Frankenstein Commentary (Female Monster Creation Scene)

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Odile Bouchard
11/10/2010

Frankenstein Commentary: Female Monster Creation Scene
(REVISED)

Mary Shelley, the author of the novel Frankenstein, greatly uses various literary devices, such as language, setting, contrast, imagery, description, foreshadowing and in some cases a vague sense of irony, much to her benefit in order to portray a certain hidden meaning to her text. This ‘secret message’, a sense of reality that makes the text come to life, can only be found through analyzing the very words, structure and view point Shelley uses: ‘through reading between the lines’ The purpose of analyzing works such as Frankenstein is not only to discover certain literary devices writers use to enrich their tales, but moreover to understand how the author writes as oppose to what the author writes.

The passage of Frankenstein, in which the female monster is being created, uses literary devices chiefly to express Victor’s emotions and thoughts at the time. Victor and the Monster form an agreement in which if Victor were to create a female monster to resolve his original creation’s loneliness, the Monster in return would forever leave his creator, Victor, in peace. Victor realizes the only way to ensure safety upon himself and his family is to consent to the Monster’s requests, but on the brink of finally finishing his second creation, Victor finds himself reflecting upon all the problems a second monster would create rather than all the issues it would solve: “she might become ten thousand times more malignant than her mate” (10-11) and “they might even hate each other” (16). As Victor asks himself “had I a right, for my own benefit, to inflict this curse upon everlasting generations” (26-27), it becomes evident that he is overwhelmed by the affect his creations could have on mankind and the fact that if something were to go wrong, he would be the forever blamed man behind it. At the end of the passage, Victor tears up his work and vows never again to return to it, simultaneously putting himself and his family in great jeopardy of the Monster’s rage and seek for revenge. After all, when an agreement is broken between two enemies, it is only a matter of time before Chaos and Wretchedness will step in to play their roles in an eager scramble for revenge.

The first, and one of the most important, literary devices one comes across while reading this passage is the use of setting and how it can express the characters’ emotions while concurrently giving the reader an idea of the events that are about to take place. This is more commonly/literarily known as foreshadowing. In certain cases the author, Mary Shelley, enhances the meaning the setting has on the characters and events of the story with a certain irony. For example, at the beginning of the passage she writes, “the sun had set, and he moon was just rising from the sea” (1-2). This introduces the passage to the reader as a peaceful, serene and beautiful scene, but as one reads on he or she discovers just how ironic the setting is in terms of the events that take place after. In fact, it is not a beautiful nor peaceful affair that Victor is constantly haunted by the Monster’s threats as he states on page 104 “I was bound by a solemn promise, which I had not yet fulfilled, and dared not break; or, if I did, what manifold miseries might not impend over me and my devoted family”. The only manner in which he can protect his family from his evil creation is to comply with its demands. This also raises the question as to who is the dominant figure in the relationship between Victor and the Monster. In this specific passage Victor is obliged to comply with the Monster’s wishes as opposed to before when the situation was reversed and Victor had authority and control over his creation. Shelley also refers to the setting at the end of the passage, at which point Victor has just destroyed his creation and is waiting painfully for the ‘Wretch’ to come back to destroy him: “I...
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