Form, Structure and Plot
Frankenstein, an epistolary novel by Mary Shelley, deals with epistemology, is divided into three volumes, each taking place at a distinct time. Volume I highlights the correspondence in letters between Robert Walton, an Arctic seafarer, and his sister, Margaret Saville. Walton's letters to Margaret basically explain his expedition at sea and introduce Victor Frankenstein, the protagonist of the novel. Volume II is essentially Frankenstein's narrative, told in his point of view, with much action, death, and many more characters. There are a few chapters within this volume in which the monster narrates his adventures while alone. Volume III displays Victor's death and the monsters portrayal as a desperate character. Robert Walton also writes one final letter to his sister, explaining the remainder of Victor's story. The story is written chronologically, but because Victor's narrative brings about a flashback, it seems as if Victor is found, then the story shifts back in time to Victor's youth and works its way back into present time. Volume I and Volume III are written in Walton's perspective but Volume II is written mostly in Frankenstein's point of view. The work follows the patterns of an epistolary novel in that letters introduce the plot, the plot itself follows, and then letters to commence the plot end the story. The actual happenings of Frankenstein cover a two year period, but this does not include Victor's narrative in Volume II.
The characters that serve as narrators at some time during the story, Robert Walton Victor Frankenstein, and the daemon, may be considered believable. Walton describes his aspirations and limited findings, which lack room for inaccuracies. Frankenstein's narrative, which seems somewhat farfetched at first with the introduction of the monster, proves itself as believable due to the raw emotions he expresses. The monster's narrative is also believable because it just accounts for what he had done to fill time while alone in the woods.
Victor Frankenstein, one of the novel's round characters, may be described as a creative, knowledgeable, and reserved man in his middle ages. The novel is unique in that Victor Frankenstein is both the protagonist and antagonist, consequentially creating a conflict of man versus himself. While Victor is the amazing scientist transcending scientific barriers to create an awesome monster, he is also the one creating the daemon which ends up destroying his life and reeking havoc upon society. Victor is noted for blaming himself throughout the entire plot, which characterizes much of his personality. He claims, "I, not in deed, but in effect, was the true murderer" (63). He, therefore, blames himself for the murders of William, Justine, and Henry.
The monster is created towards the beginning of the story as a middle-aged creature. He may be characterized as manipulating, and intelligent, and from kind by nature to malevolent. He is a round character, is described as being eight feet tall, and simply hideous. The monster kills Victor's younger brother, friends, and lover, and does not stop until Victor himself is ruined and killed. He may easily be considered Victor's downfall. The monster is never named, so he is referred to as his description, a monster or a daemon. He wants, more than anything, a companion. The monster tells Victor, "You are my creator, but I am your master" (116) after his heart turns cold from lack of love.
Robert Walton, who the reader never gets much of a physical description about although still a round character, is another middle-aged character who may be described as adventurous, charismatic, and curious. He works well with those around him, has a strong relationship with his sister, and builds one with Victor. He plays the role of retelling Victor's story and marks both the beginning and end of the novel. Robert's love...