isolation in frankenstein essay


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In its preface, Frankenstein claims to be a novel that gives a flattering depiction of "domestic affection." That seems a strange claim in a novel full of murder, tragedy, and despair. But, in fact, all that tragedy, murder, and despair occur because of a lack of connection to either family or society. Put another way, the true evil in Frankenstein is not Victor or the monster , but isolation. When Victor becomes lost in his studies he removes himself from human society, and therefore loses sight of his responsibilities and the consequences of his actions. The monster turns vengeful not because it's evil, but because its isolation fills it with overwhelming hate and anger. And what is the monster's vengeance? To make Victor as isolated as it. Add it all up, and it becomes clear that Frankenstein sees isolation from family and society as the worst imaginable fate, and the cause of hatred, violence, and revenge.

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Frankenstein: Theme of Isolation by Mary Shelley

  • Author: arsalan
  • Posted on: 24 May 2018
  • Paper Type: Free Essay
  • Subject: English
  • Wordcount: 1378 words
  • Published: 24th May 2018

This is a novel written by Mary Shelley. The novel title refers to a scientist known as Victor Frankenstein, who learns to treat life and creates a being in the image and likeness of man but more powerful and average (Fleck 250). However, the idea of depicting man as God is wrong. This novel starts with Robert Walton, who sought for a new way through Russia to the Pacific Ocean via the Arctic Ocean. Shelly defines several themes in the novel which are tied to actions performed by characters associated with them.

The themes in the Frankenstein novel are developed through the characters’ actions and personalities, which help in giving insight into the full understanding of the concepts anticipated by Shelley. The novel is full of terror and agony which has made it qualify as science fiction. The book story is written in a concise manner where Shelley allows the main characters to speak as the narrator to pass the main themes to her audience. The theme of isolation is outlined and carried on throughout the context, mainly through Victor.

In Shelley’s gothic novel, isolation is a significant theme attributed to Victor. Family bonding is essential for breaking emotional isolation, and since Victor lacks that family bond, he ends up being alone and devastated.  Victor lived in “his world” with no people to bond with; as his father stated, “once Victor accepts himself and considers them as a family, he will think about the affection of the family and hear from him regularly.” Victor excluded himself from his family while also ignoring their letters, and he rarely responded since he was only focused on his project as he once said: “ he could not tear my thought from my employment.” Victor’s mind was only concentrated on creating another being and did not focus on interactions with family or forming bonds with friends.

In the novel, the theme of isolation is developed around the main character in which victor is portrayed as isolated (Pollin and Burton 100). He has no one to tell about his inventions and creations because he has no one to express his emotions to. This is due to the loss of his lover, friends, and family. Isolation in this context is far more described by portraying characters’ loneliness and the acts that are attributed to the isolated nature of the specific character developed in the setting of the book. The inability to express emotions leads to the growth of hatred, which is channeled and expressed in inappropriate ways and results in harming society, as described in the book.

In the preface, Frankenstein is a novel that provides a clear depiction of isolation. Cases of murder, despair, and tragedy occur due to a lack of connection to society or family. In the novel, Shelley tries to define isolation as being the separation from other people, whether physically or emotionally, leading to the self-destruction of Victor and the creature he had created. This shows that the real evil in Frankenstein is not the monster nor Victor but isolation. The novel is characterized by passion and a tale of deep sorrow as well as misfortunes. Shelley explores the theme of loneliness in different ways and presents it to the readers, accompanied by its reputation. Shelley effectively describes this theme through Victor by examining his actions and how depressed he is.

Victor experiences isolation from society and his family during his studies. He, therefore, faces the worst imaginable fate, and where he views violence, revenge, and hatred as caused by isolation. According to Victor, the monster turns vengeful not because he is evil but because isolation fills it with anger and hatred. The devastation experienced by Victor leads to imprecise and poor judgment and thus ends up with unbearable decisions. As described by Victor, isolation from society leads to emotional disorder, which is implicated through social evils committed by him. The message portrayed by Shelley that isolation is considerably associated with the way people live their lives and also how people interact with each other in society of not limited only to emotional relationships and bonds.

