Isolation in Frankenstein
The Isolation of Victor Frankenstein Isolation and loneliness can do great injustices to the human brain. People are programed to function in cohabitation with others of their kind, to form relationships with them. So, when these relationships fail or seem to be absent from one’s life, the aloneness can ache.
In Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, the reader sees the developing isolation of Victor Frankenstein, which can be attributed to his personality and upbringing, as well as his unwavering obsession with his scientific success. Certain people seem to have something in their genetic make up which makes them more social than others.
These people seem to interact with crowds at ease and, as the social butterflies within their peers, tend to avoid isolation. Victor Frankenstein is not one of these people. It is not necessarily a fault of Victor, but merely a reality. As he would explain, it simply “was my temper to avoid a crowd, and to attach myself fervently to a few (19). ” This personality trait contributed to the increasing isolation Victor became subject to. The few he so fervently attached himself to exclusively included his own family and Clerval, all of whom stayed behind upon his departure to Ingolstadt.
Victor explained, “I was indifferent… to my schoolfellows in general (19). ” So, once he was away at school, for the first time feeling the absence of his “familiar faces”, he felt alone and “totally unfitted for the company of strangers (25). ” Victor’s struggle with his natural “repugnance to new countenances (25)” led to him feeling truly alone for the first time in his life. Ultimately, the natural ways of Victor combined with his comfortable and domestic upbringing had left him sheltered and timid. This reality made the culture shock of leaving home a lonely one.
Another factor that contributed to Frankenstein’s isolation was his fixation on his learning and scientific endeavors. Victor agreed with the theory that “If the study to which you apply yourself has a tendency to weaken your affections, and to destroy your taste for those simple pleasures… that study is certainly unlawful… not benefitting the human mind (34). ” However, this is precisely what his experiments do to him. Victor loses track of time, forgets all his simple pleasures, and neglects all of his other responsibilities. He no longer took time to appreciate nature or keep in touch with his family.
He was so engrossed in his work that he said, “I grew alarmed at the wreck I perceived I had become”, bothered by “slow fevers and nerves to a most painful degree” (34). Frankenstein allowed his ever increasing desire for knowledge and progress to control all aspects of his life and isolate him from all the outer workings of his world. Even upon the success of all he had been working towards, his isolation grew even more extreme. At that point, he had not only become completely secluded to the instruments of his laboratory, but had created a terrifying creature he feared he would never escape.
Victor had become blinded by his scientific curiosity and cut himself off from the world for the sake of accomplishing his goals. He found himself neck deep in worries, feeling utterly alone. Victor Frankenstein subjects himself to isolation throughout the novel. He allows himself, personally susceptible to self isolation, something to fixate on. It is this combination that leaves him missing his family and eventually void of a connection with the world beyond his laboratory. And, as previously stated, the ache of this isolation can do great injustices to the human brain, shoving towards his dismal destiny.