The Mortal Immortal Themes
by Mary Shelley

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The Mortal Immortal Themes

Immortality as a Blessing and a Curse

A major theme in “The Mortal Immortal” lies in Winzy’s struggle between wanting to die and fearing death. Winzy has outlived his family and loved ones and now lives in misery and loneliness. He claims to wish for death. He sees death as a final rest from the woes of life. Despite this, Winzy also claims that “the more I live, the more I dread death.” While his immortality is a blessing that has extended his youth and life, it also acts as a curse: his immortality increases his fear of and need for death, forcing him to live in an indecisive state between fear and desire.

This “curse” is reminiscent of the creature’s predicament in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. The creature was created outside the laws of nature, and by that was doomed to be reviled and feared by all who saw him. Since Winzy drank an elixir of immortality, he inadvertently broke the laws of nature by giving himself eternal life—an arguably unnatural state for a human to be in. Just as the creature in Frankenstein was created outside of the bounds of nature, so does Winzy exist outside the bounds of nature as a mortal immortal.

Poverty and Love as Opposed to Wealth and Status

The theme of poverty and love as better than wealth and status is shown through Bertha and Winzy’s relationship. First, Bertha’s kind and humble nature is shown to be corruptable by Bertha’s wealthy caretaker and her sudden ascent into the upper class. Bertha acts cruelly and unfairly towards Winzy, who has done nothing but truly love her. However, when Bertha sees Winzy’s changed demeanor after he drinks the potion, she agrees to marry him. Furthermore, Bertha’s choice to marry Winzy is influenced by her...

(The entire section is 447 words.)