How do the roles of Frankenstein and the monster reverse in the final chapters of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein?

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In the closing chapters of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Victor becomes the hunter, while the monster becomes the hunted. Earlier in the book, the monster is the vengeful killer. He is angry at Victor for his haphazard appearance and the rejection he experiences from the rest of the community due to the way Victor created him. In the last chapter of the book, Victor is desolate after losing everyone he cares about by the monster’s hand. He tracks the monster, seeking retribution. In this way, the monster and Victor reverse roles as Victor pursues his monster.

Frankenstein’s monster wants community—to find others like himself and cease being the outsider—but people are put off by him. The monster’s seclusion becomes the most frustrating part of his existence. Similarly, Victor cannot take part in society knowing that his dangerous creation is roaming the world. He is overrun with guilt. He sees himself as a murderer—responsible for the deaths caused by his monster. In this way, Victor comes to feel the same isolation his monster has faced for its whole existence. Neither the monster nor Frankenstein can experience happiness while the other is happy.

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After the creature murders Elizabeth on her wedding night, he feels that his task is done. He has destroyed everyone that Victor loves, and this is more satisfying as a means of revenge than killing Victor himself. He escapes, his task seemingly complete. Victor, now alone in the world, has nothing else holding him back but to track down his creature and destroy him. The roles have reversed in that it is now Victor chasing the creature, rather than the creature chasing Victor. All over Europe, the two of them roam, the creature constantly ahead of his pursuer. Having reached the Arctic, Victor is found by Robert Walton, and he takes a brief respite on Walton’s ship before planning to continue his pursuit. After he tells Walton his story, his health weakens. His chase has destroyed him. When Victor dies, the creature comes on the ship and grieves for his creator. Death is not something he envisioned for Victor. Now that Victor is dead, the creature goes off, planning to destroy himself on a funeral pyre.

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