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In Shelley's Frankenstein, how are Henry’s & Victor’s travels through Britain...

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fushi | Valedictorian

Posted February 22, 2011 at 2:00 AM via web

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In Shelley's Frankenstein, how are Henry’s & Victor’s travels through Britain different: how does Victor react to the places they visit?

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booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 22, 2011 at 3:08 AM (Answer #1)

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In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Victor and Henry travel through a great deal of Britain. They visit London, Oxford and Matlock, taking great pleasure in seeing sights steeped in history.

From thence we proceeded to Oxford...It was here that Charles I had collected his forces. This city had remained faithful to him, after the whole nation had forsaken his cause to join the standard of parliament and liberty. The memory of that unfortunate king and his companions...gave a peculiar interest to every part of the city, which they might be supposed to have inhabited.

Henry, who has not been touched by the evil that has so affected Victor, finds great delight in all they see, and wants to learn all he can.

Clerval desired the intercourse of the men of genius and talent who flourished at this time.

Victor takes some pleasure in what he sees, and can recall the histories associated with the different places, but his heart is heavy and the satisfaction and personal connection he might have felt years before, is now blighted by his recent past and the future endeavor awaiting him.

Henry wishes to travel at some point to India, and assist in England's colonization of that land. He attempts to learn all he can, and Victor reflects that his friend is much like Victor was before he created the creature.

Victor, on the other hand, is there to learn from philosophers, what he can to help him fulfill his promise to the creature, though each step haunts him:

I now also began to collect the materials necessary for my new creation, and this was to me like the torture of single drops of water continually falling on the head.

Victor is depressed by the task before him, and often makes excuses so that he can be alone, separated from the community of others.

So while these two friends travel to the same places, Henry is excited by all he sees; Victor's joy is dampened by his experience in creating the creature:

...but I am a blasted tree; the [lightning] bolt has entered my soul...

Victor proceeds in his own little world preparing to keep his promise to the creature to create for him a mate.

The men react very differently to their time in England.

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