Underlying themes in the novel Frankenstein Essay
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Although he could have chosen a male counterpart, he desired that of a female. Shelley creates not only a feeling of isolation through the lack of friendship, but also a sense of incompleteness. She suggests that love cannot exist without friendship, as the only love Victor ever expressed was toward his two best friends; Elizabeth and Clerval. Shelley also creates the theme of opposites; that bonds are often formed between two different individuals, that in turn balance one another.
The most obvious case of this would be between Victor and Clerval.
The two are quite different in several aspects, yet they enjoy life the most when they are together. This ties into the theme mentioned earlier regarding friendship, that individuals balance and complete each other. Frankenstein is constantly obsessed with his studies, pursuing knowledge and discovery. Clerval was simply in love with life, and although he seemingly had interests in education as well, it was merely a way to stay close to his life-long companion.
While Victor is recuperating from one of his several breakdowns, it becomes extremely evident how different he is from his friend. As the two set sail on the water, Clerval marvels at the beauty of nature, life and spring. Victor merely looks at everything with disinterest, thinking of the projects he must soon pursue. Although their minds are in different places, Victor rises out of his melancholy for a time, and is uplifted by the youthful joy of his friend, harmony was the soul of (their) companionship.
It is likely that someone in an extreme state of depression may have been aggravated by someone so elated, but Shelley implies otherwise with the outcome Clerval causes. It is extremely ironic in that the most obvious case of two individuals complimenting each other, and becoming dependent on one another, is between Victor and his creation. Shelley created the two as the most extreme case of opposites, one creating life, and one taking it. The monster was obsessed with obtaining friendship, while Victor was constantly seeking isolation to arrange his thoughts.
Harold Bloom states “Victor represents the feelings, and his nameless monster the intellect” (pp 280). This is quite true, as Victor is driven by emotion; fear, guilt, greed, etc. In contrast the daemon is powered by what he has learned, not what he actually feels. Although it seems he has the ability to become quite emotional, he is driven more so by intellectual passions than anything else. Shelley creates the two this way to show how they compliment each other, and although they are not exactly an example of “friendship”, they are indeed a union of being.
Their lives revolve around one another, neither willing to exist without the pursuit of the other. Indeed, Mary Shelley asserts that individuals are often joined together by their differences. This was shown through “Frankenstein and his scientific interests, Clerval with his poetry” (Masao Miyoshi pp 287) and several other differences in character. It was also ironically demonstrated through the union of Victor and his creation, who were direct mirrors of one another. Mary Shelley uses the interactions and emotions of her characters to express her views on friendship.
Victor and his many acquaintances compliment each other, suggesting that opposites attract, and his deep bond with Elizabeth illustrates Shelley’s views regarding heterosexual relationships. She feels that friendship is a crucial part of being, as man “discovers and fulfills himself through others” (Kiely pp 296). Show preview only The above preview is unformatted text This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Mary Shelley section.