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The Theme of Loneliness in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein examines two phenomena of human nature, scientific curiosity and loneliness; the latter will serve as the focus of this essay. The very manner in which Frankenstein begins, that of the correspondence of an unattached explorer who longs for a companion on his voyage, with no one to write to but his sister, establishes the theme of loneliness immediately.

Frankenstein’s creation is a complex character whose true motives cannot be determined easily. Although one cannot excuse his actions, they should certainly not be viewed out of context. The creature is exposed to the painful reality of loneliness from the moment of his creation. “I had worked hard for nearly two years,” Victor states, “for the sole purpose of infusing life into an inanimate body…but now that I had finished, the beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled my heart. Unable to endure the aspect of the being I had created, I rushed out of the room…” The moment Victor realizes what he has done, he is terrified, and flees. This cycle continues, each time isolating the creature further and further. He yearns constantly for some kind of human contact, but does not receive it because of the way in which Victor created his body. Victor meant for it to be a thing of beauty, but realized first that the gathering of pieces from various cadavers resulted in an appearance that frightens at first sight.

A barrier always exists before the creature, much like the wall that separated him from the cottage of the DeLaceys. The creature is touched by the love of the DeLacey family and feels that he is a part of their family. He wants desperately to be accepted by them, but is aware of how they will react if they se…

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…excuse the creature’s actions. But we can be more understanding of his situation and try to have some compassion. After all, as the creature said to Walton, “You hate me, but your abhorrence cannot equal that with which I regard myself.”

Works Cited and Consulted

Bloom, Harold. Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein. New York: Chelsea, 1987.

Botting, Fred. Making monstrous. Frankenstein, criticism, theory. Manchester University Press, 1991.

Boyd, Stephen. York Notes on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Longman York Press, 1992.

Mellor, Anne K. Mary Shelley. Her Life, her Fiction, her Monsters. Methuen. New York, London, 1988.

Patterson, Arthur Paul. A Frankenstein Study.

Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus. Edited with an Introduction and notes by Maurice Hindle. Penguin books, 1992

Dorigen’s Character in the Franklin’s Tale

Dorigen is the main character in the Franklin’s tale by Chaucer and yet he manages to make her seem weak and melodramatic whilst still allowing the tale to revolve around her. Dorigen is shown as having a weak character and Chaucer allows his contempt to show through several times as he obviously feels disdain for Dorgien’s excessive display of emotion. His opinion of Dorigen is unbalanced and biased as it shows her in a light in which the reader cannot fail to dislike her. Several times Chaucer makes comments that not only undermine Dorgen but reflect on the whole female race as well e.g “as doon these noble wives when him liketh.” And then goes on to say that at her husband, Arveragus lives that she “moornth, waketh, waileth, fasteth, plaienth.” This shows how he feels that she is showing this display of emotion only because she feels that is what she should do. The way he writes shows that he doubts the sincerity of her emotions and believes her to be quite shallow.

However in contrast to this Dorigen seems a stronger character where Chaucer writes of her and Arveragus’s courtship as he says “”she thanked him and with great humblesse she saide ‘…ye profere me to have so large a reine” as here Chaucer writes as the Franklin but some of his own views show through. Chaucer seems to be very cynical about how genuine Dorgien is but strangely for the time in which this was written Chaucer seems to believe in equal relationships. “hire obeye and folwe her wil in al as any lovere to his lady shal” this shows that he feels that their relationship should be an equal one and yet this doesn’t seem to fit in with his views about Dorgien at all. Although the end statement is generalising ‘as any lovere to his lady shal’ the reference is specific in applying to Dorgien and Arveragus. Chaucer might be trying to apply to everyone but it still seems as though he doubts Dorgien’s emotions when Arveragus leaves but believes that she does love him –or that she loves the prospect of marriage instead? For the way he speaks does suggest that in his cynicism he believes that Dorigen does not love Arveragus but instead loves the prospect of marriage and being safe, which does imply that he believes her unable to live on her own.

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