tremble, although gazed on and execrated by thousands’ – Justine is the presentation of innocence, beauty and passiveness.
- P84 ‘When shown the body, she feel into violent hysterics and kept her bed for several days’ – ‘hysterics’ is Greek for the womb. This is a stereotypical reaction for a women to a dead body: she faints.
- P86 ‘The tortures of the accused did not equal mine; she was sustained by innocence, but the fangs of remorse tore my bosom and would not forego their hold’. Guilty is worse than innocent and dying which is part of the Christian mind set. the ‘fangs’ represent the snake from the garden of Eden which makes clear the devil us tearing into Victor.
- P87 ‘all judges had rather that ten innocent should suffer than that one guilty should escape’ – This is the court’s reasoning.
- P88 ‘He threatened excommunication and hell fire in my last moments if I continued obdurate’ – Justine confesses that she goes to heaven in the Catholic way.
- P89 ‘Learn from me, dear lady, to submit in patience to the will of heaven’ – Do what God has planned for you. This contrasts with Victor as he plays God and thinks he is as powerful as God. Justine is the structural opposition to Victor.
- ‘Anguish and despair had penetrated into the core of my heart; I bore a hell within me which nothing could extinguish’ – The imagery of fire is a twist from Prometheus. The fire he got (from transgressing) from heaven is burning him.
- P90 ‘Thus spoke my prophetic soul, as, torn by remorse, horror and despair , I beheld those I loved spend vain sorrow upon the graves of William and Justine, the first hapless victims to my unhallowed arts’ – This quote foretells the future as it makes clear the monster is going to kill again. It sets a funeral scene and sets the reader up for Volume 2.
- Frankenstein continues the narration.
- P93 ‘Sleep fled from my eyes; I wandered like an evil spirit, for I had committed deeds of mischief beyond description horrible, and more, much more (I persuaded myself) was yet behind’ – Guilt leads to sleeplessness.
- P94 ‘I was tempted to plunge into the silent lake, that the waters might close over me and my calamities forever’ – Victor is wishing he could end this whole situation.
- P97 ‘these rugged roads. The weather was fine’ – Describing the setting.
- ‘The immense mountains and precipices that overhung me on every side – the sound of the river raging among the rocks, and the dashing of the waterfalls around , spoke of a power mighty as Omnipotence’ – ‘Omnipotence’ is a word to describe God which means all powerful. This is also a great description of the setting.
- ‘the valley assumed a more magnificent and astonishing character. Ruined castles hanging on the precipices of piny mountains; the impetuous Arve, and cottages every here and there peeping forth from among the trees, formed a scene of singular beauty. But it was augmented and rendered sublime by the mighty Alps, whose white and shining pyramids and domes towered above all, as belonging to another earth, the habitations of another race of beings’ – Nature will overpower man and a sublime setting
- P98 ‘This valley is more wonderful and sublime’ – Good setting quote.
- The sublime happens to Frankenstein because it is like a watchful eye of God looking down on him.
- P99 ‘this glorious presence-chamber of imperial Nature’ – In God’s throne.
- P11 ‘The effect of solemnising my mind and causing me to forget the passing cares of life’ – Frankenstein has gone to the monster to try and cleanse his guilt. It is ironic as he meets the monster in the mountains of whom he wants to run away from.
- P101 ‘We rest; a dream has power to poison sleep…Nought may endure but mutability!’ – This is by Percy Shelley (Marry Shelley’s husband) and is called Mutability. It is treated like a soliloquy as it is a hamartia where Victor is starting to release his mistake.
- ‘superhuman speed’ – The monster has powers greater than man.
- ‘and then close with him in mortal combat’ – Victor wants to kill him as he killed William and Justine.
- P102 ‘and do not fear the fierce vengeance of my arm wreaked on your miserable head?’ – This is Victor’s hubris. He is arrogant and full of pride and has not got the power to kill the monster.
- ‘that I may trample you to dust!’ – This has reference to the Bible as Adam was created from dust.
- ‘whom you have so diabolically murdered!’ – ‘Diabolically’ is an adverb for devilish.
- ‘Yet you, my creator, detest and spurn me’ – Frankenstein and the monster are a doppelgänger.
- P103 ‘Remember, that I am thy creature; I ought to be thy Adam, but I am rather the fallen angel, whom thou drivest from joy for no misdeed’ – The monster brings forward a religious view that he should be like Adam, but Victor has punished him for no reason.
- ‘I was benevolent; my soul glowed with love and humanity’ – In the beginning the monster was good and then turned evil.
