“Frankenstein,” also known as “The Modern Prometheus” is a famous novel written by Mary Shelley in 1818. In the novel, Shelley narrates about the scientist who created life and was frightened by what he had created. Although the novel focuses on many problems, loneliness and isolation remain the prevailing themes. Every character, including the monster, Victor Frankenstein, and Captain Walton.
The theme of loneliness and isolation is first apparent when Victor Frankenstein gains insight into alchemy. A young scientist after his mother`s death takes part in an unorthodox experiment. Victor believed that it would help him to deal with the grief and loneliness. After his mother`s death, Victor is sent to a prestigious university, where one of the professors stirs Victor`s interest in the nature of life and death. Victor finds it fascinating since his mother has gone, leaving him alone. Escaping from grief, he immerses into scientific observations and experiments. Victor creates a sapient but preposterous monster. It is a large horrifying creature with yellow eyes and skin tissue which barely covers his muscles. Terrified by his invention, Victor escapes, leaving the monster alone.
Monster`s feeling of isolation is evident throughout the whole novel. It is not initially created for murdering and horrifying. The creature is smart and intelligent. However, being abandoned, he suffers from isolation since his appearance does not allow him to adapt to this world. It says “When I looked around I saw and heard of none like me. Was I, the, a monster, a blot upon the earth from which all men fled and whom all men disowned”1. The monster gets mad from his solitude and decides to take revenge. He kills Victor`s brother, William, thus making Victor suffer from loneliness and depression. Unaccepted by this world, the monster lives in the shed of old blind men. There, monster learned French, but when he tried to befriend with the old man, his relatives beat him severely. Mary Shelley seems to emphasize that nobody can live in isolation. Monster asks Victor to create a woman for him. It says “’I am alone and miserable: man will not associate with me; but one as deformed and horrible as myself would not deny herself to me. My companion must be of the same species and have the same defects. This being you must create.”1. Although Victor first agrees, he then destroys the female body, thinking about the potential consequences of this union. Monster`s loneliness is a root cause of Victor`s sufferings. Hence, their solitudes are interconnected. If Victor did not feel isolated after his mother`s death, he would not create the monster, thus condemning it to suffer. The monster would not live in solitude and would never kill Victor`s brother, his best friend, and his wife, thus making him more and more miserable. Victor himself reflects “I, who had ever been surrounded by amiable companions, continually engaged in endeavoring to bestow mutual pleasure – I was now alone”1. This quotation proves that isolation has finally dominated the lives of both.
Captain Walton is the first character who loneliness is emphasized throughout the novel. He dedicates his life to scientific activities. He writes letters to his sister but does not receive any physical support. Walton is a good example of scientist who has abandoned his family ties and dedicated his life to experiments. In his letter to Margaret, Dalton says that he is lonely. “ I have no friend, Margaret: when I am glowing with the enthusiasm of success, there will be none to participate my joy; if I am assailed by disappointment, no one will endeavor to sustain me in dejection”1. This quote shows that Dalton, as well as all the main characters, suffers enormously from isolation. He sacrifices his life in the name of science and discoveries, but he has nobody to share his joy or frustration. Shelley emphasizes that solitude makes people go mad. The isolated living is a curse which ruins people`s from within. Isolation is derived not from the absence of people around but from their inability to understand, accept, and sympathize with the grief of others. Dalton`s life, his sacrifice, and his loneliness are taken for granted. However, unlike monster and Victor, Dalton is given a chance to escape from solitude which destroys people completely. After the maelstrom of events, Victor`s narrations, and his death Dalton makes a decision to turn back his boat. When he finds Victor dead, he sees the monster standing near him and regretting what it has done. The monster promises to go away and commit suicide. The author`s message here is that life in loneliness is not worth living.
Evidently, Mary`s novel “Frankenstein” is dedicated to the problem of loneliness and isolation. Each character suffers from solitude which leads them to grave consequences. Captain Walton is the only person who manages to escape from loneliness. He realizes in time that science will never make compensation for the people who understand and support him. Letters to Margaret will never replace their communication. Unfortunately, Victor and monster`s solitudes are interconnected. Victor creates a monster in an attempt to escape from loneliness. Monster also lives in isolation. His appearance makes him derelict, and he wants to take revenge, killing Victor`s friends and relatives. The author of the novel shows that isolation will kill people if they do not find a way to cope with it as captain did.
- Shelley, M. Frankenstein. Literature.org. http://literature.org/authors/shelley-mary/frankenstein/. Published 2010. Accessed November 18, 2016.