How Does Mary Shelley Explore Suffering in Frankenstein

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How
 does
 Shelley
 portray
 suffering
 in
 “Frakenstein”?
 
  Throughout
 the
 novel,
 suffering
 of
 not
 only
 an
 individual
 but
 also
 humanity,
  remains
 at
 the
 heart
 of
 the
 plot.
 Many
 critics
 today
 believe
 that
 this
 suffering
  comes
 from
 the
 troubled
 and
 tormented
 life
 Shelley
 had.
 For
 example
 from
 1815
  to
 mid
 1819,
 Shelley
 was
 to
 lose
 the
 first
 three
 of
 her
 four
 children,
 for
 which
 she
  held
 herself
 responsible.
 Therefore,
 it
 could
 be
 argued
 that
 the
 monster
 is
 the
  embodiment
 of
 Shelley’s
 suffering
 and
 guilt.
 
  Suffering
 in
 the
 novel
 becomes
 apparent
 through
 the
 narrator,
  Frankenstein.
 For
 example,
 from
 a
 psychoanalyst’s
 perception
 of
 Victor,
 his
  suffering
 comes
 from
 his
 character.
 Victor
 is
 the
 very
 incarnation
 of
 the
 Byronic
  Hero.
 He
 represents
 a
 lonely,
 isolated
 and
 self-­‐destructive
 force
 vulnerable
 to
 his
  own
 over-­‐powering
 emotions
 of
 greed
 and
 fervid
 curiosity.
 This
 is
 perfectly
  depicted
 in
 Caspar
 David
 Friedrich’s
 painting
 (commonly
 associated
 with
 the
  image
 of
 the
 Byronic
 hero)
 “Wanderer
 above
 the
 sea
 of
 fog”
 whereby
 a
 man
  overlooks
 an
 untouched
 landscape
 (Byron’s
 poem
 The
 Corsair;
 “lone,
 wild
 and
  strange,
 he
 stood
 alike
 exempt
 from
 all
 affection
 and
 all
 contempt”)
 with
 the
 sole
  desire
 to
 explore
 and
 gain
 victory.
 This
 passionately
 intense
 and
 over-­‐powering
  desire
 of
 knowledge
 is
 perfectly
 depicted
 in
 Book
 IV
 of
 Milton’s
 Paradise
 Lost
  ‘Satan’s
 address
 to
 the
 sun’
 (An
 epic
 poem
 heavily
 influencing
 Shelley)
 whereby
  Satan
 must
 suffer
 for
 his
 “Pride
 and
 worse
 ambition”.
 It
 is
 therefore
 blatant
 that
  Frankenstein’s
 immense
 feelings
 of
 isolation
 (Byron;
 “That
 man
 of
 loneliness
 and
  mystery”)
 and
 fervid
 desire
 become
 the
 sole
 cause
 of
 Frankenstein’s
 loss
 of
  humanity
 and
 mental
 self-­‐destruction
 (the
 use
 of
 the
 phrase
 “infernal
  machinations”
 implying
 a
 man
 so
 susceptible
 to
 his
 own
 greed,
 curiosity
 and
  isolation
 that
 his
 own
 mental
 torment
 becomes
 almost
 an
 equivalent
 to
 Dante’s
  ‘Inferno’).
 Therefore,
 Victor
 becomes
 the
 “Satan”
 of
 this
 novel.
 Having
 had
 an
  intense
 yearning
 for
 victory
 (as
 his
 name
 suggests),
 he
 has
 attempted
 to
 assume
  the
 position
 of
 God,
 which
 has
 only
 caused
 mental
 decline
 and
 suffering.
 
  Aside
 from
 his
 mental
 torment,
 Victor’s
 physical
 deterioration
 mirrors
 his
  guilt.
 Frankenstein
 has
 held
 himself
 responsible
 for
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