In the Frankenstein novel, the victor is described as the one who brings isolation to himself. Throughout most of his life, Victor had isolated and grounded himself in his chambers trying to solve the math and create a creature (Cole and David 69). Victor had excluded himself from society, and that resulted in implicit implications for the community since, by creating the creature, he unleashed a monster. The misfortune brought about by isolation keeps the book’s ideas alive by making the readers want to know what each action resulted in. To cope with loneliness, Victor finds a way of expressing his emotions through the creature he created. Although isolation is viewed to have negative impacts, Victor found it as an essential factor in his work since he did not experience disruption during his project. This implies that isolation can result in something good if used in the right manner since, through it, the victor was able to achieve his dream and create a powerful being as he had anticipated.

In conclusion, isolation, as portrayed by Shelley, is a dangerous factor in one’s life. Isolation is destructive and makes the affected characters suffer adverse consequences from it. As observed, Victor was aspired by isolation to create a monster whom he could not take responsibility for and whom he could not control and hence led to the self-destruction of Victor’s life. Additionally, by Victor excluding himself from everyone, he ended up losing family affection and bond, and also, the love for his work cost him a family relationship.

Cole, David. “Teaching Frankenstein and Wide Sargasso Sea Using Affective Literacy.”  English in Australia  42.2 (2007): 69.

Fleck, P. D. “Mary Shelley’s Notes to Shelley’s Poems and” Frankenstein.”  Studies in Romanticism  (1967): 226-254.

Pollin, Burton R. “Philosophical and Literary Sources of Frankenstein.”  Comparative Literature  17.2 (1965): 97-108.


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isolation in frankenstein essay

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isolation in frankenstein essay

Essay On The Theme Of Isolation In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

Can isolation destroy the wellbeing of one’s mental health, or turn you into ?  In the novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, Shelley develops them of isolation, a dangerous yet accommodating act. The reader sees the downside of isolation when Victor Frankenstein, a young scientist, Robert Walton, a lonesome seafarer, and the creature endeavor mental breakdowns that are direst results of their isolation. Each character has either inflicted their own isolation or has been forced into isolation by societal standards. Each character has approached isolation differently, and with those attempts to seclude the amount of isolation they face, Shelly implies that isolation will ultimately lead to self-destruction of the mind soul and body. Furthermore, the dangers of isolation are prevalent in the novel. Mary Shelley reveals the dangerous effects of different forms of isolation through the characters of Robert Walton, Victor Frankenstein, and the creature.

Robert Walton is a seafarer who is on an expedition to the North pole. He travels alone while writing various letters to his sister Margaret that expresses, he is yearning for a companion, that will not only accompany him, but share emotions as well. Robert Walton has inflicted himself with isolation, with similar reasons to Victor Frankenstein. Walton initially secludes himself to discover more knowledge found in nature. As Walton is on his journey to acquire more knowledge, he yearns to have an intellectual connection with an induvial, particularly Victor Frankenstein. Walton suffers from loneliness while he is on an expedition by himself. He chooses to stay in solitude, but beings to feel physically and mentally isolated. “"But I have one want which I have never yet been able to satisfy, and the absence of the object of which I now feel as a most severe evil, I have no friend, Margaret: when I am glowing with the enthusiasm of success, there will be none to participate my joy; if I am assailed by disappointment, no one will endeavour to sustain me in dejection." ( Frankenstein Letter 2 ). The author uses Robert Walton as an example of self-inflicted isolation, and although Walton has done it to himself, he experiences dejection from the world because he does not have anyone to share intellectual knowledge with. 

Victor Frankenstein embodies the idea of isolation by inflicting it unto himself. He does so by allowing himself to physically isolate himself from his friends and family, which ultimately lead to a decline in his mental health. He makes the decision to leave his family to further execute his studies on creation. Victor studies elsewhere in Ingolstadt, but fears being alone, and later realizes that eventually, loneliness will overtake his life. Because he understands what his decisions may hate in store for him, he also realizes that he must do whatever is necessary to “become his own” to survive alone. “I, who had ever been surrounded by amiable companions, continually engaged in endeavouring to bestow mutual pleasure, I was now alone. In the university, whither I was going, I must form my own friends, and be my own protector” ( Frankenstein Chapter 3 ). Mary Shelley implies the first instance of isolation Victor must endure while studying abroad. During this point in the novel, Victor imposes isolation on himself, but has not built the strength to tackle it on his own, which is why he struggles with himself throughout the novel. As he struggles he becomes more of a monster than the one he intended to create .Because Victor has imposed his own form of isolation, he must make it up for himself. 