- ‘Shall I not then hate them who abhor me?’ – This is the monster’s justification for his evil deeds. He did it because people hated him. However, Justine is forgiving to people who hate her. This makes clear the monster is not educated on religious principles.
- P104 ‘I felt what the duties of a creator towards his creature were, and that I ought to render him happy before I complained of his wickedness’ – Victor owes the monster happiness.
- This is the start of the monster’s narrative.
- Shelley has chosen monster’s narrative voice so the reader will feel sympathy towards the monster.
- The monster speaks in the same way as the other characters in a highly educated fashion. This is a convention of the 1800s, P105 ‘It is with considerable difficult that I remembered the original era of my being…’.
- P106 ‘I started up and beheld a radiant form rise from among the trees. I gazed with a kind of wonder’ – The monster is having a sublime moment.
- P107 ‘I found a fire’ – This has reference to Prometheus.
- The monster’s first experience with people is negative.
- P110 ‘was a small and almost imperceptible chink’ – This is a plot device so the monster can see humans unseen so he can learn from them.
- P113 ‘What chiefly struck me was the gentle manners of these people; and I longed to join them, but dared not’ – This sets out the structure of the chapter.
- The monster begins to admire the De Lacey family who are presented as good people (therefore a positive image of humanity).
- P114 ‘I found that the youth spent a great part of each day in collecting wood for the family fire; and, during the night I often took his tools, the use of which I quickly discovered, and brought home firing sufficient for the consumption of several days’ – This has a fairy tale quality to it.
- P115 ‘I perceived that the words they spoke sometime produced pleasure or pain, smiles or sadness, in the minds of countenances of the hearers. This was indeed a godlike science, and I was ardently baffled to become acquainted with it’ – The monster is talking about the wonders of communication.
- ‘I distinguished several other words without being able as yet to understand or apply them; such as “good”, “dearest”, “unhappy” ‘ – The reader will feel sympathy for the monster. He doesn’t yet understand anything complex like love or any of the emotions.
- P116-117 ‘filled with the bitterest sensations of despondence and mortification’ – He is depressed and embarrassed when he realises he is ugly.
- This chapter features the story of Safie.
- P122 ‘I heard of the discovery of the American hemisphere and wept with Safie over the hapless fate of its original inhabitants’ – This is binary opposition of science versus nature.
- ‘These wonderful narrations inspired me with strange feelings. Was man, indeed, at once so powerful, so virtuous, and magnificent, yet so vicious and base?’ – Progress is not always good.
- ‘I heard of the divisions of the property, of immense wealth and squalid poverty; of rank, descent, and noble blood’ – Social inequality.
- Chapter VI of Volume Two in Frankenstein is a pretty irrelevant Chapter which is kind of a story of the main plot that leads nowhere inparticularly. There are no useful quotes to be used in this chapter either. Therefore, I will skip this chapter altogether.
- P130 ‘I found on the ground a leathern portmanteau, containing several articles of dress and some books. I eagerly seized the prize, and returned with it to my hovel. Fortunately the books were written in the language, the elements of which I had acquired at the cottage; they consisted of Paradise Lost, a volume of Plutarch’s Lives, and the Sorrows of Werter‘ – This is a unbelievably unreal plot device. The monster has come across books to help with his education. The books are chosen because Paradise Lost is about morality, of good versus evil, Lives is about the Roman history and past with Sorrows of Werter about what you can learn when reflecting.
- P132 ‘I often referred the several situations, as their similarity struck me, to my own’ – The monster draws parallels between his life and the life of Adam in Paradise Lost.
- ‘but I was wretched, helpless, and alone. Many times I considered Satan as the fitter emblem of my condition’ – The monster’s life story makes him view himself more like the Devil and less like Adam. He is evil and not good.
- P133 ‘Why did you form a monster so hideous that even you turned from me in disgust?’ – This is an important quote. The monster is questioning his creator, Frankenstein, like when Adam complains to God on a similar matter.
- P134 ‘I remembered Adam’s supplication to his Creator. But where was mine? He had abandoned me, and in the bitterness of my heart I cursed him’ – The monster wanted and needed a fatherly figure being his creator.
- P137 ‘Who can describe their horror and consternation on beholding me? Agatha fainted, and Safie unable to attend to her friend, rushed out of the cottage’ – This is the moment the monster tries to introduce himself to the family. However, Agatha faints and Safie runs out of the cottage providing a helpless image of women in general. The family cannot see past the monster’s appearance despite being lovely. This makes clear that the best of human nature is not enough to overcome primitive thoughts.
- P139 ‘Cursed, cursed creator! Why did I live?’ – This is an exact quote of what Adam says in Paradise Lost.
