Isolation Plays A Major Role Of Mary Shelley 's Frankenstein

1519 WordsApr 3, 20177 Pages
Isolation plays a major role in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. The central characters of the gothic novel, Robert Walton, Victor Frankenstein, and Frankenstein’s creature, are isolated for the majority of each of their narratives. While Walton and Frankenstein willfully isolated themselves from family and others for exploring uncharted territories and following dreams of grandeur through scientific creation, respectively, the creature is pushed into isolation due to outright rejection from every person he encounters. The creature starts out unable to communicate but soon becomes educated by observing an impoverished but loving, close-knit family in their home. Unfortunately, the benefits of his education are short-lived, as the creature…show more content…
Moreover, Levy juxtaposes Frankenstein’s disregard for his family with Walton’s consideration for the emotions of his sister, Margaret Saville. After detailing how Shelley believes that stronger domestic affections would have “mitigated suffering by making… exploration more gradual and less exploitive,” she goes on to say “Margaret Saville, who shares Mary Shelley 's initials, performs just this restraining function in the novel, as her absent presence reminds her brother to avoid being the agent of suffering,” (Levy 701). Walton would write to his sister, and he did as much as he could to both follow his ambition for exploration but limit the amount of risk so he would not cause grief in Margaret. Even hesitantly, he eventually decides to return to England at the persuasion of his crew after his ship becomes trapped in ice. In a later letter to his sister he writes “Oh! my beloved sister, the sickening failings of your heart-felt expectations are, in prospect, more terrible to me than my own death,” (Shelley 263). Walton’s regard for his sister does what Frankenstein’s disregard disallowed, which is lessen the suffering of others at his own hands. Frankenstein was motivated by selfish, almost irrational ideas of grandeur and, even to his death, was completely self-serving. Lee Zimmerman, a professor at

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