Mary Shelley, the author of Frankenstein, is a writer who was greatly influenced by the Romantic era in which she lived. In fact, she moved among the greatest talents of the English Romantic writers including her poet/husband Percy Shelley and their poet/friend Lord Byron. Her writing was also influenced by the other great Romantic poets Wordsworth and Coleridge, whose ideas she either directly quotes or paraphrases in Frankenstein. Since Mary Shelley was so intimate with these great talents of the Romantic movement, it is quite natural that her most famous work Frankenstein reflects many of the Romantic trends and devices.
Natural and remote settings are essential aspects in Romantic writing. Many Romantics find comfort from the natural scenery and nature as a common place to release their ideas. Most of the time their settings will be located in some unusual or unknown place. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is no exception to that rule. This novel is placed in modern times to accent the application of contemporary science. One may infer that this particular story transpires in a strange environment to create a realm unknown to the readers.
Victor Frankenstein creates his monster in an secluded room located at the top of his university in Germany. In order to create this monster, Victor Frankenstein went in search of various body parts at a grave yard. Victor states: “I pursued nature to her hiding-places. Who shall conceive the horrors of my secret toil as I dabbled among the unhallowed damps of the grave or tortured the living animals to animate lifeless clay? .. . I collected bones from charnelhouses … the secrets of the human frame” (Shelley 39). Victor journeys to one of the most faraway parts of Scotland.
He shortly commences his work at procreating a second creature, a female companion, for his hideous monstrosity. Victor Frankenstein’s next destination is Mont Blanc. He seems to find solace in the presentation of the different sides of nature. Once again, Victor returns to the beautiful mountains and glorious streams in order to receive “the greatest consolation” (Shelley 80). This picturesque scene had a calming effect on his most recent disturbance. It allowed him to some how divert his mind from the horror that was right before him.
He seeks relaxation and he finds it by sitting at the top of a rock on a sea of ice. Victor is constantly reminded of his troubles, but just the thought of this sweet serenity makes him forget about his present problems. Victor exclaims, “Wandering spirits, if indeed ye wander, and do not rest in your narrow beds , allow me this faint happiness, or take me, as your companion, away from the joys of life” (Shelly 82). Victor’s current dispositions is a classic example of the typical Romantic characteristics.
The guilt-ridden wanderer and the solitary outcast so prevalent in Romantic literature appear in the form of both Victor and his monster. In the process of finding the answers to life’s greatest questions of knowledge, Victor has the tendency to neglect his family. He decides not to respond to any of their letters and continues to work in absolute solitude avoiding all of his fellow colleagues. As a result of his thirst for wisdom, Victor manages not to pay his family a visit in almost over two years.
During this time, Victor acknowledges: ” My application was at first fluctuation and uncertain; it gained strength as I proceeded and soon became so ardent and eager that the stars often disappear in the light of morning whilst I was yet engaged in my laboratory” (Shelley 35). Frankenstein’s monster wanders in solitary as a result of being a social outcast on a quest for the acceptance of humans. The monster is presented as having a natural love and respect for his creator. This act is evident by the monster approaching his maker’s bed.
The monster’s only wish is to be treated as a human being. Since he did not violate any laws, the monster does not believe that he should have any real reason to be rejected without reason like he was. The monster blames Frankenstein for his unreasonable rejection of himself. This rejection caused the monster sheer misery which constituted him to be a hideous creature. He wanted so much to emulate a life similar to Adam’s. The monster exclaims: “Like Adam , I was apparently united by no link to any other being in existence; but his state was far different from mine in every other respect.
He had come orth from the hands of God a perfect creature , happy and prosperous, guarded by the especial care of his Creator; he was allowed to converse with and acquire knowledge from beings of a superior nature, but I was wretched, helpless, and alone” (114). The monster’s only request is that Victor redeem himself by making him happy once again. Only then can the monster be a virtuous creature instead of being all alone. He then demands Frankenstein procreate him a female with who he can show love and compassion. When Victor refuses, the monsters guarantees everlasting hatred and vengeance on all mankind.
This is the moment when the monster is born with revenge and the ability to destroy everything important to his creator. Romantic quest is yet another element in Romantic writing. Victor, being the hero in this particular novel, seeks the desire for ultimate knowledge . It was not until he showed an active interest in his studies of natural sciences that Victor began to ask: ‘ Whence . . . did the principle of life proceed” (36)? Victor began to investigate the motives of life. He also studied the characteristics of death by perceiving the natural decay and corruption of the human body.
The heavens and the earth fascinated him a great deal. Victor spent an unreasonable amount of time with his studies as a result of being totally devoted to his work . He urges: ” . . . In a scientific pursuit there is continual food for discovery and wonder” (35). While Victor deliberately abandons his friends, he knows that he is “guilty of a crime” (Shelly 23). This behavoir is a reaction that Victor cannot escape from in any sense. Victor describes the pleasure of exploring the metaphysical: “When I found so astonishing a power placed within my hands, I hesitated a long time concerning the manner in which I should employ it” ( ).
He is definitely embarking on a search for the meaningful purpose of life Victor’s quest is to rid the universe of death by creating life. This act is seen as a noble motive. Frankenstein’s accomplished feat will ultimately become his curse. In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, there is a brief reference to Coleridge’s Ancient Mariner in which Victor quotes a few lines from the poem. When he first lays eyes on his monster, Victor is horrified and haunted by the creature’s existence. Frankenstein also become sick with dread at the monster’s terrifying appearance.
This experience reminds Victor of the Ancient Mariner in which the Mariner, like Victor, has a feeling of isolation from the confusing world. As a result of the yearning for the Romantic Quest, Victor Frankenstein must now wallow in his mistake for the thirst of knowledge forever. Victor Frankenstein and his monster both get involved in there own seperate quests. The monster began his quest to find and kill everyone that was close to his creator. He never gave up with his quest until he had suceeded in doing what he had planned. Victor, on the other hand, became obsessed once again with the monster.
Even when Victor lost everyone that was near and dear to him via the monster, he swore that he would destroy what he had created. Victor states: ” I pursued him, and for many months this has been my task. Guided by a slight clue . . . I saw the fiend enter by night ” (187). Victor’s search continued until he was almost near death. He then enlightens Robert Walton to seek happiness and stay away from the claws of ambition, the same ambition that stimulated him to create the monster. Once Victor gives his last bit of advice to man , he ends up dying.