I. The pursuit of knowledge is at the heart of Frankenstein. In the letters at the beginning of the novel, Robert Walton had been writing to his sister of how he longs to travel the seas and attempts to surpass previous human explorations by endeavoring to reach the North Pole. Due to his pursuit of knowledge, he finds himself in a dangerous position trapped between sheets of ice. Victor’s pursuit of knowledge started from when he was just a child.
The narrator begins to pick apart and identify the aspects of his personality that will eventually lead to his downfall.
He possesses what he calls a “thirst for knowledge. ” Thirst, of course, is a fundamental human need, necessary to one’s very survival. Victor’s desire to learn, therefore, is driven by nothing so insubstantial as curiosity. It is instead the precondition of his very being. The fascinations of the human soul and how the body works, intensifying his thirst by reading the books of Cornelius Agrippa, Paracelsus and Albertus Magnus.
As Victor attempts to surge beyond accepted human limits and access the secret of life, his creation ends up destroying everyone that he had care for.
Although the two had a thirst for knowledge, one quickly realized that they had chosen a dangerous path, Robert Walton. “You seek for knowledge and wisdom, as I once did; and I ardently hope that the gratification of your wishes may not be a serpent to sting you, as mine has been. ” ( letter IV pg 39)From the wise words of Victor, Walton ultimately pulls back from his treacherous mission, having learned from Victor’s example how destructive the thirst for knowledge can be.
The theme of the pursuit of knowledge leads into the theme of secrecy. Victor keeps his studies and his experiment of his creation a secret.
He also keeps the knowledge of Williams killer a secret because it was his creation of the monster that murdered the innocent boy. II. In chapter two, Victor witnesses the destructive power of nature when, during a raging storm, lightning destroys a tree near his house. “ It was not splintered by the shock, but entirely reduced to thin ribands of wood. I never beheld anything so utterly destroyed. ” (pg 48) Therefore Victor had witnessed the destructive powers of nature and was astonished that something so beautiful could be destroyed so abruptly.
The world of nature that is expressed in the book can be argued that it affects the moods of characters in the novel. The sublime natural world, embraced by Romanticism as a source of unrestrained emotional experience for the individual. It initially offers characters the possibility of spiritual renewal. Mired in depression and remorse after the deaths of William and Justine, for which Victor responsible, Victor heads to the mountains to lift his spirits. The harsh winter that Victor endured symbolised depression and remorse. As well, after a the hellish winter of cold and abandonment, the monster feels his heart lighten as spring arrives.
The influence of nature on mood is evident throughout the novel, but for Victor, the natural world’s power to console him wanes when he realizes that the monster will haunt him no matter where he goes. By the end, as Victor chases the monster obsessively, nature, in the form of the Arctic desert, functions simply as the symbolic scenery for his primal struggle against the monster. III. Victor has been in a stage of secrecy since he was a child. Because of his interests and ambitions that no one could understand, he stayed in secrecy.
Victor conceives of science as a mystery to be examined and discover its secrets, once discovered, must be jealously guarded. He considers M. Krempe, the natural philosopher he meets at Ingolstadt, a model scientist: “an uncouth man, but deeply imbued in the secrets of his science. ” Victor’s entire obsession with creating life is shrouded in secrecy, and his obsession with destroying the monster remains equally secret until Walton hears his tale. Whereas Victor continues in his secrecy out of shame and guilt, the monster is forced into seclusion by his bizarre appearance.
Walton serves as the final confessor for both, and their tragic relationship becomes immortalized in Walton’s letters. In confessing all just before he dies, Victor escapes the stifling secrecy that has ruined his life; likewise, the monster takes advantage of Walton’s presence to forge a human connection, hoping desperately that at last someone will understand, and empathize with, his miserable existence. IV. The way Mary Shelley wrote the novel Frankenstein is in first person point of view. By having the book in first person the reader is able to witness Victor’s life story on a different level.
This helps the reader have a better understanding of what’s going on in the novel. If the novel was written in another form, the reader would probably have great difficulty understanding Victor’s story. Other pieces of works were also mention in the novel such as Paradise Lost. The texts and languages strongly associate with the story as well with other themes in the novel. “It moved every feeling of wonder and awe, that the picture of an omnipotent God warring with his creatures was capable of exciting. I often referred the several situations, as their similarity struck me, to my own.
Like Adam, I was apparently united by no link to any other being in existence; but state was far from different from mine in every other respect. He had come forth from the hands of God a perfect creature, happy and prosperous, guarded by the especial care of his Creator, he was allowed to converse with, and acquire knowledge from, beings of a superior nature, but I was wretched, helpless and alone. ” (Ch. XV, page 116) As stated in the quote, the monster is comparing himself and the relationship of him and his creator to the story that he reads in Paradise Lost.
The reader can relate to the monster and can see his point of view of how he is mistreated by his creator unlike Adam in the Story. V. In Victor’s case, his isolation comes from pursuing his ambitions, choosing his ambition over the people around him. Even when Victor finishes creating his creature, his feelings of melancholy and guilt overwhelm him so that he cannot have solace from those around him. Though Victor is alone once the Creature has killed his family, this isolation could also be considered brought upon by Victor himself.
Victor’s isolation, then, should create in him a sense of guilt or atonement for his creation of a Creature who stripped him of those friends and family surrounding him; however, Victor only seeks vengeance and his continued state of melancholy. The Creature, on the other hand, is isolated because of Victor. Victor was the Creature’s creator and should have provided and taught the creature, taking responsibility instead of running away. He also is isolated by society because of his appearance, which is, again, not the Creature’s fault.
