How does the author of Frankenstein use mystery and foreshadowing in Chapter 3?

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lusie0520 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

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In Chapter 3, the author uses both mystery and foreshadowing to let the reader know several things. The first example is when the author is describing Victor’s feeling after the death of his mother.

“I need not describe the feelings of those whose dearest ties are rent by that most irreparable evil; the void that presents itself to the soul; and the despair that is exhibited on the countenance” (Ch. 3).

This foreshadows for us Victor’s motivation for exploring the mysteries of death.

When the author introduces M. Krempe and M. Waldman, it makes the reader wonder what exactly Victor will study. 

“Chance--or rather the evil influence, the Angel of Destruction, which asserted omnipotent sway over me from the moment I turned my reluctant steps from my father's door led me first to M. Krempe, professor of natural philosophy” (Ch. 3).

This makes us wonder to what evil influence Victor will eventually succumb. It also foreshadows for us how Victor is drawn to the idea of creating life; so drawn, in fact, that he will study under M. Krempe, a person who repels him and dismisses his ideas. “…but I returned, not at all the more inclined to recur to these studies in any shape” (Ch. 3).

When Victor meets M. Waldman, it foreshadows that he will eventually be overcome with a desire to be powerful enough to create life. M. Waldman says,

“They have acquired new and almost unlimited powers; they can command the thunders of heaven, mimic the earthquake, and even mock the invisible world with its own shadows" (Ch 3).

The words of M. Waldman draw Frankenstein in.

“So much has been done, exclaimed the soul of Frankenstein--more, far more, will I achieve: treading in the steps already marked, I will pioneer a new way, explore unknown powers, and unfold to the world the deepest mysteries of creation” (Ch. 3).

These words create both mystery and foreshadowing for the reader, who wonders what Frankenstein will do to “unfold to the world the deepest mysteries of creation” (Ch 3)

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