There are many different themes expressed in Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein. They vary with each reader but basically never change. These themes deal with the education that each character posses, the relationships formed or not formed in the novel, and the responsibility for ones own actions. This novel even with the age still has ideas that can be reasoned with even today. Each character has their own educational background, which in turn has a large effect to the way they react and deal with the issues that face them.
One example of this is Victor Frankenstein; he took his education into his own hands. When he went to the University of Inglostaldt he intoxicated himself with the sciences so deeply that he never imagined the morality of what he was doing. He stayed so involved and focused on his experiments that he did not take into mind what could happen because of the size of the creature. Victor said:
Although I possessed the capacity of bestowing animation, yet to prepare a frame for the reception of it, with all its intricacies of fibres, muscles and veins, still remained a work of inconceivable difficulty As the minuteness of the parts formed a great hindrance to my speed, I resolved, contrary to my first intention, to make the being of a gigantic stature; that is to say about eight feet in height, and proportionatelylarge. (52) But when he finished the science that brought him there has also scared him away.
On page 56 Victor tells about the creation and what it meant to him and what happened when life filled the body: I had worked hard for nearly two years, for the sole purpose of infusing life into an inanimate body. For this I had deprived myself of rest and health. I had desired it with an ardour that far exceeded moderation; but now that I had finished, the beauty of the dream vanished and breathless horror and disgust filled my heart. (56) Victor’s education has leaded him to be able to create a monster but not let him fully think out the havoc that might be unleashed.
His education only let him create a monster but never taught him how to care for it; this ends up resulting in the loss of innocent lives. This theme is also present when looking at the creation’s education. He received most of his education hands on, by himself, and by the observation of others, especially the De Laceys. “A strange multiplicity of sensations seized me, and I saw felt, heard, and smelt, at the same time; and it was indeed, a long time before I learned to distinguish between my operations of my various senses” (98).
He watched the De Laceys and learned how to talk, read, and how to love. He read about the creation of Adam and compared himself to the story of the fallen angel. This education may not be the deepest or most rational but it does connect deep into the minds of the reader. Though education in this novel helps to form some of the bonds between characters the bonds that do not form play an important role in Frankenstein. The most prevalent relationship that does not ever truly form is that between the Victor and his creation.
Victor, during his making of the creature, is so proud and infatuated with the idea of what he is bringing to the world; but when life flows through the veins of the creature Victor is terrified and abandons him. He could not stand to see the wretch of a being that he created. Before the creature was alive he was beautiful to Victor. This abandonment set the relationship out on thin ice in the beginning. Victor had no one to tell him how to handle the problem and take care of the creature so in turn he ran from the creature.
This situation is like that of a parent but Victor’s idea was more of possession, ownership, and success of the creation itself. Victor’s character was not one that could cope with what he has done. The reader empathizes with the “child”, in this case the monster. The reader through the creature’s story feels for the abandonment that he must have felt. The creature never formed a relationship with anyone in the novel. He only for a brief period of time had someone to really communicate with when he met Mr.
De Lacey, but the children ran him off and again he was left alone, unloved and unwanted. The creation told Victor his feelings when he said, “Satan had his companions, fellow devils, to admire and encourage him, but I am solitary and abhorred”(125). The creation felt so alone that he asked Victor to make him a companion just as horrid as he is, but Victor would not recreate what he has already done. The monster got so upset that he vowed revenge until the very end of Victor’s of his won life. If the creature had a friend or a companion he might have never went into his murderous rage.
Since the relationship between Victor and his creation was like that of a parent and a child, when Victor abandons the creature he leaves all of the responsibility of what he has done. Victor has a great desire to receive the success and recognition of what he has to offer to society, but what he does not think about is what could happen if he is successful in bringing life to a dead object. When he flees from the creature this leads the creature to his wrath of fury and vengeance. Victor is so involved in thinking how his discoveries can help mankind but not how the monster could be a burden to society.
When the creature talks to Victor, he starts to see the responsibility that he owes the creature. Victor agrees to start a companion for the creature but finally thinks about what could happen with the two creations together. He tears up the second creation. This shows that he is taking some of the responsibility to the society: For the first time, the wickedness of my promise burst upon me; I shuddered to think that the future ages might curse me as their pest, whose selfishness had not hesitated to bury its own peace at the price, perhaps, of the existence of the whole human race. 59) Victor realizes he is truly responsible towards society and by tearing up the second creation upholds that responsibility. The novel points out to the reader that education, relationships, and responsibility are important traits to posses, even to the people in the 1800’s to present day. Frankenstein is a classic novel that will live on for centuries to come as well as the message deep inside.