The creature in which Victor Frankenstein has created has been isolated form the world, but not by choice. He suffers with isolation, but what makes the creature different is the mere fact that he never asked to be alone, he is not the same as Robert Walton or Victor. As the monster begins to grow more isolated and forced out of society, he expresses how through isolation his hate for himself has worsened, also questioning why Satan is accepted by his “angels” but no one stands by the creature’s side. Why did you form a monster so hideous that even you turned from me in disgust? God, in pity, made man beautiful and alluring, after his own image; but my form is a filthy type of yours, more horrid even from the very resemblance. Satan had his companions, fellow devils, to admire and encourage him, but I am solitary and abhorred.’ ( Frankenstein Chapter 15). Mary Shelly introduces isolation through different characters, in this case, the creature also experiences isolation, but it was not intended. The creature feels completely separated from the world, simply because of the way he is looked at by society.  Isolation has led the creature to so many pains, that he often asks himself questions, as well as questioning his identity and what he has to offer to a world that does not even accept him. If a form of evil can have an army behind it, why can't the creature have one as well?

Self-inflicted isolation and being rejected from the world are one of many aspects of isolation which is detrimental to the characters Robert Walton, Victor Frankenstein, and the creature. Mary Shelley exemplifies the themes of isolation by portraying it through Robert Walton, Victor Frankenstein, and the Creature. Each character has gone through some form of isolation that has either been self-inflicted or brought by rejection. Although there are many aspects of isolation, they are equally detrimental to an individual's wellbeing, as seen in the novel. Each character has suffered, due to isolation. This provides solid information about how isolation can do much damage to someone's mental health and even drive them crazy. In the novel Mary Shelley reveals that isolation is the true evil behind self-destruction.

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Loneliness & Isolation in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein Essay


The main character of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley was sure regarding his uniqueness: “A new species would bless me as its creator and source; many happy and excellent natures would owe their being to me” (42). The reason is that Viktor Frankenstein was a young scientist obsessed with the idea of creating a unique living creature by referring to science and alchemy.

Still, he cannot love this monstrous human being, and this fact leads to disastrous consequences (Cengage Learning 7; Seal 84-86). This novel represents the key characteristics of Romanticism through accentuating isolation from society, the focus on exploring nature, and the freedom of desires and feelings (Chase 165-166; Varner 137-138). Viktor, a Romantic character, chooses alienation as his path in the world that leads him to misery, and he develops as an irresponsible scientist who does not realize his duty.

Alienation in Shelley’s Novel

In Frankenstein, alienation is discussed through the perspective of sorrow and despair for the main characters. Although Viktor was brought up by loving parents, he always wanted to isolate himself from other people to focus on science (Gottlieb 127-129). Viktor states: “I must absent myself from all I loved while thus employed” (Shelley 117).

These words accentuate Viktor’s focus on himself and his desires that later determine his path, leading to more obsession with science and creating a new living being, as well as to more alienation while being locked in his laboratory and conducting experiments. Viktor’s alienation further leads him to despair because of creating the monster, but Frankenstein’s creature also suffers from isolation because he cannot be opened to society and accepted by it (Nesvet 348).

His first experience of interacting with people is described the following way: “The whole village was roused; some fled, some attacked me” (Shelley 83). The creature that wants to be loved faces the cruelty of the world that makes him become even more alienated and concentrated on revenge.

