Frankenstein is back to the role of narrator. He is bewildered and perplexed. The creature desires a female as his right.
The latter part of the tale has enraged Victor, and he refuses the request. The creature counters that he is malicious because of miserywhy respect man when man condemns him? He is content to destroy everything related to Victor until he curses the day he was born. Gladly would he relinquish his war against humanity if only one person loved him. Since none do, he has to find happiness elsewhere, and he is pleading that his creator make him happy with someone to share his misery.
Frankenstein sees justice in his argument. The creature notes his change in countenance and promises that he would leave all humanity for the wilds of South America. The narrator does not believe this and refuses once again. The creature continues to plead and threaten. He is looking to become “linked to the chain of existence and events” from which he is now excluded. Victor is torn. He thinks about the creature’s great strength, about how much more destruction he might cause.
He therefore agrees to the task, to save the rest of humanity. The creature says he will watch his progress, and leaves him. He descends the mountain with a heavy heart, and returns to Geneva haggard. To save his family, Victor resolves to comply with the creature’s wish. Analysis:The most important feature of this chapter is the manner in which Frankenstein is convinced to make another being. Throughout most of the conversation, the creature’s tone is reasonable in the extreme. By aligning his maliciousness with misery, he is blaming Frankenstein for what he has become.
Phrasing the accusation in this manner, however, is so not confrontational that it is more effective at evoking the sympathy of Victor and the reader. Often the creature refers to Frankenstein as “you, my creator.” This doubled form of address not only reminds the narrator of the role he has in giving life to this creature; it is a complimentary title that begs for help. There is a definite Biblical tone to his speechhis dialogue abounds with verbs such as “shall” that carry a confident, imperative feeling. The creature then proceeds to ask a string of rhetorical questions about dealing with humans. These strengthen his arguments because he is emphasizing his state as the miserable, abused wretch. While he does threaten to destroy Frankenstein if his wishes are not fulfilled, the creature quickly recovers from this and begs help so that he will not hate his creator.
This wish appears to be a very noble one. It would seem that the creature wants to banish all evil from his body, and a mate will allow him to do just that. The reasoning is definitely somewhat twisted, though.
The reader might argue that another being like himself will serve to augment the hatred of the creature if he has someone with whom he can identify. Chapter 18:Weeks pass and Victor does not begin working. He fears “the fiend’s” anger but cannot overcome his repugnance of feeling. The work will be aided by some new discoveries by English philosophers; he therefore wants to journey there and needs his father’s permission. Frankenstein’s health has become robust and strong. His melancholy is abated by rowing on the lake.
The narrator’s father speaks with him about his remaining unhappiness. He attributes it to fear of expectation: that he does not want to marry Elizabeth because he is in love with someone else and hates to disappoint the family. Victor quickly assures him that this is not the case. Elizabeth is the only woman he admires. Joyful at his declaration, his father asks of he would object to marrying Elizabeth even though they are both so young. Still, he immediately assures Victor that he is not trying to tell him what to do, or how to be happy. Frankenstein listens in silence.
The idea of marrying Elizabeth with the odious task hanging over his head is unbearable. He must complete it before that special occasion. The creature can then leave with his mate or perish in an accident.
Either way, the narrator will finally have peace. His marriage to Elizabeth is set upon his return. Victor obtains his father’s permission to go to England by disguising his purposes.
He does not want to work at home. He fears leaving his family open to predatory attacks by the creature, but reasons that the creature will follow him to England. Considerately, the narrator’s father arranges for Clerval to meet Victor for the journey.
They travel by boat through Germany and France. Frankenstein notes the great difference between Clerval and himself. The former is entirely alive, while his friend is again gloomy, a “miserable wretch” as he calls himself. Henry speaks at length about the surrounding beauty, the memory of which launches Victor into a mournful speech of admiration for his friend, who he misses greatly. By December they have arrived in England, greeted by the various architecture: castles, bridges, church steeples.
