The Theme Of Fire And Ice In Frankenstein

1243 WordsNov 26, 20175 Pages
The element of fire is universally known to be the sustenance of life, providing mankind with warmth and light. It has been “located in the sky, deep in the earth, in everything that moves, grows, alters its shape, reproduces itself” (Griffin 49). Ice is the antithesis to fire - while fire is life and change, ice is repression and death. The theme of fire and ice is commonly found in literature, often used to compare and contrast certain elements of written works. In the essay, “Fire and Ice in Frankenstein”, Andrew Griffin analyzes the components of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein that contribute to the omnipresent theme of fire and ice in the text. Griffin provides many examples of the recurrent theme found in other works, such as Jane Eyre,…show more content…
In Griffin’s second main point, he explains the aspects of the theme of fire and ice found in Frankenstein’s science and natural philosophy. At the age of fifteen, Victor watches as an oak tree is struck by lightning and soon becomes knowledgeable of the laws of electricity, which was “new and astonishing to [Victor]” (p. 41). Griffin explains that this understanding complicates his obscure ambition. “There has been a revelation of life in a ‘dazzling light’, but there has also been, inseparably, the catastrophic ruin of the ‘old and beautiful oak’” (Griffin 60), which leads to Victor’s personal destruction as he dwells on the wreckage of the part of nature. Due to his fascination surrounding electricity, Victor worked for nearly two years in order to create his own creature and bring it to life. Fire is vital in the bringing to life of his creation, which shows how important the theme of fire is in this story due to the fact that the plot of Frankenstein surrounds the the creation of the Monster. Another important detail that showcases the importance of fire is the mental, emotional, and social development of the Monster. Griffin believes “by far the most important discovery of his mental infancy is that of fire” (Griffin 66). When he comes upon the fire left by beggars, the Monster was immediately “overcome with delight at the warmth [he] experienced from it” (p. 104), so he decided to stick his hand into the
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