In Frankenstein, what message might Victor be missing when he dreams that his kiss turns Elizabeth into a corpse?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter 5, Victor successfully creates a living monster. However, Victor's creation terrifies him, and he runs out of the room to avoid the creature. That night, Victor is unable to sleep and has nightmares. In his dreams, Victor sees Elizabeth walking the streets of Ingolstadt and kisses her. As soon as Victor kisses Elizabeth in his dream, her lips become "livid with the hue of death," and he sees her turn into the corpse of his dead mother. Victor is startled by his dream and wakes up to see his creation smiling down at him. Victor's dream of Elizabeth turning into a corpse foreshadows her eventual death. Victor does not realize that his negative reaction to the monster's existence will haunt him for the rest of his life. Victor does not heed the warning of his dream and decides to marry Elizabeth, knowing that the monster will seek revenge. Similar to Victor's passion for science and drive to create the monster, his love for Elizabeth will also end in disaster. Elizabeth's corpse in Victor's dream should warn him not to romantically pursue her because it will lead to her death. 

Kristen Lentz eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter Five of Frankenstein, Victor finally realizes his life's dream when he successfully reanimates the creature.  His dream turns into more of a nightmare, however, as he looks upon the fragmented parts of the creature and realizes with horror that he has created an abomination.  Disgusted, he flees from the room, and on that same night, he has the vivid dream of kissing Elizabeth only to have her transform into his mother's corpse. 

In many ways, Victor's dream of kissing Elizabeth is parallel to that of his dream of creating life--both begin beautifully with the promise of goodness but end horrifically in death.  Moreover, Victor should realize that his dream of Elizabeth foreshadows her death.  The kiss they share symbolizes romance, the beginning of a relationship, but it also transforms her into a corpse.  Victor should heed this dream of Elizabeth as a warning; no good will come of his pursuit of her, only death.

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