Analysis:The quiet insistence of Victor’s father that he quickly marry Elizabeth is reminiscent of the controlling tendency that Caroline exhibited on her deathbed. It appears to be a bit rash that the narrator is pressured to seal the union as soon as he returns from England. This marriage is representative of a working kind of order within this family’s world. Its successful execution signifies a fulfillment of expectation that is reassuring because it directly contradicts the terrible chaos that has been unleashed upon these people. The union of Elizabeth and Victor is the best possible example of life continuing as usual, which is a complete affront to the goals of the creature; he intends to disrupt Frankenstein’s life to the point that it cannot exist in any normal fashion. Indeed, marriage would infuriate the creature because it symbolizes inclusion in human society. It is a ritual that people undergo so that they may express to each other and to the entire world that they are in love.
This type of bond is something in which the creature can have no partunless he has a mate. The fact that the success of the marriage depends upon the completion of a task that Frankenstein finds repugnant does not bode well. The theme of secrecy resurfaces in Victor’s concealment (or “guise”) of his true reasons for going to England.
He openly expresses fear that by leaving, his loved ones could be at the mercy of the vengeful creature. Yet he never thinks to alert them to the possible danger. No reason is provided to account for this deliberate oversight. The reader can only take this as yet another illustration of the narrator’s selfishness and lack of foresight. As before, he only acts when a stimulus is directly applied in front of him, or when disaster strikes and it is too late to take precautions. Clerval’s shining enthusiasm makes more obvious the sickness of Victor’s heart. At this point it is helpful to remember that melancholy has plagued the narrator since the creature came into existence.
He is tied to his creation in an uncompromising fashion; until the creature is happy, Frankenstein cannot be happy. Chapter 19:London is the current place of rest for the two friends. Clerval wants to socialize with learned men; all Victor wants is to get the information he needs to commence working.
He is not enjoying the trip as he should. Company is annoying. He prefers solitude, in which he can “cheat himself into a transitory peace.” The insurmountable barrier of blood from William and Justine forever places a barrier between the narrator and other men. In Henry Victor sees his former selfinquisitive, anxious to gain experience and instruction. His friend longs to visit India and learn the language.
Gathering information for his work his continuous torturous to the narrator. After some months, the two are invited by a mutual friend to visit Scotland. The idea is agreeable to Frankenstein, who longs to see the mountains once more. They depart in March. While traveling they pass the historic city of Oxford, which Victor cannot enjoy because his own past is so painful.
He is a “blasted tree,” a spectacle of miserable humanity. He tries to shake his melancholy by contemplating liberty and the sacrifice of those in surrounding graves, but it is no use. They continue traveling, with Henry as the more sociable of the two. Finally they reach Scotland, which makes Victor happy.
He fears that he has neglected his task too long, and that the creature will exercise his wrath upon his family or his friend. He frantically waits for letters, and guards Henry like a shadow. After visiting Edinburgh and other cities, Victor quits Henry, resolving to finish his work in a remote part of the Scotch countryside.
His friend urges him to hurry back, as he is lonely without his company. Frankenstein devotes most of his mornings to labor, and walks the stony beach at night. Horror increases daily at this employment, a stark contrast to the enthusiasm he radiated during the first experiment. Victor grows restless and nervous, scared to meet his persecutor. He looks upon the new creation with a mixture of hope and the forboding of evil. Analysis:The image of the blasted tree is crucial to understanding what Frankenstein has become. A tree is a living organism that branches and spreads itself widely.
One that is “blasted” is basically split down the middle, severed from its roots and unable to register sensations. The nature that Victor once enjoyed so freely is now tainted by visions of the past and future. He can no longer seek the same type of solace because his soul cannot experience sensation in the manner it once did.
Frankenstein says that a “bolt” enters his soul. This image suggests that the narrator is closed offhe cannot take in or let out any feelings whatsoever. Those surrounding him are said to try and “cheat” him into happiness. Shelley’s diction gives the impression that Frankenstein almost relishes his sorrow since he apparently does not want to be deprived of it. He can only deal with unhappiness because of his extreme guilt complexhe feels he deserves nothing more. The author chooses to emphasize this conflict as Victor prepares to build a second creation to imply that execution of the task is equal to selling his soul forever into a world of despair because it changes how he relates to everything and how he views the world.
