In Chapter 18 of "Frankenstein", what is different about Victor's solitude from when he first created the monster?
In the beginning of the novel, Victor prefers solitude to pursue his studies. His love of knowledge and scientific discovery exceeds all other interests: his family & Elizabeth come second to his pursuits. He shuts himself in his apartment to experiment, & only emerges from fear of the monster he created.
When we see him in solitude again, he is much changed. The experiences he has had since he left the university have weighted him down with worry and despair. He no longer shares Clerval’s intellectual curiosity and excitement; his life is filled with fear and regret. He faces guilt for the deaths of William and Justine, and is haunted by the memory of the creature, no matter where he goes. Instead of the enthusiasm and ambition he had only a few years earlier, horror has driven him to a barren island where he must complete a dreaded task. He forces himself into solitude to protect others, to keep the creature from the rest of humanity. It is an ironic comment on Victor’s youthful quest, an ambitious pursuit filled with hope and promise that has now resulted in Victor’s present state of loathing and misery. He isolates himself, not only to set up a new laboratory, but also to wrestle with his personal demons. He chooses a remote, barren island as the place to begin work on the new creature, a place surrounded by wild seas and jagged, rocky cliffs.
Instead of finding comfort, alone, in this desolate place, Victor knows he is being watched. He grows increasingly “restless and nervous,” a feeling compounded by “a solitude where nothing could for an instant call my attention from the actual scene in which I was engaged.”