Compared to Victor, the Creature is far more isolate, and we can see that this isolation is superior to that of Victor because of the drastic measures the Creature takes in order to be with people. Victor does not really consciously attempt to engage with those around him, but the Creature does, craving companionship and a way to release himself from his isolation. Ultimately, the Creature cannot become part of any community so this isolation creates rage inside of the monster and leads him to commit the acts that ultimately isolate Victor. VI.
In the novel Frankenstein by mary shelley there is a clear comparison between the creature and Victor to God and Satan. Victor and the creature are mostly compared to God and Satan. Victor was so blind by his determination to recreate that he was too late to realize exactly what he was creating. He saw that he wasn’t creating life but he was just twisting death. God also regretted his creation after it was too late. In the novel, Frankenstein, Mary Shelley intertwines the relationships between her characters through their insatiable desires for knowledge.
The actions of these characters, predominantly the monster, allude to Satan, in John Milton’s epic poem, Paradise Lost. Both the monster and Satan are fixated on vengeance because of the parallel rejection they are faced with in their respective works. Vengeance becomes the principal theme during the course of both works and it fuels the fire for the consciences’ of the monster and Satan’s every judgment. Rejection by creator plays a vital role in the plots of both the monster and Satan. Victor’s creature, born innocent, tried to fit in the world that he was put into.
But the constant rejection and isolation from the very beings that he longed to interact with caused him to evolve into a self-acknowledged Satan, from Paradise Lost. The monster immediately upon setting eyes on the world is abandoned and rejected by Victor Frankenstein. The monster states, “It is with considerable difficulty that I remember the original era of my being; all the events of that period appear confused and indistinct. ” (Shelley 194) VII. Throughout the novel, Victor has been struggling with his identity. He was isolated because of his interests in philosophy that no one else had.
“ When i was thirteen years of age, we all went on a party of pleasure to the baths near Thonon:… i chanced to find a volume of the works of Cornelius Agrippa…I communicated my discovery to my father. My father looked carelessly at the titlepage of my book, and said, “Ah! Cornelius Agrippa! My dear Victor, do not waste your time upon this: it is sad trash. ” ” ( pg 46 chap II) Victor’s interest were not accepted therefore he kept to himself and became non social. Thus hindering the aid of finding his identity. The creature also struggled with his quest to find his identity.
His creator was filled with disgust at the first sight of him. Without hesitation he shunned his creation and ran away from him. The monster was left with no one to teach him how to love, no one to teach him social skills, how to live, the creature had to fend for himself in every case. This left the monster to question his identity, “Was I then a monster, a blot upon the earth, from which all men fled, and whom all men disowned. ” This leads him to doubt himself, and actually contemplate suicide. Not knowing one’s identity can be troublesome for someone.
It can make one question everything they do, every move every thought questions. This can put a strain on ones life and cause them to feel depressed and suicidal. We can see this in the monster and Victor throughout the novel. Although the creature starts to realize that he is alone, there is no other like him. This helps him create an identity for himself. He can characterize himself as an outsider. The theme of identity helps the reader to have a stronger understanding of the characters. In the novel of Frankenstein it can be argued that the theme of religion has been illustrated within the book.
While many people view Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” as a horror novel, it is also to be believed it has more of a religious background due to the insertion of “Paradise Lost” into the story. The story of God creating Adam is a popular topic in this story and is also believed that Shelly had intended for “Frankenstein” to be an allegory for the story of creation. In the instructional novel of How to read Literature Like a Professor, chapter five and seven can be used to make a connection with the novel of Frankenstein.
In chapter five of the instructional manual of How to read Literature Like a Professor, the author explains how stories overlap in a way. Book are never totally original. They all use similar characters with similar personalities. Authors use other authors to influence their style of writing and what they write about. In the novel, Mary Shelley introduces the story “ Paradise Lost”, to make a comparison and difference between the creature with Adam. “ But ‘Paradise Lost’ excited different and far deeper emotions.
I read it, as i had read the other volumes which had fallen into my hands as a true history… I often referred the several situations, as their similarity struck me, to my own. Like Adam. ” This quote can prove that the creation referred to the story of “Paradise Lost” and used it as a comparison to its own situation. Therefore stories indeed did overlap in a way. In chapter seven of the instructional manual of How to read Literature Like a Professor, it is mainly about how every piece of literature is somehow related to or referring to the Bible. They all involve things such as temptation, betrayal, denial, etc.
Also, writers refer to the Bible because almost everybody knows at least some of the stories from the Bible. The novel Frankenstein expresses religion because Victors obsession with recreating life. He takes a place as God and the creature takes the place of Adam. The story of God and Adam was used in the novel to draw out the use of religion. Chapter seven also connects to Frankenstein because he felt the temptation of knowing the secrets of nature. ” The world was to me secret which i desired to divine. ” As quoted, Victor had temptation for knowledge. Therefore temptation was involved in the novel.
Therefore, the instructional manual of How to read Literature Like a Professor and the novel Frankenstein are relatable. The manual is solely based on teaching rising students like me how to think, and change my perspective in order to get the deeper meaning behind a piece of literature. In Frankenstein the Monster, who is thought to be illiterate, watches the Frankenstein family and teaches himself to eat, sleep, and hold himself like them. He teaches himself to be a more sophisticated human being by watching this family similar to the way millions of students are teaching themselves to be more sophisticated by reading this manual.