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Discus the role of sickness in the Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.

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zoey12 | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 16, 2013 at 6:19 PM via web

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Discus the role of sickness in the Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted July 16, 2013 at 11:28 PM (Answer #1)

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Victor Frankenstein, the protagonist of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, falls ill after every traumatic event in the novel. He falls ill after creating the Creature, after Clerval is murdered, and (for a short time) after Elizabeth is murdered. In a sense, falling ill acts as Victor's coping mechanism.

Given that Victor cannot deal with extreme distress, his body's natural defense is illness. This forces him to take time to new his body and mind before pursuing his next obstacle. Also, during these illnesses, others must care for Victor. He is so ill that he cannot care for himself.

This said, the only thing which seems to make Victor begin to recover is the promise of spring and constantancy. Given that Frankenstein is not only Gothic but Romantic, nature must be given power. In this novel, nature is given the ability to cure Victor. Not only does it cure him, it allows him to recognize the fact that consistency exists in the world (Mont Blanc, the lake by his home). Therefore, nature is shown as a healing power of human illness.

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