The Doppelgänger in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

Powerful Essays
In Mary Shelley’s novel, Frankenstein, a major motif running throughout the novel is doppelgänger, which means double. Doppelgänger is a counterpart of a living person, meaning a mirror image of each other, and plays a prominent role in Frankenstein. Victor Frankenstein creates a creature, by lingering around graveyards consisting of old body parts. The creature is brought to life and Victor is frightened by what he has created. The creature is the counterpart to his maker, Victor Frankenstein. Victor and the creature resemble each other in more ways than one, exhibited throughout the novel such as their relationship with nature, or desires for family.

“The doctor [Victor Frankenstein] and his monster represent of one another and their relationship mirrors that of the head and the heart, or the intellect and the emotion. In this context, the monster’s actions have been viewed as manifestations of the doctor’s—and Shelley’s—repressed desires” (Bomarito and Whitaker). The motif of doppelgänger is established when Victor created the creature. As Victor is alone and obsessed with science, he resorts to creating a “being of a gigantic stature, that is to say, about eight feet in height, and proportionally large” (Shelley 38). Whenever the creature comes to life, Victor is frightened and flees from the creature, even though he does not realize, that he has subsequently created a double of himself.

Victor Frankenstein and his creation are alike in several ways, one of them being their appreciation of nature. Victor embraces the nature for the quick moment that he escapes the creature as it “filled me with a sublime ecstasy that gave wings to the soul and allowed it to soar from the obscure world to light and joy” (Shelley 84). Vict...

... middle of paper ...

... . Detroit: Gale, 2006. Literature Resource Center. Web. 24 Jan. 2012.

Bond, Chris. "Frankenstein: is it really about the dangers of science? Chris Bond explores how

Frankenstein is about something more than the danger of scientific experimentation." The English

Review Sept. 2009: 28+. Literature Resource Center. Web. 29 Jan. 2012.

Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. New York, New York: Bantam Books, 1981.

Shelley, Percy Bysshe. "On Frankenstein." The Athenaeum 263 (10 Nov. 1832): 730. Rpt. in Nineteenth-

Century Literature Criticism. Ed. Jay Parini. Vol. 14. Detroit: Gale Research, 1987. Literature Resource Center. Web. 24 Jan. 2012.

Yousef, Nancy. "The monster in a dark room: Frankenstein, feminism, and philosophy." Modern Language Quarterly 63.2 (2002): 197+. Literature Resource Center. Web. 24 Jan. 2012
Get Access