Frankenstein and the Effects of Isolation
Isolation is the separation from others and/or society whether it be physically or emotionally. In the novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, I believe that a central theme is that the isolation from family and society, especially at a time when one is faced with difficulty, can have a negative effect on a person.
The main characters in the story, Victor Frankenstein and the monster, both experience the same suffering of being alone in different ways.
The negative consequences are the death of their loved one and eventually the end of their own. Frankenstein chooses to be isolated from society and his family on his own.He travels away from home for his desire to obtain more knowledge about natural philosophy. He fancied about creating something new, something no one has ever done before. “I will pioneer a new way, explore unknown powers, and unfold to the world the deepest mysteries of creation” (42). So then he created the monster.
As soon as the monster awoke, Frankenstein ran away in fear for he created something so hideous that he couldn’t bare to even look at it. “My heart palpitated in the sickness of fear; and I hurried on with irregular steps, not daring to look about me” (51).Frankenstein emotionally isolated himself and soon fell ill. He couldn’t speak about it to anyone because he was too ashamed of himself for creating the monster. Unlike Frankenstein, the monster was forced to live in a world of isolation physically because of his appearance. He did not look like a human with his yellow eyes and muscles showing through his barely there skin. His face was threatening and he didn’t fit in with society even though he longed for acceptance.
“I possessed no money, no friends, no kind of property.I was, besides, endowed with a figure hideously deformed and loathsome I cannot describe to you the agony that these reflections inflicted upon me” (148). The monster wanted attention and the only way he knew how to get it was to kill anyone he could that was close to his creator, Frankenstein. The monster turns vengeful, but not because he is evil. It’s because the monster is filled up with overwhelming hate and anger because there is no one out there like him. The more he killed Victor’s loved ones, the more attention the creature received from Victor. Eventually he had illed everyone close to Victor and had gained Victor’s full attention, when Victor vowed to do everything within his “power to seize the monster” (190).
Now both Victor and the creature had no one to love, only one person to seek revenge from. Isolation eventually leads to death is another recurring theme within the story. The monster kills everyone around close to Frankenstein because he wants him to know what it feels like to be alone. He started with his younger brother William which also resulted in the death of Justine who was blamed for the tragic incident.Even though Frankenstein knew it was his fault his brother died, he couldn’t speak the truth in fear of what might happen to him. Next was Clerval, his best friend from childhood. Finally it was his beloved wife, Elizabeth.
Isolation has a negative effect on Frankenstein by making him fall ill. “But I was in reality very ill; and surely nothing but the unbounded and unremitting attentions of my friend could have restored me to life. The form of the monster on whom I had bestowed existence was forever before my eyes. By very slow degrees, and with frequent relapses that alarmed and grieved my friend, I recovered” (55).With Clerval by his side, Frankenstein recovered because he needed social interaction with someone he knew. Clerval opened up the pathways of communication to his family which is a way of getting back to the norm of society. Being alone made him feel worse and with his friend near, he gained back his life that he missed when he was tucked away creating the monster.
He returned back home to Geneva shortly after to escape his creation, only to find that it was already there and had already started his revenge. The monster longed for companionship as he hid away by himself longing for social interaction with the humans.He learned their language and observed how they interacted with each other and he desired the acceptance of society as a whole. In chapter 15, the monster decides to reveal himself to the cottagers he’s been observing. He first approaches De Lacy, a blind man, and because De Lacy could not see him, he did not reject him either. He says to De Lacy, “I am an unfortunate and deserted creature; I look around, and I have no relation or friend upon earth. These amiable people whom I go have never seen me, and know little of me.
I am full of fears; for if I fail there, I am an outcast in the world forever” (119). De Lacy befriends him and says that he would try and help the monster. “I am blind, and cannot judge of your countenance, but there is something in your words which persuades me that you are sincere” (120). This shows that without knowing what the monster looked like, he was a good being and De Lacy held no prejudices against him. The monster asks De Lacy to protect him and to introduce him to his family, but they came home right that second. Agatha fainted and Safie rushed out of the cottage.Felix through the monster out and this is when he realized that he will never ever be accepted in society and from this moment on, he swears to revenge himself against all humans, especially his creator.
I believe this proves that the monster was not created evil. He is like a human with the feelings of wanting to be accepted and to have friends. Through isolation from society, the negative consequences results in the vengeance of the monster. Throughout the novel, the feelings of hatred and isolation shared between Victor and the monster, led both of them to their own self-destruction.Frankenstein loss everything and ventured out to find the monster so he could seek revenge. It took too long and the hardships of being alone eventually lead to his death. When Frankenstein passed, Walton found the monster crying by his side.
He never meant to kill his creator and then realizes that what he did was wrong. His only companion was gone and now the monster grieved for the death of his creator. Isolation, both physically and emotionally, brought out the evil side to the characters. It caused them to do things that were not in their nature and then in the end, they both paid for it with their lives.