Narrator in "Frankenstein" by Mary Shelley

Topics: Narrative, Narrator, Frankenstein Pages: 3 (1000 words) Published: December 6, 2006
Mary Shelley uses three narrators in her complex narrative of Frankenstein to create a certain degree of objectivity- the novel starts with an epistolary structure with the letters of Robert to Margaret with include an account of the life of Victor and that of the narrative of the monster through the narrative of Victor. The narrative plot is can be said is made of concentric circles with Robert in the outer most circle, Victor in the second circle and the monster in the innermost circle.

In the outermost narrative of the four letters, which Robert writes to his sister Margaret, we move to an embedded narrative- the narrative of Victor and the account of the latter then serves in to frame the entrenched narrative of the monster. The narrative of Robert can be called a "Chinese box structure" as we have stories within stories. His narrative is a biographical one since he tells the story of Victor and that of the monster through the narrative of the latter. His narrative is important in the novel as it in through him that we come to know about the life and experience of Victor and the monster and his personal ambition. There is no chronology in his narrative- he accounts for the experience of Victor and the monster separately. Robert is a reliable narrator-he takes note of the storyline of Victor. Furthermore he relates both the narrative of Victor and the monster in a neutral way as he neither sides with Victor nor with the monster since he is related to neither of them. Yet some critics argue that Robert is not a wholly reliable narrator as in the beginning of the novel he admires Victor:

"My affection for my guest increases everyday. He excites at once my admiration..."

Moreover the narrative of Robert is not a verbatim reproduction of the narrative of Victor and the monster:

"...to record, as nearly as possible in his own words, what he has related during the day. If I should be engaged, I will at least make notes..."

His narrative may...
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