At a Glance

  • Both Victor Frankenstein and the Creature are victims of isolation. At first, Victor's isolation is self-imposed, a result of his intense scientific study. Later, the Creature's rage at being made an outcast leads him to isolate Victor by means of violence and intimidation.
  • Nature and its subversion are important themes in Frankenstein. Victor breaks the laws of nature when he raises the Creature from the dead. His arrogance results in chaos and destruction.
  • Nothing is quite what it seems in Frankenstein. Though the Creature may look monstrous, he is a thoughtful, sympathetic creature driven to violence by circumstance rather than nature.

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Themes

(Novels for Students)

Alienation and Loneliness
Mary Shelley's emphasis on the Faust legend, or the quest to conquer the unknown at the cost of one's humanity, forms a central theme of the novel. The reader continually sees Victor favor his ambition above his friendships and family. Created by a German writer named Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, the Faust myth suggested that the superior individual could throw off the shackles of traditional conventions and alienate himself from society. English Romantic poets, who assumed the status of poet-prophets, believed that only in solitude could they produce great poetry. In Frankenstein , however, isolation only leads to despair. Readers get the distinct feeling that Victor's inquisitive nature causes his emotional and physical peril because he cannot balance his intellectual and social interactions....

(The entire section is 2,677 words.)