How could Frankenstein by Mary Shelley be compared to "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, including important themes and quotes?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

When answering this question, you should consider the themes of isolation and rejection in Frankenstein and “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.” In Frankenstein, Walton, Victor, and the creature are all isolated. Walton is isolated on ship because he has no friends. “I have no friend, Margaret (Letter 2),” he tells his sister. Victor isolates himself when he chooses to study reanimation. “And the same feelings which made me neglect the scenes around me caused me also to forget those friends who were so many miles absent, and whom I had not seen for so long a time” (Chapter 4). The creature is similarly isolated when he is forced to roam alone in the mountains. When telling Victor his story, he concludes: “I am alone and miserable, man will not associate with me” (Chapter 16).

In “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”, the Mariner tells a story of death and isolation to the Wedding Guest. After killing the albatross, the Mariner is left alone when all the other sailors die. “I looked upon the rotting sea, / And drew my eyes away; / I looked upon the rotting deck, / And there the dead men lay. / I looked to heaven, and tried to pray; / But or ever a prayer had gusht, / My heart as dry as dust.” The Mariner, who is at fault for the deaths of the men, must endure his guilt alone.

The theme of rejection also plays an important role in both the novel and the poem. In Frankenstein, the creature is rejected by his creator, by the cottagers, and by society as a whole. This rejection causes him to seek Victor relentlessly and ask him for a companion. He tells Victor: “I am malicious because I am miserable. Am I not shunned and hated by all mankind?” (Chapter 17). In “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” the Mariner first rejects the Albatross: “'God save thee, ancient Mariner! / From the fiends, that plague thee thus!-- / Why look'st thou so?'--With my cross-bow / I shot the ALBATROSS.” Later, the Mariner is rejected by the rest of the crew. “Ah ! well a-day ! what evil looks / Had I from old and young! / Instead of the cross, the Albatross / About my neck was hung.” The Mariner is rejected as a result of his actions. Rejection and isolation are related in both the book and the poem.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team