Responsibility in Frankenstein

In addition to making him and his creature be isolated, Viktor does not accept the idea of duty and responsibility for his actions because of his inability to understand what it means to be responsible for the creation. Being focused on a scientific aspect of creating, Viktor ignores his duty as a creator and a “father” (Bloom 22; Halpern et al. 50; Nair 78). As a result, the creature is forced to ask: “How dare you sport thus with life? Do your duty towards me, and I will do mine towards you and the rest of mankind” (Shelley 78). In this context, Viktor understands his duty only after his creature’s words.

However, he still does not accept his responsibility as a “father” because he cannot love his “child.” Thus, the creature states, “Yet you, my creator, detest and spurn me, thy creature, to whom thou art bound by ties only dissoluble by the annihilation of one of us” (Shelley 78). From this perspective, it is possible to note that Viktor is unable to take responsibility for his actions and perform his duties as both a scientist and a creator despite his ambition.

Alienation and the lack of responsibility regarding the scientist’s actions for society can be viewed as partially related to the modern world. On the one hand, the isolation of a scientist today cannot lead him to impressive results, but this characteristic is typical of Romanticism. On the other hand, modern scientists change the world, and they need to be responsible for their actions. Therefore, the ideas stated by Shelley in the novel should be reconsidered from the perspective of the modern world.

Works Cited

Bloom, Harold. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Infobase Learning, 2013.

Cengage Learning. A Study Guide for Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s “Frankenstein”. Gale/Cengage Learning, 2015.

Chase, Cynthia. Romanticism. Routledge, 2014.

Gottlieb, Evan, editor. Global Romanticism: Origins, Orientations, and Engagements, 1760–1820. Bucknell University Press, 2014.

Halpern, Megan K., et al. “Stitching Together Creativity and Responsibility: Interpreting Frankenstein across Disciplines.” Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society, vol. 36, no. 1, 2016, pp. 49-57.

Nair, Lekshmi R. “Playing God: Robin Cook’s ‘Mutation’ as a Reworking of the Frankenstein Theme of the Creator Pitted against the Creation.” Writers Editors Critics, vol. 6, no. 2, 2016, pp. 77-82.

Nesvet, Rebecca. “Review: Frankenstein: Text and Mythos.” Science Fiction Studies, vol. 45, no. 2, 2018, pp. 347-351.

Seal, Jon. GCSE English Literature for AQA Frankenstein Student Book. Cambridge University Press, 2015.

Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. Diversion Books, 2015.

Varner, Paul. Historical Dictionary of Romanticism in Literature. Rowman & Littlefield, 2014.

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IvyPanda. (2022, August 21). Loneliness & Isolation in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.

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Frankenstein Isolation and Loneliness

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The Consequences of Isolation and Alienation: Analysis of Frankenstein by Shelley

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Published: Dec 12, 2018

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Nature vs. Nurture (or Lack Thereof)

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isolation in frankenstein essay

Isolation and Loneliness in Shelley’s “Frankenstein”

The feeling of loneliness is one of the worst inner states. It makes people weak and helpless. Everyone tries to spend most of his time in communication and movement. The novel Frankenstein reflects the characters who got used to living in loneliness during their whole life. Their life is constant resistance to isolation and fights with abandonment and loneliness. The novel Frankenstein written by Mary Shelley combines different elements from various periods of art development; it reflects features from the Romantic Movement and Gothic period.

The author managed to illustrate the deepest feelings and emotions reflected in the main characters. It is important to stress that the basic theme of the novel is considered to be the illustration of loneliness and desolation following the main characters’ lives during the whole story. Mary Shelley wanted to highlight the atmosphere of complete isolation from society, the pain of loneliness living in the hearts of the main characters.

The author provides the reader with the complete description of every character and allows sympathizing with them to evaluate their behavior and actions. Mary Shelly describes the inner state of every character underlining all the details of their worrying and despair. It should be stressed that the main idea of the novel was to show the theme of loneliness and the problem of a real friendship observed in the text. Walton, Victor, and the Creature wanted to make a real friendship. Walton strived to make a friend from Victor’s body while Victor wanted to create a friend from dead parts.

“Begone!… There can be no community between you and me; we are enemies” (Shelly, 1995)

This shows the isolation of the Creature from society, his loneliness, and social misunderstanding. The author wanted to underline the fact that the Monster has never felt like belonging to anyone in the whole world.

