What are the main themes in chapter 5 of the novel Frankenstein?

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One theme that emerges in this chapter is the importance of family and close friendships—and this will be a major theme of the novel. When VictorFrankenstein "escapes" from the creature he's made with his own hands, he is terrified and alone. However, as soon as he runs into...

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One theme that emerges in this chapter is the importance of family and close friendships—and this will be a major theme of the novel. When Victor Frankenstein "escapes" from the creature he's made with his own hands, he is terrified and alone. However, as soon as he runs into Clerval, his feelings are immediately calmed:

Nothing could equal my delight on seeing Clerval; his presence brought back to my thoughts my father, Elizabeth, and all those scenes of home so dear to my recollection. I grasped his hand, and in a moment forgot my horror and misfortune; I felt suddenly, and for the first time during many months, calm and serene joy.

Friendship is comforting, and knowledge of his family's well-being gives him great peace. By contrast, he has left his creation utterly alone in its first utterances of speech and as it reached out for him. He denies his own creation the very relationships which bring him the greatest comforts.

Another theme that becomes evident in this chapter is the destructive power of guilt. Frankenstein becomes violently ill for months following his abandonment of the creature. Unable to care for himself, Frankenstein relies on Clerval to guide him back to health. The "nervous fever" which Frankenstein succumbs to confines him to bed; it is a direct result of his growing remorse over stitching together a humanlike being without giving proper thought to the outcome. Frankenstein had been so consumed with proving his adeptness concerning scientific knowledge that the goal of the creation, not the eventual outcome, became his focus. Thus, he really hadn't considered what he might do when his efforts proved successful—and at this point, he still doesn't know. This guilt overcomes him physically, and his mind basically shuts down for a while.

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The events of chapter 5 constitute a prime illustration of the old maxim "Be careful what you wish for—you just might get it." For years, Frankenstein has dreamed of creating his very own creature, the first in an entire race that will soon populate the globe, bowing down before their maker and worshipping him like a god. But as he looks in horror upon his hideous creation, Victor is immediately confronted with the reality of his deranged fantasies. He's not a god after all; he's just a man.

The sheer ugliness of the Monster appalls him, not least because in the face of the Monster, Frankenstein can see the ugliness that lurks deep within his own soul. For the first time in his life, Frankenstein has achieved a moment of self-awareness, and he's genuinely disturbed by what he discovers.

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Chapter five is a pivotal chapter in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein because it is here that the creature takes its first breath, stirs, and seeks a connection with its maker, Victor Frankenstein. The pathos of the creature's confusion and desire to connect with Frankenstein and the scientist's fear and remorse will remain prominent themes throughout the rest of the novel.

Frankenstein's destructive single-mindedness to "explore unknown powers, and unfold to the world the deepest mysteries of creation" leads him to create the creature. Immediately after he succeeds in what has become his life's work, his single-mindedness turns to fleeing the consequences of what he has achieved. His psychological and physical collapse is the consequence of his lifelong indulgence in his obsessive pursuit. What will replace it as the novel unfolds will be an obsession with destroying what he has created. Thus, Shelley suggests that Frankenstein's obsession with creation and destruction wastes his life and causes the death of others because he has taken upon himself the ability replicate the work of a higher power.

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I assume you mean Volume 1, Chapter 5 of Frankenstein, and not Volume 2?

The main themes are in bold:

Creation of Life from Death: Victor wants to "infuse a spark of being into the lifeless thing that lay at my feet" and

God vs. Man vs. Monster: Ironically, Victor (a god who can create new life) calls the Monster both a "catastrophe" and a "Beautiful!--Great God!"  The duality of horror and fascination of life is prevalent in the Romantic artist.

Fantasy vs. Reality: At once, Victor denies the reality of his creation.  He tries to abort it.  As such, he exiles both it and himself.  As a result, he is haunted by "the wildest dreams."  This foreshadows the revenge of the monster against him for abandoning him.

Mythical Allusions: This chapter is like the Biblical Creation of Man in Genesis and the Promethean Myth of Fire and Coleridge's "Rime of the Ancient Mariner."  Victor even quotes it: "Like one who, on a lonely road, Doth walk in fear and dread, And, having once turned round, walks on, And turns no more his head; Because he knows a frightful fiend Doth close behind him tread."  As such, there is immediate guilt, punishment, and shame involved in the fall of man.

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