Essay on The Motif Of Sickness Within Frankenstein

Essay on The Motif Of Sickness Within Frankenstein

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Understanding the motif of sickness within Frankenstein is imperative to understanding
Frankenstein 's Fever a Journey of Restoration the very nature of Dr. Frankenstein himself, as well as the broader symbolism of nature in restoring the natural order of the world. Although one may argue that sickness as motif is very utilitarian in its placement within the novel either serving to signal the oncoming death of a character, or act as a defense mechanism for Victor Frankenstein 's cognitive dissonance towards the creation of his monster. However the very deliberate placement of illness after events that go against the natural order such as Victor 's creation of the monster, or in foreshadowing the death of his family members. This proves that Victor 's illness is tied directly to an unbalance to the natural order. Mary Shelley uses the romantic symbolism of nature as a healing force to combat the effects of Victor 's illness brought about by his destruction of the natural order. That is why the nervous fevers, brought on by the unnatural creation of the monster, are conquered through Victor 's reconnection with nature itself. It is also the reason why Victor only totally vanquishes his last bout of illness when he completely commits himself to destroying his unholy creation; thus restoring the natural order of the world once more.
The first time illness is mentioned, it is connected to Victor 's realization of just how badly he 's transgressed against the natural order by creating his monster. So it is only fitting that his first relief from this spell of paralyzing fear is an encounter with the beauty of nature. Directly after Victor 's creation of the monster Shelley perfectly encapsulates the acute horror, and painful realizat...

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..., at periods when otherwise delirium or death would have been my portion," (Shelley, 149). By plainly writing that Victor 's drive to kill the monster is what allowed him to be "calculating and calm," (Shelley, 149)when he would have otherwise been delirious proving that Shelley intended for Victor to overcoming his illness only after committing himself to destroying the monster and restoring balance to the natural world.
Therefore one can assert that Shelley used the motif of illness to plot Victor 's reaction to the destruction of the natural order. That is why Victor 's illness is rectified first through exposure to natural beauty and then overcome once and for all when Victor commits himself to restoring the natural order by destroying his creature, demonstrating just how centrally important the symbol of illness is in the Frankenstein narrative.

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