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Frankenstein Theme

There are many different themes expressed in Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein. They
vary with each reader but basically never change. These themes deal with the
education that each character posses, the relationships formed or not formed in
the novel, and the responsibility for ones own actions. This novel even with the
age still has ideas that can be reasoned with even today. Each character has
their own educational background, which in turn has a large effect to the way
they react and deal with the issues that face them. One example of this is
Victor Frankenstein; he took his education into his own hands. When he went to
the University of Inglostaldt he intoxicated himself with the sciences so deeply
that he never imagined the morality of what he was doing. He stayed so involved
and focused on his experiments that he did not take into mind what could happen
because of the size of the creature. Victor said: Although I possessed the
capacity of bestowing animation, yet to prepare a frame for the reception of it,
with all its intricacies of fibres, muscles and veins, still remained a work of
inconceivable difficulty… As the minuteness of the parts formed a great
hindrance to my speed, I resolved, contrary to my first intention, to make the
being of a gigantic stature; that is to say about eight feet in height, and
proportionately large. (52) But when he finished the science that brought him
there has also scared him away. On page 56 Victor tells about the creation and
what it meant to him and what happened when life filled the body: I had worked
hard for nearly two years, for the sole purpose of infusing life into an
inanimate body. For this I had deprived myself of rest and health. 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.

(56) Victor’s education has leaded him to be able to create a monster but not
let him fully think out the havoc that might be unleashed. His education only
let him create a monster but never taught him how to care for it; this ends up
resulting in the loss of innocent lives. This theme is also present when looking
at the creation’s education. He received most of his education hands on, by
himself, and by the observation of others, especially the De Laceys. “A
strange multiplicity of sensations seized me, and I saw felt, heard, and smelt,
at the same time; and it was indeed, a long time before I learned to distinguish
between my operations of my various senses” (98). He watched the De Laceys
and learned how to talk, read, and how to love. He read about the creation of
Adam and compared himself to the story of the fallen angel. This education may
not be the deepest or most rational but it does connect deep into the minds of
the reader. Though education in this novel helps to form some of the bonds
between characters the bonds that do not form play an important role in
Frankenstein. The most prevalent relationship that does not ever truly form is
that between the Victor and his creation. Victor, during his making of the
creature, is so proud and infatuated with the idea of what he is bringing to the
world; but when life flows through the veins of the creature Victor is terrified
and abandons him. He could not stand to see the wretch of a being that he
created. Before the creature was alive he was beautiful to Victor. This
abandonment set the relationship out on thin ice in the beginning. Victor had no
one to tell him how to handle the problem and take care of the creature so in
turn he ran from the creature. This situation is like that of a parent but
Victor’s idea was more of possession, ownership, and success of the creation
itself. Victor’s character was not one that could cope with what he has done.

The reader empathizes with the “child”, in this case the monster. The
reader through the creature’s story feels for the abandonment that he must have
felt. The creature never formed a relationship with anyone in the novel. He only
for a brief period of time had someone to really communicate with when he met
Mr. De Lacey, but the children ran him off and again he was left alone, unloved
and unwanted. The creation told Victor his feelings when he said, “Satan
had his companions, fellow devils, to admire and encourage him, but I am
solitary and abhorred”(125). The creation felt so alone that he asked
Victor to make him a companion just as horrid as he is, but Victor would not
recreate what he has already done. The monster got so upset that he vowed
revenge until the very end of Victor’s of his won life. If the creature had a
friend or a companion he might have never went into his murderous rage. Since
the relationship between Victor and his creation was like that of a parent and a
child, when Victor abandons the creature he leaves all of the responsibility of
what he has done. Victor has a great desire to receive the success and
recognition of what he has to offer to society, but what he does not think about
is what could happen if he is successful in bringing life to a dead object. When
he flees from the creature this leads the creature to his wrath of fury and
vengeance. Victor is so involved in thinking how his discoveries can help
mankind but not how the monster could be a burden to society. When the creature
talks to Victor, he starts to see the responsibility that he owes the creature.

Victor agrees to start a companion for the creature but finally thinks about
what could happen with the two creations together. He tears up the second
creation. This shows that he is taking some of the responsibility to the
society: …For the first time, the wickedness of my promise burst upon me; I
shuddered to think that the future ages might curse me as their pest, whose
selfishness had not hesitated to bury its own peace at the price, perhaps, of
the existence of the whole human race. (159) Victor realizes he is truly
responsible towards society and by tearing up the second creation upholds that
responsibility. The novel points out to the reader that education,
relationships, and responsibility are important traits to posses, even to the
people in the 1800’s to present day. Frankenstein is a classic novel that will
live on for centuries to come as well as the message deep inside.