The use of light and dark within chapter Five Frankenstein?In particular how is light and dark a symbol within chapter five, quotes would be helpful. So when frankenstein sees the monster from the...

The use of light and dark within chapter Five Frankenstein?

In particular how is light and dark a symbol within chapter five, quotes would be helpful. So when frankenstein sees the monster from the light of the moon what is that showing that he isnt blinded by light and sees the error of his ways. That sort of thing

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droxonian eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In this novel as a whole, light generally represents life, while most of Victor's deeds in creating the monster are enacted in darkness, symbolizing their secretive—and, indeed, forbidden—nature. We see this in chapter five, where Victor is struggling to "infuse a spark" of life into his creation with a "candle nearly burnt out." Victor is attempting to kindle a light out of near-darkness: we may infer that he has been working at his task for the duration of the candle burning and has almost given up, when, "by the glimmer of half-extinguished light," the creature's eyes open.

Ultimately, however, what the "half-extinguished light" reveals to Victor is more than he can bear. Having worked for so long, to the detriment of his health, to generate this creature, the "glimmer" of light that falls upon the creature seems to represent the first glimmer of understanding in Victor's mind as to the enormity, and wrongness, of what he has done. All is not as he had expected it to be. He had selected the creature's features in order that he would appear beautiful, but, seeing him animated by candlelight, Victor can only see him as a "wretch" and a "mummy." Victor, at this point, runs from the room, back into the welcoming embrace of night in the courtyard: he wants to conceal the reality of the situation from himself again, but, ultimately, is unable to do so. The glimmer of light has broken in and illuminated his work, which, previously, he had labored at as a "dream" under cover of darkness. Faced with the reality of how his living creature looks in candlelight, Victor begins to have fits, filled with horror at what he has done.

kimfuji eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Shelley's Frankenstein, light represents the act of discovery. It also represents obtaining knowledge/ enlightenment. In the novel, the main goal of Victor is to seek out the light of understanding. However, as we know, much of nature is a mystery. Victor uncovers dark secrets(the darkness) in the laboratory. (These are secrets he should not know.)In chapter 5 he describes the monster he both loves and hates, that he created. He feels relief when it escapes. This is because he is so conflicted about creating it. The monster learns things on his own, like when there is fire there is light. He is almost hypnotised by fire and that it causes light in the darkness of the woods.When he is burned by it it surprises him.

Remember the myth of Prometheus ? He stole the fire from the gods. Victor cannot obey in a similar manner that Prometheus could not obey Zeus. Victor disregards the "mystery" of life and thinks he can create a human from mere body parts. Victor Frankenstein is a retelling of the Promethean myth of both creation and fire. Fire equals light and represents enlightenment. However going into the realm of nature causes pain; this is the darkness. It is darkness because mere mortals are not permitted to go there. Victor in a sense has the same experience with the fire of enlightenment similar to his monster; however, he is hurt by enlightenment, the way the monster was burned.When he sees the monster by the light of the moon, he realises the horror of his act: trying to create a human being when it was not his right to create it. (And he could not successfully create a human being after all.)

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