In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, the fates of Victor and the creature reveal the novel's central theme. What is that central theme?
Which examples from the novel would one use to substantiate your answer if you had to refer to 3 or more passages from the novel?
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To me, Frankenstein's fate shows the theme of ambition and failure to know when to leave things alone. Victor created the monster out of his own ambition to be great and to know things he should not have known. This is why he is a modern Prometheus, in my opinion.
The monster's fate shows the theme of alienation and loneliness. The monster, through no fault of his own, is so horrible to look at that no one will have anything to do with him. It is not because of what he is, but rather because of how he looks. Because of this, he is alienated, which makes him hateful and violent.
Numerous themes exist in Shelley's Frankenstein. The enotes Study Guide on themes in the novel lists the following:
- Alienation and Loneliness
- Nature vs. Nurture
- Appearance vs. Reality
- Duty and Responsibility
- Justice vs. Injustice
- Forbidden Knowledge
- Science vs. Nature
- Multiple Personalities
Alienation, etc., should be self-explanatory; Nature, etc., refers to the role nurturing plays in the development of human beings--the monster doesn't get any and look how he turns out; Appearance, etc. refers to the difference between the monster's appearance and the reality of his mind; Duty, etc.: Victor doesn't show any sense of it; Justice, etc.: the innocent found guilty, the innocent killed, and the issue of what a person says vs. evidence; Forbidden knowledge is obvious; Science vs. nature: the novel is science gone wild; Language refers to the different narrators and points of view, and the use of letters, etc.; and Multiple Personalities: the novel can be narrowed down to a clash of personalities, and Victor seems to have plenty of his own.
This summary of the themes does not do the themes justice, and I highly suggest you click on the link below and read the Guide for yourself. The Guide contains more of the examples you need for your assignment, as well.
There is also one more theme that I did not see represented in the other two narratives, but the editors really hit on everything well. The theme is that in the novel Frankenstein the creature was born of fire so to speak. He was created by the energy of electricity; The spark of life.
In the end he and Victor are in a cold place filled with ice and water. Victor succumbs to his own health issues in the North and the cold. Victor's creature tries to end his life by going off to the ice cold water.
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