Relationship Between Frankenstein and His Creature

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The downfall of Dr. Frankenstein in Mary Shelley’s novel is directly correlated with the humanization of the creature he creates. Through the development of both these characters, Shelley communicates ideas of companionship and the abuse of knowledge as well as raising the question as to what makes people human. Shelley responds to her Gothic, post-Enlightenment and Romantic context, drawing on important Gothic techniques such as the use of sublimes, Gothic polarities and isolated setting. The Age of Reason is also reflected in the novel’s scientific content. Shelley uses a set of letters written by a man called Walton to his sister Margaret as a framing device for her novel. However, these letters act as more than a framing device. They introduce Walton as a Frankenstein’s doppelganger, foreshadowing the most pivotal idea of the novel: the importance of companionship. Walton’s “desire [for] the company of a man who would sympathise with [him]” highlights this importance, as he had abandoned all that had loved him for his “love for the marvellous”, prioritizing his ambitions over his companions. Walton’s loneliness is reflected in the “icy climes” of the Arctic, “encompassed by frost and snow”. This unwelcoming, hostile environment is also pre-emptive of society’s treatment of Frankenstein’s monster. In the opening letters, we begin to see Shelley’s contextual links, mainly through Walton’s referencing Coleridge’s “land of mist and snow” and “Ancient Mariner”. This reference also acts as a foreshadowing device – both Frankenstein and the Ancient Mariner disrupt the course of nature, and both are condemned to tell their tale to any who would listen. Volume I of the novel recounts Victor’s childhood to us, allowing us to see how he changes as the tale progresses. Victor describes his childhood as “guided by a silken cord” an as a “train of enjoyment”, showing how
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