Loss and Isolation Themes of “Frankenstein”
A limited time offer! Get a custom sample essay written according to your requirements urgent 3h delivery guaranteedOrder Now
Isolation is a common human tendency that society uses to deal with a stressful situation. In the timeless novel “Frankenstein”, by Mary Shelly, there is a constant theme of isolation, leading to loss and tragedy. Consequently, this theme becomes exponential as the loss and tragedy lead to more isolation. The cycle continues throughout the story, up to the point where both Victor Frankenstein and his creature die near the North Pole. The creature and Doctor Frankenstein are constantly repulsed by each other keeping their cycle of loss and isolation in motion.
The first presentation of isolation in the novel is that of Victor Frankenstein. In the isolation of the town Ingolstadt he searches for knowledge on the secrets of life. However, Victor only uses the secrets he has uncovered to reanimate a dead body and create a monster. Victor describes his situation, “I had worked hard for nearly two years, for the sole purpose of infusing life into an inanimate body. I had desired it with an ardour that far exceeded moderation; but now that I had finished, the beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled my heart” (Shelly 48-49). Frankenstein has shown the first example of how isolation leads to his tragedy. He stays in his apartment alone, obsessing over creating life, not thinking of consequences of his actions. This traumatic event causes Frankenstein to flee his apartment, leaving his creation alone.
This action however leaves Victor’s creature in isolation and confusion. Now the cycle continues and the creature must try to survive on his own, in seclusion. The creature comes across humans, but they only see him as a monster and attack him without any reason besides his appearance. The creature is extremely lonely and confused as he tries to make sense of why people hate him, though he has not yet done wrong. After the monster realizes that he will never fit in with the human race, he comes to the conclusion that “…from that moment I declared everlasting war against the species, and more than all, against him who had formed me and sent me forth to this insupportable misery” (Shelly 138). The creature is alone and hopeless beginning to feel vengeful towards his creator, which leads to the murders of innocent people.
Frankenstein isolates himself yet again in fear of the monster, as he accepts the monster’s request to build another creature, a female companion to ease the loneliness. Victor wants to stop the cycle of revenge and hate by beginning to build the second creature in the isolation of his laboratory. Victor’s isolation is once again followed by loss and tragedy, as he decides to destroy the female creature. The monster is enraged and tells Victor that he will be watching Frankenstein on the night of his wedding. The monster still infuriated murders Clerval to show Victor the pain of not having a best friend to be with. At the horror of his best friend’s death, Victor is heartbroken and isolates himself in the Irish prison cell. Only once he realizes that the monster is still free to murder anyone at any time, Victor gathers his courage to go home.
Victor sinks further into isolation when the monster murders his wife on their wedding night. This is Victor’s greatest loss as Elizabeth was his only means of escaping isolation. “If you knew what I have suffered and what I may yet endure, you would endeavor to let me taste the quiet and freedom from despair that this one day at least permits me to enjoy” (Shelly 200). Victor now has no reason to escape isolation. There is no one left but his father alive, which leaves his thoughts open to be full of revenge.
The last and largest step that Frankenstein makes into isolation is when his beloved father dies. Victor is now alone with no close family of friends left. He is completely isolated, but this time not by choice. Previously, Victor always chose in some way to seclude himself. The creature now shows his creator what it feels like forced into isolation. Victor accepts his isolation and gives in to his revenge following his creature into the mountains, across rivers and to the barren northern part of the world. The only thing left for Frankenstein to hold onto is his revenge. He does not attempt to find someone to love or someone to love him. He willingly goes into isolation for the last time. Victor realizes this during his last days, in the company of Walton as he explains, “…life … was indeed hateful to me and it was during sleep alone that I could taste joy” (Shelly 213). Victor Frankenstein hates his isolation, yet he remains isolated just to satisfy his revenge. Victor becomes ill from exhaustion from following the monster and dies in the bed of Walton’s boat. The creature for the first time, willingly wanders off into isolation as his hate for his creator has been satisfied, the monster no longer feels the need to exist. The creature dies on a slab of ice, alone.
Isolation is how Victor Frankenstein chooses to deal with stressful situations. Isolation is what was forced onto the monster. Both Frankenstein and the creature are isolated from society and suffer for it. It is because of Victor’s isolation in Ingolstadt that the monster is created. It is the monsters isolation that causes his hate for his creator. When Victor is isolated in his laboratory a second time, he chooses not to give the monster a companion. They both isolate themselves, and both become miserable when they are isolated. In the novel Frankenstein, by Mary Shelly, there is a constant theme of isolation, leading to loss and tragedy. The matter worsens and grows as their tragedies lead to more isolation. This cycle only ends with Victor’s death, because without Victor Frankenstein alive, the creature has no reason to suffer or to cause more pain. Frankenstein and his creation share the connections of isolation and loss.