Mary Shelly managed to show the gradation from loneliness to violence; the contradiction of these two feelings inside the main characters of the novel. She illustrated how relations between Victor and the Monster resulted in destruction and violence in their mutual interrelations. The Monster’s desire to destroy everything and bring only harm to society helped the doctor to understand his mistake of creation. His desire to avoid loneliness and make a real friend resulted in a huge mistake created by Victor. It should be noted that the novel reflects the feeling of isolation throughout the whole story. Thus at the very beginning, the author showed Robert Walton who had no one in the world; only letters from his sister helped him to resist the cruelty of the world, the painful feeling of loneliness and abandonment.

Robert Walton is a typical embodiment of a lonely person who has no one in the world, whose life runs in vain, and does not belong to anyone.

“ I have no friend. Even when I am glowing with the enthusiasm

of success, there will be none to participate my joy;

if I am assailed by disappointment, no one will endeavor

to sustain to me dejection.” (Shelly, 1995)

The author illustrates that this character is not abundant by society and has a lot of people to communicate with, but his soul feels lonely. Walton realizes that he has no real friend and cannot share his troubles and happiness with anyone. He strives to see this only friend in Victor but failed… (Bennett, 2000)

Isolation is also demonstrated in the description of the Monster’s life and that of Victor. These two characters contradict each other. The Monster who was created to fight loneliness brings more troubles and misunderstandings. Victor created one more personality that was destroyed by loneliness. The author managed to stress the fact that very often people strive to belong to someone and depend on a real friend. Thus, Victor wanted to create a person for the real friendship but instead of this, he made the Monster who felt isolated as Victor did.

The analysis of the novel provides the idea that the story is completely associated with the author’s life. Three narrators who felt loneliness and lived in their small worlds are the embodiment of the writer’s heritage, personality, and future. The novel Frankenstein is based on the author’s vision of the society and interrelation between the people. She tried to depict all the life mistakes resulting in isolation, destruction, and loneliness. The author wanted to avoid such actions in her own life; she always wanted to save herself and her family from the state of being lonely whatever the cost and this novel is the reflection of her mind and fear of isolation and abandonment. (King, 1999)

The novel Frankenstein is considered to be autobiographical by many critics. The theme of loneliness was the central one not only in the novel but in the life of the author. Mary Shelly contributed to her work all the efforts, feelings, and emotions; she managed to transfer her family life episodes and sufferings in the story underlining the pain of abandonment.

The character of the Monster is very often compared with the biblical first man Adam. It should be noted that the creature made by Victor reflected the same features as one can observe in Adam. The Monster was individual, unique, and alone. One can see a certain level of biblical parallelism between these two characters though there are some differences. Adam was not created to be alone, he was provided with a companion and was supported by God, his creator, and farther. Speaking about the novel Frankenstein, the Monster was to be lonely from the very beginning and the feeling of isolation followed him from the day he was created. Attitude towards Adam and the Monster is quite different.

“ Abhorred monster! Fiend that thou art.” (Shelly, 1995)

Victor shouted at his creature developing feelings of oddness and isolation. But the Monster was not responsible for his loneliness while Adam was punished for his actions and behavior. Victor never took any responsibility for his creature and the Monster felt that he had no place in the heart of his creator. In the case of Adam, God was completely aware of the responsibility he took for his creature; he wanted to make the embodiment of love and respect in the character to avoid selfishness and unfairness of the world.

The creation of the “monster” can be compared with the image of Eve who was aware of the consequences of her actions as well as Victor did. Knowledge of the dangerous events that resulted from the committed actions was underlined in the description of both characters, Eve and Victor. They were the creator of their fate and of those who surrounded them suffering the consequences. (Davidson, 2007)

The author illustrated the cruelty of the world in which her characters lived. She demonstrated that all the three narrators made the atmosphere of loneliness by themselves and only they were responsible for their isolation. The characters of Mary Shelly never gave love and care to each other; they lived in their morality but strived to get usual friendship and somebody’s attention and understanding. The theme of loneliness is closely associated with human moral values in society.

