The feeling of loneliness leads people to feel miserable. In the story Frankenstein, written by Mary Shelley, there are many factors which cause the characters to feel miserable and lonely. The primary theme of Frankenstein is loneliness, and Shelley clearly communicates this theme by using characterization, symbolism, and setting to convey this theme to the reader.
The literary element of characterization plays a big role in conveying the feeling of loneliness in Frankenstein. When Victor first sees the monster he’s created he says: How can I describe my emotions at this catastrophe, or how delineate the wretch whom with such infinite pains and care I had endeavored to form? His limbs were in proportion, and I had selected his features as beautiful. Beautiful! – Great God!
His yellow skin scarcely covered his work of muscles and arteries beneath; his hair was a lustrous black, and flowing; his teeth of pearly whiteness; but these luxuriance’s only formed a more horrid contrast with his watery eyes, that seemed almost the same colour as the dun-white sockets in which they were set, his shriveled complexion and straight black lips (Shelley 35). Victor runs away totally abandoning the new born monster, leaving it to fend for its hideous self.
The monster later realizes that because it is ugly people will automatically want to run away, or try to kill him. The monster comes to understand that because of his appearance he will never be able to have a romantic relationship, or any relationship with a normal human. This understanding makes the monster feel very sad, miserable, and utterly alone. When the monster is telling Victor his story he says, “I was benevolent my soul glowed with love and humanity; but am I not alone? ” (69).
Later in the story the monster again says, “I am alone and miserable man will not associate with me” (103). These quotes show that Shelley used characterization to develop many scenarios when the monsters appearance wasn’t permitting him to be involved with humanity, which left him rejected and alone. Loneliness is shown through symbols many times in Frankenstein. Adam from Genesis in the Bible is a symbol for the monster. The monster compares him to the monster saying, “I often referred the several situations, as their similarity struck me, to my own.
Like Adam, I was apparently united by no link to any other being in existence; but his state was far different than mine in every other respect… ” (Shelley 92). He reads the book paradise lost, and he views Adams character as a man being alone. The monster relates to this part of the story, but not to the rest because Adam was beautiful and would eventually find a companion, while the monster would be lonely forever. Another symbol we see in Frankenstein is ice.
The monster taunts Victor saying, “Follow me; I seek the everlasting ices of the North, where you will feel the misery of cold and frost, to which I am impassive” (152). The ice is a symbol for isolation and the coldhearted side of humans. The monster has taken everything from Victor, and now wants to lead him to a dead lonely place so that he will feel the greatest amount of misery possible. Shelley uses Adam and ice as symbols in Frankenstein to display the loneliness the characters feel. The literary element of setting is used in Frankenstein to show the feeling of loneliness.
The monster describes waking up to Victor saying, “It was dark when I awoke; I felt cold also, and half frightened, as if it were instinctively, finding myself so desolate” (Shelley 71). The first time the monster awoke he was confused, cold, alone, and helpless. The monster was brand new to the world, like a helpless baby, except for being much larger and uglier. Shelley uses the setting of cold and darkness to bring out the feelings of fear, loneliness and isolation. When Victor hears about the death of his youngest brother William, he quickly returns back to Geneva.
He walks out to the spot of the murder and says, “It advanced; the heavens were clouded, and I soon felt the rain coming slowly in large drops, but its violence y increased. I quitted my seat, and walked on, although the darkness and storm increased every minute, and the thunder burst with a terrific crash over my head” (49). The approaching rain and heavy storm pouring down of Victor makes the reader feel the anger and loneliness Victor feels. Through the setting, Shelley shows the desolation Victor feels, and passes that feeling onto the reader.
Loneliness is the theme in Frankenstein, and through characterization, symbolism, and setting the reader can easily observe this. Shelley uses the monster’s ugliness to show that appearances do matter, and being a hideous creature can lead to a lonely life. The symbols of Adam in Genesis and the ice in the Artic are isolation and the cold, dark side of humans. The cold, dark, and stormy settings convey a feeling of helplessness and loneliness. By using these literary elements to show the feeling of loneliness, Shelley was able to create a masterpiece named Frankenstein.