- ‘my feelings were those of rage and revenge’ – The monster is becoming vengeful after being rejected by humanity.
- ‘I, like the archfiend, bore a hell within me, and finding myself unsympathised with, wished to tear up the trees, spread havoc and destruction around me, and then to have sat down and enjoyed the ruin’ – He has turned to the devil from his experience. The monster is on a bildungsroman.
- P140 ‘a fierce wind arose from the woods’ – The use of pathetic fallacy.
- P141 ‘The wind fanned the fire, and the cottage was quickly enveloped by the flames, which clung to it and licked it with their forked and destroying tongues’ – The monster uses fire for bad things (just like Prometheus).
- ‘my father, my creator’ – The monster seeks to destroy his father, Victor, after everything he has done. This is what Sigmund Freud says happens in these situations.
- P143 ‘This was the reward of my benevolence! I had saved a human being from description and as a recompense I now writhed under the miserable pain of a wound which shattered the flesh and bone’ – The monster was caring which makes clear the injustice of the situation. He is an allegorical character that is driven by morals.
- P144 ‘an idea seized me that this little creature was unprejudiced’ – This is the monster’s cure for his loneliness. A child is at their most absolute innocence. Therefore, he will be too young to adopt prejudice views.
- ‘Hideous monster!’ – Then the reader and the monster realises that he is not innocent.
- ‘I grasped his throat to silence him, and in a moment he lay dead at my feet’ – William’s death is not as graphical as it good have been. This is Shelley’s way of making us sympathise with the monster a bit.
- The monster cannot be loved due to his ugly appearance. This is Victor’s fault. Therefore the monster destroys the people that love Victor so that Victor feels the same feelings as the monster. In a way, is this justice or not?
- P146 ‘I am alone, and miserable; man will not associate with me; but one as deformed and horrible as myself would not deny herself to me. My companion must be of the same species, and have the same defects. This being you must create’ – Monster finishes his narration with the monster wanting Victor to create him a partner. The monster wants Frankenstein to create ‘Eve’.
- P147 ‘Shall I create another like yourself, whose joint wickedness might desolate the world? Begone! I have answered you; you may torture me, but I will never consent’ – Two monsters is much worst than one: especially if they can breed.
- P148 ‘I cannot inspire love, I will cause fear’ – The monster threatens Victor.
- ‘did I not as his maker, owe him all the portion of happiness that it was in my power to bestow?’ – Victor remembers he owes the monster some sense of happiness.
- ‘I will go to the vast wilds of South America’ – The monster will isolate himself from humanity with his partner.
- P149 ‘My evil passions will have fled, for I shall meet with sympathy! my life will flow quietly away, and in my dying moments I shall not curse my maker’ – Monster is trying to provide reasons for Victor to create another monster.
- P150 ‘After a long pause of reflection, I concluded that the justice due both to him and my fellow creatures demanded of me that I should comply with his request’ – Victor is going to make another monster.
- ‘by the sun, and by the blue sky of Heaven, and by the fire of love that burns my heart, that if you grant my prayer, while they exist you shall never behold me again’ – There is the imagery of light and fire which represents good things.
- The monster is influential. He is remarkably persuasive (from the De Lacey’s?) which is a reversal of power – Adam and Eve had no power to God.
- P168 ‘With resolution I traversed the northern highlands, and fixed on one of the remotest of the Orkneys as the scene of my labours. It was a place fitted for such a work, being hardly more than a rock, whose high sides were continually beaten upon the waves’ – This creates a Gothic setting. It could also make the point that Victor is ashamed by what he is doing. He is not doing it for the science: he’s creating the life for the monster.
- P169 ‘Thus situated, employed in the most detestable occupation, immersed in a solitude where nothing could for an instant call my attention from the actual scene in which I was engaged, my spirits became unequal; I grew restless and nervous’ – Victor is uncomfortable about what he is doing.
- P170 ‘I sat one evening in my laboratory; the sun had set, and the moon was rising from the sea’ – Parallel construction is made between making this monster and the previous one.
- ‘She might become ten thousand times more malignant than her mate’ – The new creation might be even more evil than the previous one. Victor is creating Eve and is still playing God.
- P171 ‘trembling with passion, tore to pieces the thing on which I was engaged. The wretch saw me destroy the creature on whose future existence he depended for happiness, and, with a howl of devilish despair and revenge withdrew’ – Victor did not create the Eve monster and destroyed it instead. This leaves the monster very vengeful.
- ‘P172 ‘You are my creator, but I am your master – obey!’ – There are a reversal of roles here.
