In Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, how do the monster and Victor Frankenstein cope with their great deal of loneliness?

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pmiranda2857 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Victor can be considered a brilliant scientist who made a great discovery, one that he should be given much admiration for,  or an irresponsible, selfish individual, who in a desire to understand the origin of life created a monster and then unleashed it on the world without warning.

Victor's loneliness is actually caused by his own callous attitude toward the creature that he abandons and then betrays.  As a result of his actions, first by not keeping track of the monster after he is created, and then promising him a female, and then destroying the started project before it was finished, getting rid of the body, the monster targets Victor and kills everyone that he holds dear.

The monster's actions are ignited by his shock at being rejected not only by his creator, Victor, but by society's response to his hideous appearance.  Desiring, more than anything, to be around a family, the monster is not prepared for the reaction that his appearance elicits from humans.  In his desperation to share his life with someone, he begs Victor to make him a female companion.   

When Victor fails to fulfill his promise the monster feels hatred towards his creator and vows to make his life miserable.  Victor's loved ones are systematically killed by the monster while Victor remains silent on his existence.  Driven by rejection and an acute sense of loneliness the monster flees.

Victor chases after the monster on a crusade of revenge, vowing, out of guilt and shame that he will destroy the beast that he created.

Both Victor and the creature end up alone, running away from each other at various intervals and then pursuing each other.  At the end of the story, Victor has nothing left but his need to capture the monster.  The monster, condemned to always be alone, an outsider looking in at others as they enjoy family life, but never included eludes Victor's best efforts.

Victor dies lonely and despondent, leaving the monster feeling the same, left to wander aimlessly in emotional despair.

"Victor’s body is placed in a coffin. A while later, Walton hears a noise coming from Victor’s room. He rushes in and discovers the monster standing over the coffin, uttering “exclamations of grief and horror.” But the creature, too, has suffered terribly. All he wanted was to be accepted by someone who could look past his monstrous appearance and appreciate his inner being."  

accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One of the key themes of Frankenstein is that of loneliness and alienation. It is clear that not only Frankenstein, but also the Monster and Walton experience great alienation and loneliness.

This story takes as its basis the Faust legend, which was the quest to conquer the unknown and uncover great scientific advances, but at the cost of your own humanity. Victor Frankenstein throughout the novel favours his work and research over his family. He does not handle this alienation very well, and we are left feeling that due to his inability to balance his private work and social interactions he is worsening his own mental state. For example, when he attends the University of Ingolstadt when he focuses on his creation, he has no contact with his father or Elizabeth for 6 years, in spite of their attempts to keep in touch. His own attitude and response to his family is highlighted by lengthy descriptions of his loving family. There is a huge contrast then between his caring family and the compulsive desire that Victor has to create the creature.

His creation, too, obviously experiences alienation through his physical appearance. He reads works such as Geothe and Paradis Lost, which, although increasing his knowledge, had the effect of "showing me what a miserable outcast I was." An increase in knowledge for the creature only brings a heightened awareness of how utterly lonely he actually is.

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