Weather In Frankenstein

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favoritethings's profile pic

favoritethings | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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It is actually a major lightning and thunderstorm that first convinces Victor to turn away from the pseudo-science that had so electrified him before (pun intended).  He says, 

As I stood at the door, on a sudden I beheld a stream of fire issue from an old and beautiful oak which stood about twenty yards from our house; and so  soon as the dazzling light vanished, the oak had disappeared, and nothing remained but a blasted stump. When we visited it the next morning, we found the tree shattered in a singular manner. It was not splintered by the shock, but entirely reduced to thin ribbons of wood. I never beheld anything so utterly destroyed.
It is after this storm that Victor completely gives up his study of science and turns to math and other subjects that he feels have more firm foundations.  Then, once Victor goes to college in Ingolstadt, Professor Krempe embarrasses him with the result of his aborted studies. As a result, Victor begins to compare the "chimeras of boundless grandeur" promised by the older "scientists" versus the much more modest hopes of modern scientists, and he is disappointed.  Had he never witnessed the shocking natural moment—the destruction of the tree—he might have actually continued his studies and learned what appropriate uses for science exist, as contrasted with inappropriate, or unethical, uses (like, one might argue, the use to which he puts it when he makes his creature).  
 
Victor first sees his creature (after their initial introduction in his apartment at school) during a similar storm.  It is "beautiful yet terrific," until he sees "A flash of lightning illuminate the object [which had stolen from a clump of trees near him], and then he sees its shape plainly; it is of gigantic stature, and the deformity of its aspect, more hideous than belongs to humanity, instantly informed [him] that it was the wretch, the filthy daemon, to whom [he] had given life."  Interestingly, this scene seems to connect the creature with the lightning, and, if you consider the novel's subtitle, Victor is understood as Prometheus while the creature is referenced in terms of the weapon of Zeus; Zeus is more physically powerful than Prometheus.  This is some foreshadowing that relies on allusions, but it helps us to understand who will be the victor (kind of an ironic name for our protagonist) in any eventual confrontation between the two.  
literaturenerd's profile pic

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

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Weather is important in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, when not looking at the plot, given the impact it has on the characters of Victor and the Creature.

Victor suffers from many different illnesses over the course of the novel (brought on by the creation of the creature and the death's of his friend and family). It is nature which, many times, brings him out of his debilitating illnesses. That said, nature's first impact on him comes in the form of a storm. Victor first becomes intrigued by science through a "terrible thunderstorm" (seen in chapter two). 

I remained, while the storm lasted, watching its progress with curiosity and delight.

The importance of weather here defines Victor's initial obsession with the elements.

As for the Creature, he was able to understand how the weather impacted the De Lacey's. He recognized how the winter made the ground hard and difficult to cultivate, how the rain was able to moisten the ground and soften it for planting and harvesting.

I found it was called when the heavens poured forth its waters. This frequently took place; but a high wind quickly dried the earth, and the season became far more pleasant than it had been.

In the quote above (from chapter twelve), the Creature realizes that change comes with different weather (important given his promise to leave the world of the humans and exist in the land of ice). The land of ice, with its blizzards and snow, is inhospitable and the Creature recognizes that this is where he belongs.

In the end, weather impacts both Victor and the Creature. Although not blatant, weather mirrors the feelings of both Victor and his "son."

 

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