- ‘bolt will fall’ – It was lightning that made the monster. Lightning can also kill.
- P173 ‘I may die, but first you, my tyrant and tormentor, shall curse the sun that gases on your misery. Beware; for I am fearless, and therefore powerful. I will watch with the wiliness of a snake’. This quote has reference to religion with the snake from the Garden of Eden.
- ‘but remember, I shall be with you on your wedding-night’ – This is a threat from the monster for Victor’s wife, which Victor doesn’t realise but thinks it is about himself, ‘Before you sign my death-warrant’.
- P177 ‘As I was occupied in fixing the boat and arranging the sails, several people crowded towards the spot’ – Victor is getting a similar reception that the monster would have got.
- This Chapter is a re-run (echo) of a Justine-like trial. This time, it is with Frankenstein who is the accused. He isn’t hung as men have higher social statuses than women.
- P179 ‘old benevolent an, with calm and mild manners’ – The man was positive and kind to Victor.
- P181 ‘passed like a dream from my memory, when I saw the lifeless form of Henry Clerval stretched before me. I gasped for breath; and throwing myself on the body, I exclaimed, ‘Have my murderous machinations deprived you also, my dearest Henry, of life? To I have already destroyed; other victims await their destiny: but you, Clerval, my friend, my benefactor’ – Frankenstein faints which is Victor being feminised. Would should faint at this like Justine did. This means that Frankenstein is not very masculine. The monster is masculine and Victor is the opposite being feminist.
- P183 ‘Who could be interested in the fate of a murderer, but the hangman who would gain his fee?’ – This is parallel to Justine and the monster. Victor is feeling what it is like to be evil.
- P184-185 ‘ ‘I should have thought, young man, that the presence of your father would have welcome instead of inspiring such violent repugnance.’ ‘My father!’ cried I’ – Victor is acting childish to his father’s arrival.
- P189 ‘I abhorred the face of man’ – This is similar to what the monster says, ‘Shall I not then hate them who abhor me?’. He is experience emotions similar to the monster.
- P190 ‘A thousand times would I have shed my own blood, drop by drop, to have saved their lives’ – This is rubbish. He said something similar before,A thousand times rather would I have confessed myself guilty of the crime ascribed to Justine’. He could have saved their lives but chose to keep the monster’s identity hidden.
- P193 ‘the apples was already eaten, and the angel’s arm bared to drive me from all hope’ – This has reference to the apple Eve ate from the Garden of Eden.
- P195 ‘I had prepared only my own death’ – Victor does not realise that the monster will kill Victor’s family so that he experiences the same loneliness as the monster. The monster will not kill Victor as that is an easy way out.
- The end of the novel takes on a revenge tragedy theme.
- P198 ‘It was eight o’clock when we landed; we walked for a short time on the shore, enjoying the transitory light, and then retired to the inn, and contemplated the lovely scene of waters, woods and mountains, obscured in darkness, yet still displaying their black outlines’ – The Chapter starts off with a happy positive mood.
- P199 ‘I heard a shrill and dreadful scream’ – The reader knows the monster is here…for Elizabeth.
- ‘Great God!’ – Parallel construction is created from Chapter V Volume One. The death of Elizabeth links in with the creation of the monster.
- ‘bridal bier’ – As well as having alliteration, it is an oxymoron. Bier is a movable frame which a coffin is placed on. This has the opposite mood to a bride who has just got married.
- P200 ‘A grin was on the face of the monster; he seemed to jer, as with his fiendish finger he pointed towards the corpse of my wife’ – The monster has raped and killed Elizabeth and by pointing at her, he is proud by what he has done.
- P202 ‘he was unable to rise from his bed, and in a few days he died in my arms’ – Victor’s father dies due to not coping with the shocks going on around him
- Frankenstein is moving further north and away from humanity which is sublime and alienating.
- P205 ‘My present situation was one in which all voluntary thought was swallowed up and lost. I was hurried away by fury; revenge alone endowed me with strength and composure it moulded my feelings, and allowed me to be calculating and calm, at periods when otherwise delirium or death would have been my portion’ – Victor is kept alive by vengeance for Elizabeth’s death.
- Here are some good quotes to know, P206 ‘hell surrounded me with mockery and laughter’ and P207 ‘Cold, want and fatigue, were the least pains which I was destined to endure’.
- P208 ‘ ‘My reign is not over’ – these words were legible in one of these inscriptions – ‘you live, and my power is complete. Follow me; I seek the everlasting ices of the north, where you will feel the misery of cold and frost, to which I am impassive’ – The monster is luring Frankenstein north. This quote also makes clear that the monster can write. Therefore, he has acquired the last language.
