What are some important symbols in Frankenstein?

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Nature is an important symbol of the power that Frankenstein wishes to harness in order to create his race of monsters. Like the good Romantic he is, Victor is positively mesmerized by the forces of nature, as can be seen in the remarkable passage where he goes into raptures over the play of lightning on the summit of Mont Blanc. For the Romantics, nature was not just something pretty to look at; it was a powerful life-force in its own right.

As well as providing an endless source of wonder, the natural world managed to combine both beauty and terror, invoking a feeling of the sublime deep within the Romantic soul. That's precisely what Victor feels when he beholds the astonishing scene on Mont Blanc. And it's that same feeling that he wishes to evoke in others through his creation of a new race. He wants the whole of humanity to be as overawed by him and his creatures as he is by the play of lightning about the mountaintop.

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There are a couple important symbols in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.


Light is a symbol which represents knowledge. For the two main characters in the text, Victor and the creature, knowledge is of the utmost importance. Both desire to shed light upon their lives. Victor's search for Forbidden Knowledge will shed light on the scientific community regarding death and reanimation. As for the creature, his desire for knowledge revolves around his need to find his identity. At the same time, light tends to hurt the eyes of the creature (in the same way his knowledge of his birth hurts him).


The symbol of fire is important for the creature. When cold, fire is able to warm a person. When the creature first discovers fire, he places his hand within the flame and is burned. This is ironic, given he needs to fire to stay warm. At the same time, this symbol mirrors the symbol of light: what the creature desires harms him.

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