This theme of darkness and horror perseveres throughout the chapter and is later further highlighted on the sudden arrival of Clerval. “We ascended into my room, and the servant presently brought breakfast; but I was unable to contain myself It was not joy only that possessed me; I felt my flesh tingle with excess of sensitiveness, and my pulse beat rapidly. I was unable to remain for a single instant in the same place; I jumped over the chairs, clapped my hands, and laughed aloud.
Clerval at first attributed my unusual spirits to joy on his arrival; but when he observed me more attentively he saw a wildness in my eyes for which he could not account; and my loud, unrestrained, heartless laughter frightened and astonished him. ” We witness the sorrow that previously lingered on Victor’s conscience quickly lifted as the scene describes Victor’s positive reaction of skipping over chairs, laughter and clapping. In this lies an example of where Shelley has used contrast as a device.
The sudden switch of emotion to extreme delight highlights the bleakness of the previous scene, and the fact that this response is based solely in madness alone only further continues to accentuate the morbidity of the scene. Chapter 5 stresses the persisting guilt, horror and disgrace that Victor suffers as a consequence of his scientific achievement. “How can I describe my emotions at this catastrophe, or how delineate the wretch whom with such infinite pains and care I had endeavoured to form?
” Oh! no mortal could support the horror of that countenance. A mummy again endued with animation could not be so hideous as that wretch. ” However it is too late to now to realise that the secret he uncovered through his obsessive devotion to science should have remained a mystery. Shelley has revolved this entire chapter around fear and dread of the unknown. “I continued walking in this manner for some time, endeavouring, by bodily exercise, to ease the load that weighed upon my mind.
I traversed the streets, without any clear conception of where I was, or what I was doing. My heart palpitated in the sickness of fear; and I hurried on with irregular steps, not daring to look about me” The creature’s inevitable existence, which for Victor was inescapable, now dominates his life. He does not know what it is capable of what it will do. The atmosphere is dominated by unease, further emphasising Victor’s disgust in his actions, and becomes ill both mentally and physically through anxiety and exhaustion. “I passed the night wretchedly.
Sometimes my pulse beat so quickly and hardly that I felt the palpitation of every artery; at others, I nearly sank to the ground through languor and extreme weakness. ” It is then later, after the creature is a success, when Frankenstein’s two lives, his exterior and interior life of concealment begin to battle. The monster, Victor’s creation begins to demolish everything that exists and is held dearly in Victor’s life. Frankenstein is not just about the plot of a man that creates life. As intended by Mary Shelley it carries a message that her readers are supposed to learn from.
It includes many principles on how society should and shouldn’t act. These beliefs were fashioned by various factors such as her rearing, relationships, and her influence of numerous famous writers and philosophers of her time. These principles can be summarised in the main themes of the novel, these include justice, prejudice and isolation. Shelley clarifies that the Creation is one of many that fall under a victim of injustice. She sought to make her audience consider the injustices that existed in the world on a daily basis, and ultimately do something about it.
Every character at some point suffers injustice, the monster for example, from the very beginning is deserted and left to fend for itself. Victor’s mother shows gentleness in adopting Elizabeth as one of her own and caring for her, especially when she falls sick. Injustice is done to her however when she later dies of the same illness after minding Elizabeth to a full recovery. Just like her mother, Mary strongly believed in social justice, meaning that as a society it is our duty to look out for one, regardless of status, class or wealth.
Possibly, bearing this in mind it could be concluded that in the novel the most reasonable and reliable characters are female. But are treated with unjust retribution throughout and finally punished with whether it may be destiny, Victor’s creation, or in actual fact the entire organization of justice itself. Prejudice, or having an irrational dislike of someone with little or no reason, is a persistent theme carried throughout. Interestingly, this also links to other various themes such as isolation, appearance, reality and morality.
The first main occurrence of this is expressed when Frankenstein deserts his creation, immediately after giving it life. Those who stumble upon the monster are all instantly mislead by its hideous appearance into believing it will harm them, when in truth its intentions are completely pure and is just miserably eager to be loved. This makes us, the reader; question ourselves and how we have treated those solely based on their appearance when in fact it is may be us who should judge ourselves.
Surprisingly Victor also experiences prejudice, when he is washed ashore in Ireland where he is instantly labelled as suspicious and treated aggressively. Here he is falsely accused of murder and called a ‘villain’. Similarly Justine the loyal minder of Victor’s young brother William suffers prejudice and is punished with death when she is heartbreakingly accused of murdering a child and her beloved William, no less. Another theme expressed throughout is the suffering of physical or emotional isolation. Walton decides to isolate himself in this frozen wasteland, however soon shows remorse with the lack of a true companion on his expedition.
Likewise Victor also chooses to separate himself, firstly when at university in Ingolstadt, when he cuts off all contact with his loved ones, in order to create life. Soon after, he neglects Elizabeth, his most affectionate, reliable friend, solely out of fear she will uncover his disturbing secret. Unlike Walton and Victor, the monster does not bring this upon itself. Instead, shortly after its birth it attempts to make contact with various individuals and connect with them, but wrongly continues to suffer abuse, which ends in self-imposed isolation in the dump next to the De Lacey’s cottage.
Mary Shelley’s message here is that isolation, whether self-imposed or not, can only result in sorrow, the collapse of society and, in due course, disastrous consequences. In reading and studying this chapter I have come to gain a better understanding and knowledge of to what extent literature was deemed suitable in pronunciation and style for the average reader during the 19th century. The density of the wording along with a wide vocabulary gives the audience an improved insight into society’s expectations for an educated reader.
Furthermore, through exploring themes and characters included in this chapter gave me a greater appreciation into the nature of the conflict between man, god, nature and science that dominated society in the 19th century. Countless poems during the time of Mary Shelley reflect similar principles, thoughts and conflict which can be found in Frankenstein. The book also provides an introduction into a new Gothic Horror style that was to later be continued into the 19th century by famous authors such as Edgar Allan Poe and further into our modern day.