- P212 ‘His soul is as hellish as his form, full of treachery and fiendlike malice. Hear him not; call on the manes of William, Justine, Clerval, Elizabeth, and of the wretched Victor, and thrust your sword into his heart. I will hover near, and direct the steel aright’ – Frankenstein is calling for revenge. Walton conitnues the narration after this.
- P214 ‘ ‘When younger,’ said he, ‘I believed myself destined for some great enterprise’. Victor had high hopes for his life.
- P218 ‘The die is cast…It requires more than philosophy than I possess, to bear this injustice with patience’ – Walton is talking very depressively.
- ‘It is past; I am returning to England. I have lost my hopes of utility and glory; – I have lost my friend. But I will endeavour to detail these bitter circumstances to you, my dear sister’ – Walton is more positive here and is also filling in the events.
- P220 ‘Farewell, Walton! Seek happiness in tranquillity and avoid ambition, even if it be only the apparently innocent one of distinguishing yourself in science and discoveries. Yet why do I say this? I have myself been blasted in these hopes, yet another may succeed’ – Frankenstein is preparing to die.
- ‘His voice became faint as he spoke; and at length, exhausted by his effort, he sunk into silence. About half an hour afterwards he attested again to speak, but was unable; he pressed my hand feebly, and his eyes closed forever, while the irradiation of a gentle smile passed away from his lips’ – Ultimately, Frankenstein’s punishment for transgressing and acquiring powers God should only have is death. The death is a pathetic one with feminine-like traits.
- P221 ‘Great God!’ Parallel construction between the birth of the monster, the death of Elizabeth and the appearance of the monster to Walton.
- ‘ ‘That is also my victim”‘ he exclaimed: ‘in his murder my crimes are consummated; the miserable series of my being is wound to its close! Oh, Frankenstein! generous and self-devoted being! what does it avail that I now ask thee to pardon me? I, who irretrievably destroyed thee by destroying all thou lovedst. Alas! he is cold, cannot answer me’ -The monster is now remorseful. ‘generous and self-devoted’ is ironic. Victor is generous to create the monster but selfish.
- P222 ‘it did not endure the violence of the change, without torture such as you cannot imagine’ – The monster is saying that he didn’t like committing the murders, ‘Think you that the groans of Clerval were music to my ears?’.
- ‘I abhorred myself’ – The monster hates himself. From everyone hating him, it has led to him hating himself.
- ‘Yet when she died! – nay, then I was not miserable. I had cast off all feeling, subdued all anguish, to riot in the excess of my despair. Evil thenceforth became my good’ – This is a moral reversal for the monster.
- P224 ‘Fear not that I shall be the instrument of future mischief’ – The monster is not going to be evil any more as he is not revengeful.
- ‘I shall quit your vessel on the ice-raft which brought me thither, and shall seek the most northern extremity of the globe; I shall collect my funeral pile, and consume to ashes this miserable frame’ – The monster is utterly negative here. He is going to destroy himself in as remote and northern place as possible through burning himself to death with fire (links with Prometheus). The monster’s first crime was by burning the cottage. His last sin is suicide through burning himself.
Frankenstien’s Reference To Paradise Lost
- Paradise Lost is an epic poem by John Milton.
- Eve is made from Adam’s rib whereas the monster is made from corpses.
- Adam and Eve sinned by eating the apple. God turns them away like Victor does to the monster.
- Monster ate a metaphorical apple and turned evil.
- Monster is born naked like Adam and Eve.
- Monster is rejected before he sins unlike Adam and Eve.
- Monster in shed watching the De Lacey family is like Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. The monster gets thrown out of ‘heaven’.
Frankenstein Reference To Jean-Jacques Rousseau
- Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote a novel called Emile.
- He is a philosopher writer and composer.
- He is also a romanticist.
- Frankenstein is an anti-romantic novel. Frankenstein has emotions but he is anti-romantic as he achieves something bad.
- Jean-Jacques believed in Noble Savage– when humans are first born, they are at their most raw and innocent state. It is the nurture and nature that shapes us into the people we are today. Everyone is born as a metaphorical blank page.
- This brings the point forward that if you educate a person, you will make them into a good being who will benefit society from good citizenship.
- The monster is disregarded when he is first born. Therefore, the reader can understand why he kills. He is grown up well with the De Lacey’s but the experiences of rejection causes him to become evil, ‘I was benevolent; my soul glowed with love and humanity’.
- If Frankenstein didn’t abandon the monster at birth, the monster may not have killed at all.