Are there any areas of confusion in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein?

Although dependent on the reader, some possible areas of confusion in Frankenstein include Victor's character inconsistencies and ignorance. Victor's ambition to recreate life dominates his mentality until he succeeds, then he wants nothing to do with his creation. The Creature is left without any instruction and is freed into the world without thought to the consequences.

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The concept of "confusion" can take many forms and is open to a wide range of interpretations in its application to Mary Shelley's masterpiece. For the purpose of your question, it might be best to focus on those aspects of Frankensteinthat are perhaps "questionable" in terms of the ...

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The concept of "confusion" can take many forms and is open to a wide range of interpretations in its application to Mary Shelley's masterpiece. For the purpose of your question, it might be best to focus on those aspects of Frankenstein that are perhaps "questionable" in terms of the characters' behavior. The expectations of even a rudimentary type of "realism" Mary Shelley's first readers would have had is relevant as well to your question.

Victor Frankenstein's mindset in both creating life and in reacting to the results of his creation are somewhat confusing because the inconsistencies in his character are largely unexplained. This is part of the general theme of irrationality at the heart of the novel. Not only does Frankenstein abandon the Creature, but at first he gives the impression of not even being curious or concerned about where the Creature has disappeared to and the danger this is going to create for the surrounding population. The short answer as to why Frankenstein behaves this way is that he's in denial. It's as if he suddenly wishes to wipe his memory clean of the whole situation, even though the project of creating life has been his raison d'etre to this point. The long answer probably involves issues of mental illness, cruelty, and a host of psychological mechanisms that were not to be studied systematically until long after Shelley's pathbreaking bookwhether in the work of Freud and others.

The Creature himself is a symbol of Otherness, but it is unclear how or why he immediately recognizes himself as such and does so in such an unforgiving, self-loathing manner when first seeing his own reflection. Obviously he has observed the difference between himself and the De Lacey family, but this extremely limited exposure to what "normal" humans look like doesn't seem sufficient cause for him to be so repelled by his appearance.

Shelley's point is, of course, that the Creature has already assimilated the prejudicial human notions of "normality" and "beauty." Nevertheless, one wonders if the arguable lack of "realism" with which this occurs is an allusion to the general absurdity of bigotry in any form, or is it simply an instance of the extravagant and exaggerated plot points in many novels of the period? As with the inconsistencies in Victor's character, it is difficult to tell how deliberately Shelley injected these elements into the story. In any event, they don't detract from the power of Frankenstein as an enormously vivid and forceful parable of man's inhumanity and self-delusion.

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