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Strong passions are a defining feature of the novel Frankenstein. With examples from...

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kareemoo | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted December 22, 2012 at 12:08 AM via web

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Strong passions are a defining feature of the novel Frankenstein. With examples from the novel, discuss the variety of emotions portrayed by the author.

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted December 22, 2012 at 6:17 AM (Answer #1)

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One of the chapters in this novel that immediately comes to mind when one thinks of strong passions is Chapter V, which is when Frankenstein succeeds in bestowing life to his creature. What is so remarkable about this chapter in relation to strong passions is the way that Frankenstein shifts from eager expectation to hate and disgust at an instant the moment that he regards what he has created. Note how Frankenstein himself describes this dramatic change in passions:

I had desired it with an ardour that far exceeded moderation, but now that I had finished, the beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled my heart. Unable to endure the aspect of the being I had created, I rushed out of the room...

Frankenstein openly acknowledges that he had been anticipating this moment with an "ardour that far exceeded moderation," and that he had, in fact, deprived himself and others of basic necessities in order to reach it, so eager was he to achieve his goal. However, he lurches to the opposite extreme the moment he is successful, becoming dominated by "breathless horror and disgust," and finding he has to leave the room straight away. Passions are extreme in this novel, and nowhere more extreme than in this crucial section where paradoxically, Frankenstein's greatest success turns into his biggest nightmare. Other sections where passions are explored are when Frankenstein and his creature have their interview on the glacier and also after Frankenstein has destroyed the second creature.


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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted December 22, 2012 at 9:13 AM (Answer #2)

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The love and appreciation of Nature, as well as the "sublime" are both characteristics of Romanticism that are evidenced in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.  Victor Frankenstein incurs these experiences when he retreals to the valley of Chamounix in Chapter 9 where he experiences feelings of hope, awe, and ecstasy as he feels the weight of his spirit lightened by the "mighty Alps" that he finds "white and shining pyramids."

Likewise in Chapter 10, Victor continues his awe of the white glory of the gloriously beautiful frozen region where "imperial Nature was broken only by the brawling waves" that he explains,

...elevated me from all littleness of feeling, and although they did not remove my grief, they subdued and tranquillized it.,,,they all gathered round me, and bade me be at peace.

Further, Victor defines his "sublime ecstasy" as a lifting of his spirits and his soul and an elevating of his feelings and thoughts, causing the cares of his life to be lifted from him. The sight of Mt. Blanc, Victory writes, inspires him and "solemnizes" his mind, causing him to forget his worries. Thus, the interludes of nature--the experience of the sublime--serve to provide Victor respite from his cares and regret for having created the monster.


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