Frankenstein Questions and Answers
by Mary Shelley

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What is the symbolism of ice in Frankenstein?

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We first see ice in the letters of Robert Walton, who introduces the frame narrative through letters that he writes to his sister. Walton is on a journey to the North Pole in an effort to find a passage from the Pacific to the Atlantic. In this setting, we see ice emerging as a symbol of unexplored territory.

The primary plot follows, with Victor Frankenstein pushing scientific knowledge and boundaries to create a humanlike being via his own, independent work. Frankenstein explores realms of science that have never been touched and lives to regret doing so. He spends most of the book in conflict with the being he's created and offers no guidance or support to the creature. Completely isolated and desperate for companionship, the creature finally returns to his creator to argue that Frankenstein should create a companion for him. Note Frankenstein's inner dialogue:

A creature who could exist in the ice caves of the glaciers and hide himself from pursuit among the ridges of inaccessible...

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