The project takes place in a barren, desolate landscape that identifies with the hollowness in the narrator’s heart. His first experiments took place in the lush atmosphere of his school, where he was bright-eyed and full of hope. No trace of those sentiments remains. Consider also the differences between Clerval and Frankenstein simply in terms of relating to visitors and acquaintances on their journey. Henry relishes the company while Victor can barely tolerate it.
Clerval states that he could pass his life in travels with various peoples and never think of Switzerland. Such a disregard for his hometown is alarming. The inquisitiveness he exhibits is a memory of Victor. His confident desire of exploration causes the reader to wonder if he might not follow the same destructive path as his friend. Chapter 20:Frankenstein sits in his laboratory one evening after the sun has just set. Reflection takes over, and he becomes horrified at his carelessness in resuming work on another creature. He begins to question whether the creature will actually leave humanity, whether he and his mate will hate each other, whether they will have children.
Victor decides that to unleash this kind of a scourge upon mankind is of the utmost selfishness. He looks into his window and sees the creature there, grinning in a ghastly manner. Before his eyes he tears the half-finished creation to pieces. The creature howls in agony in and runs away.
The narrator makes a solemn promise to never resume his labors. He us sitting in his laboratory several hours later when the creature visits him, confronts him about breaking his promise. He speaks of the terrible living he has endured following Frankenstein about, and reminds him of a terrible truth: “You are my creator, but I am your master.” Victor will not be moved by threatshe is decided. The creature states that he can never remove revenge from his heart, and that he will be with the narrator on his wedding night.
He departs. Frankenstein spends the rest of the night pacing, thinking of how terribly Elizabeth would react if her lover were to be killed. These thoughts move him to tears, and he resolves not to fall before his enemy without a struggle. A letter arrives from Henry, begging his friend to join him in Perth, that they might proceed southwards together. Victor decides to do this, and leave in two days. Packing his scientific equipment and disposing of the remnants of the latest creation are sickening tasks.
He feels almost as if he has desecrated human flesh. Victor leaves by boat during the night. The journey is somewhat treacherousFrankenstein fears dying and leaving behind all his loved ones, and curses the creature. Even in misery, he clings to the love of life and manages to arrive safely on Irish shore. A crowd of people observe his approach, and look at him suspiciously. They are rude to him, call him a villain, and he is told that he must go see the magistrate to give an account of a gentleman who was found murdered last night.
Analysis:It is uncertain how we are supposed to interpret Victor’s breaking of his promiseis it noble and brave, or stupid? The narrator has to know that the creature will retaliate against him: thus he should fear for the lives of his loved ones. The concern he demonstrates for the human race is both touching and selfish. He cannot bear the thought of endangering perfect strangers because he already suffers massive guilt. To save them, and save himself from more guilt, he is willing to sacrifice his connections. Losing those who are his relations and therefore evil in the eyes of the creature is more bearable than inflicting pain on complete strangers.
The logic is somewhat twisted, but overall the reader must concur with Frankenstein’s brave decision. By destroying the second creature, he makes an aggressive stand for the first time in the novel, and refuses to lose his soul. The God-creation complex is present in the chapter, except this time there is a complete inversion of power. The creature is in the masterful position, referring to his creator as a “slave” that must obey his wishes. It is a parent-child relationship that has gone completely wrong. Victor truly is a slave to science: remember it is his curiosity that has put him in this situation. The creature emits a howl of “devilish despair” when he sees the future partner destroyed.
Even in moments of sadness, Victor still sees him as a demon and a monster. Perhaps he might have placated the creature if he had acknowledged the humanity within him. As it is, the creature truly has given into monster tendencies by letting vengeance take over his life, and the reader is correct to fear him. The idea of inescapable destiny returns as the creature reminds the narrator that he will be there on his wedding-night. Creature and creator are linked, and Victor will not be allowed to consummate this intimate experience without interference from his other half. The near-death experience on the water is strangely teasingFrankenstein is about to perish, when for no explicated reason he spots land. He then echoes the sentiments of the creature when he states that even in misery, a love of life persists.
The author is toying with her character, almost offering the perfect solution to his troubles, and justifying an embracing of life. Finally, nature imagery turns dark and gloomy, with many clouds and high winds that preview the storm about to erupt once again. Words/ Pages : 2,688 / 24