The Theme of Loneliness in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

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Mary Shelley's Frankenstein examines two phenomena of human nature, scientific curiosity and loneliness; the latter will serve as the focus of this essay. The very manner in which Frankenstein begins, that of the correspondence of an unattached explorer who longs for a companion on his voyage, with no one to write to but his sister, establishes the theme of loneliness immediately.

Frankenstein's creation is a complex character whose true motives cannot be determined easily. Although one cannot excuse his actions, they should certainly not be viewed out of context. The creature is exposed to the painful reality of loneliness from the moment of his creation. "I had worked hard for nearly two years," Victor states, "for the sole purpose of infusing life into an inanimate body...but now that I had finished, the beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled my heart. Unable to endure the aspect of the being I had created, I rushed out of the room..." The moment Victor realizes what he has done, he is terrified, and flees. This cycle continues, each time isolating the creature further and further. He yearns constantly for some kind of human contact, but does not receive it because of the way in which Victor created his body. Victor meant for it to be a thing of beauty, but realized first that the gathering of pieces from various cadavers resulted in an appearance that frightens at first sight.

A barrier always exists before the creature, much like the wall that separated him from the cottage of the DeLaceys. The creature is touched by the love of the DeLacey family and feels that he is a part of their family. He wants desperately to be accepted by them, but is aware of how they will react if they se...

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...excuse the creature's actions. But we can be more understanding of his situation and try to have some compassion. After all, as the creature said to Walton, "You hate me, but your abhorrence cannot equal that with which I regard myself."

Works Cited and Consulted

Bloom, Harold. Mary Shelly's Frankenstein. New York: Chelsea, 1987.

Botting, Fred. Making monstrous. Frankenstein, criticism, theory. Manchester University Press, 1991.

Boyd, Stephen. York Notes on Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Longman York Press, 1992.

Mellor, Anne K. Mary Shelley. Her Life, her Fiction, her Monsters. Methuen. New York, London, 1988.

Patterson, Arthur Paul. A Frankenstein Study.

Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus. Edited with an Introduction and notes by Maurice Hindle. Penguin books, 1992
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