In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, both the creature and Frankenstein are mentally isolated. Frankenstein decides early on not to tell anyone of his creation and therefore causes the deaths of his family, friends, and eventually Elizabeth. It is not until the end that he tells the authorities about his creation, but that was never really believed so the entirety of his story is really only heard by Walton. The creature isolates himself mentally in the sense that he realizes he is a monster and stops comparing himself to that of humans.
In a way, he also isolates himself physically as well, moving to the arctic where no humans would find him. The variety of narrative voices used in the novel not only develop each character’s personality, but they also support the theme of alienation and isolation.The creature’s character evolves in many ways throughout the novel, depending on the point of view it is coming from. When the creature himself speaks the reader likely feels sympathy as well as pity, towards him. He is affectionate and gentle at the beginning of his life, filled with curiosity and wonder, but after several painful encounters with humans, he becomes bitter. This ultimately leads to him seeking revenge on his creator for making him so hideous and basically rendering him permanently lonely because of his ugliness.
The creature shows a unique ability to analyze humanity because, though he is not a typical human himself, he appears to have the intelligence of one. He explains, “I heard about the slothful Asiatics; of the stupendous genius and mental activity of the Grecians; of the wars and wonderful virtue of the early Romans – of their subsequent degenerating – of the decline of that mighty empire; of chivalry, Christianity, and kings” (Shelley, 129). This rundown of culture that he overhears shows the creature’s ability to retain information. Yet this ability to learn only furthers the creature’s realization that he is very different from the humans he talks to. He does not come across nearly as horrific as he is expected to in the eyes of Frankenstein.
The primary thing the creature valued was love; he searched to be loved in return and instead he further became an outcast of society.The reader’s opinion of the creature, however, changes drastically when Victor is the narrator. Frankenstein’s creation becomes a wretched and awful villain in the story when it is told through him. For example, Victor’s disgust and hatred for the creature is evident right from the moment he first sees him, as he says, “A flash of lightning illuminated the object and discovered its shape plainly to me; its gigantic stature, and the deformity of its aspect, more hideous than belongs to humanity, instantly informed me that it was the wretch, the filthy demon to whom I had given life” (Shelley, 73).
When the story is told through Victor it is all about what the creature is doing to him and how heartless the creature is. Without Victor’s biased view, the story would not be as appealing, but it does prove the difference in a character’s development depending on who it is coming from.In Frankenstein the author portrays the theme of loneliness and isolation by using the point of views of two different characters that suffer from the same thing. In Frankenstein’s experiment to reanimate a human body, he accidentally creates a creature, who immediately becomes a threat to Frankenstein himself, as well as the rest of society.
Frankenstein’s feeling of loneliness (after giving life to such a creature) leads him to believe that the only way to right his wrong is to unleash this creature into the world where he thinks that it will be alone and harmless. Because he is not guided or followed, the creature violently kills whoever it comes in contact with, which causes Frankenstein to return to his hometown, where several of these murders occur. While at his home once again, Frankenstein begins to recognize that he was not at all as lonely as he thought he was. If he had just taken the time to consider his own feelings, he could have avoided such a dramatic conflict.
In conclusion, Mary Shelley establishes that appearances are not always a good adviser through the use of loneliness and isolation.