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The Theme of Solitude and Lonliness in Mary Shelley's Frankestein

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The Theme of Solitude and Lonliness in Mary Shelley's Frankestein

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  • October 20, 2008
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Themes are often included in literature in order to provide more meaning and an enhanced understanding of the text. In the novel, Frankenstein, written by Mary Shelley in 1818, Shelley conveys the theme of solitude and loneliness through the featured characters and their actions. Throughout the duration of this novel, we see Shelley using the characters Robert Walton, Victor Frankenstein and his creation to introduce and emphasise this theme of loneliness and solitude. This theme originates from Shelley's personal life and problems with her husband and father, which carry over into the novel and make it more realistic. During the time Shelley was writing Frankenstein, she was experiencing the emotional pains of her newborn's death and her half-sister's suicide. These events undoubtedly affected the novel's course and perhaps are a reflection of the person who was really lonely - Shelley herself. Referencing her past personal experiences in the characters of Robert Walton, the Creature, and Victor Frankenstein, Shelley takes her readers on a tumultuous journey that shows how loneliness can end in catastrophe. In Frankenstein, solitude and loneliness only leads to despair. From the beginning of the novel, Victor Frankenstein chooses a life of solitude, while the creature he creates suffers a life of unwanted solitude. The conditions of their solitude and loneliness, desired and undesired, spur very different responses from these two characters. Frankenstein places himself in solitude for various different reasons; for example, when he is overcome with negative thoughts and emotions he seeks places of isolation and solitude. This is evident when he states, “At these moments I took refuge in the most perfect solitude. I passed whole days on the lake alone in a little boat. But the fresh air and bright sun seldom failed to restore me to some degree of composure”. Victor Frankenstein’s desire for isolation causes him to separate himself from those he was close to in...