Themes

Download PDF PDF Page Citation Cite Share Link Share

Last Updated on January 31, 2022, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 279

Human Nature

Early in the novel, Perdita suspects infidelity by her husband, Raymond, which leads to a falling out. Additionally, while the world is thrown into turmoil, some characters vie for political control and dominance, as with Raymond’s military conquests in Turkey and Greece. This shows that, even in the darkest times, human nature will still try to take advantage of the situation. On the other hand, Adrian maintains a good heart and spirit in spite of outright enemies and political and social upheaval. Shelley uses the novel to explore the extent to which human nature can be pushed—whether for good or for ill.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

Fear

As the novel progresses, the world is gradually plunged into terror by the events of the wars and the raging plague. However, later in the book, these threats to human well-being increase still further with the rumor of a black sun and the ominous events it portends. The world is already in disarray, but this new level of fear causes chaos in the streets and begins to tear apart whatever vestiges of society remained. The other terrors were normalized fairly quickly, but when a new portent comes, fear is renewed, and the threat again seems imminent.

Homework Help

Latest answer posted December 5, 2018, 5:20 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

Mortality

Death is explored immediately in the book when Lionel’s father perishes. Throughout the rest of the work, people try to cope with the deaths of friends and family, and come to terms with the potential extinction of humanity. This is the most terrifying thing in the story—the idea that life as we know it may cease to exist—and presents an existential crisis that is far beyond what humans are used to experiencing.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Previous

Chapter Summaries

Next

Characters