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What effect does isolation have on Victor and the creature in "Frankenstein"?

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youarehere762 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 22, 2011 at 6:33 AM via web

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What effect does isolation have on Victor and the creature in "Frankenstein"?

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jwillette135 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted May 22, 2011 at 9:33 AM (Answer #1)

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Perhaps one of the first things that are useful in analyzing these characters' isolation is whether or not it is self-inflicted.  In Victor's case, his isolation comes from pursuing his ambitions, choosing his ambition over the people around him.  Even when Victor finishes creating his creature, his feelings of melancholy and guilt overwhelm him so that her cannot have solace from those around him.  Truthfully, I don’t believe that Victor is an isolated character because he seems to be more interested in himself rather than anyone else, and he is generally surrounded by friends and family who would seek to comfort him if only he would let them.  Though Victor is alone once the Creature has killed his family, this isolation could also be considered brought upon by Victor himself.  Victor’s isolation, then, should create in him a sense of guilt or atonement for his creation of a Creature who stripped him of those friends and family surrounding him; however, Victor only seeks vengeance and his continued state of melancholy.

The Creature, on the other hand, is isolated because of Victor.  Victor was the Creature’s creator and should have provided and taught the creature, taking responsibility instead of running away.  He also is isolated by society because of his appearance, which is, again, not the Creature’s fault.  Compared to Victor, the Creature is far more isolate, and we can see that this isolation is superior to that of Victor because of the drastic measures the Creature takes in order to be with people.  Victor does not really consciously attempt to engage with those around him, but the Creature does, craving companionship and a way to release himself from his isolation.  Ultimately, the Creature cannot become part of any community so this isolation creates rage inside of the monster and leads him to commit the acts that ultimately isolate Victor.

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

Posted June 18, 2011 at 6:09 AM (Answer #2)

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There is actually a curious split in regard to how both Victor and the Monster react to isolation in Frankenstein.

Victor isolates himself from the rest of society because of his obsession to create life.  During this isolation, Victor becomes gravely ill.  Actually, it seems that every time Victor is isolated from society, he becomes gravely ill. For Victor, isolation has a very negative effect.

The Monster, on the other hand, is isolated for two reasons. First, Victor abandons him- this creates an isolation from the Monster's "father". Second, because of how the Monster appears outwardly, he is naturally isolated from society.

That being said, the Monster thrives in isolation.  He learns how to survive entirely on his own- he becomes stronger- a complete contrast as to how Victor survives isolation.  Another example of how isolation is good for the Monster is his own request to be isolated. While complete isolation is not true here, he would be with the female monster, he is still removing himself from al of society in exchange for a mate. The Monster relishes isolation given what he learned previously from it.

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