The author wanted to underline the fact that interrelations within any social group should be regarded as something important, as a kind of treasure. Mary Shelly managed to show how ignorance can influence our life and what it can lead to. Three different fates were interwoven by one common problem – the problem of being lonely and abandoned.

It is important to underline the fact that the novel Frankenstein sponged a lot of ideas from different biblical literature works and real acts of life; it can explain why the story is so involving and quite close to life. It allows examining the life of the author and feel her emotions reflected in the story. The narrators strive for happiness during the whole story and are eager to find this happiness in each other. But they only alienate each other by their attitude and moral make-up.

Thus, as it was shown from the analysis of the novel Frankenstein written by Mary Shelly the central problem of her narrators’ lives was the problem of loneliness. Robert Walton, Victor, and the Monster were considered to be strong characters but having a weak inner state. All the three males wanted to reach the only thing in the world – they strived not to be lonely, isolated from the whole world. Mary Shelly drew a line between biblical images of Adam and Eve and her characters underlining vivid similarities between them. The author managed to show that moral values of the society should be concentrated on mutual respect and friendship; otherwise it can lead to violence and cruelty among people.

Bennett, Betty T. and Stuart Curran, eds. Marry Shelly in Her Times. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000.

Davidson, Chris. Frankenstein’s Monster and Milton’s Satan. Frankenstein. 2007.

King, Linda. Mary Shelly’s Career Decision in Frankenstein. University of British Columbia. 1999.

Shelly, Mary. Frankenstein. Norton Critical Edition. pp. 352. 1995.

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Frankenstein Isolation

In the novel Frankenstein, the theme of family, isolation, the laws of nature, and revenge can be found. Victor told a story from his standpoint which later included one from the monster’s point of view.

In the novel, victor’s ambition leads him to stealing body parts to create the monster that he grew to despise. He spent weeks separate obsessing over his work, and his need to create life which one can say could have to do with the death of this mother. When Victor finally made his breakthrough in creating the monster, he soon regretted his work. Which led him to abandoning the monster and all responsibilities. One could say that the weeks spent separate took a toll on his mental health and when he finally created the monster, he realized he should have never gone against the law of nature.

Victor realizes to late that his ambitions and ego lead him to create life. Victor tries to correct hiss wrongdoing by abandoning his creation, leaving the monster without a “father,” someone to love him and care for him. Which leads to a series of events Victor never intends for.

Although Victor handpicked each body parts of the monster, propositional and non-portioned, he was still at awe when he seen the monster come to life. The monster was not what Frankenstein envisioned. He saw the monster ugly and against all laws of nature. Victor is a prime example of how human judge from appearance. Throughout the novel we see how humans judge based on appearance, however he was rejected. For example, in the novel the monster saved a little girl from what would have been her death and instead being thanked and celebrated, he was chased off by human in the village. The monster tried to do good, however he was ostracized and brutalized. This was mainly due to the fact the monster did not fit the norms of society so he was pushed away. In the book, we see that the monster was not evil rather he was pushed into the darkness. Not only was the monster pushed into darkness, he was also pushed into isolation forcing him to live on his own.

From an early stage the monster sought love and comfort from his master, however he was rejected. Perhaps, it was due to the fact Victor was fearful of the monster. Left alone in a brand-new world by this creator with no stepping stone, the monster sought acceptance from society but rependly , it failed him. In the novel, one can see that the monster was not created evil rather he was pushed into the darkness. For example, the monster’s attitude towards the strangers from the cabin showed his desire to be seen by society as an equal. The monster showed kindness and compassion, however when they saw the monster the fled. Humans judgment based on appearance is shown yet again in the novel.

Isolation yet again played a key role in this novel. When the monster found Frankenstein how his life was from his point of view. He told victor how he learned to speak, read, and write. In the novel, biblical terms were used in the novel such as, Adam and Eve. When the monster felt lonely, he asked Victor to create him a wife. Victor agreed but later too back his word because he did not want the monster to create his own family. Victor had already gone against the law of nature once; he was not about to go against it again. Victor felt the shame of creating the monster yet again, therefore he was not going to make him a wife. This left the Monster to truly feel alone because he is the only one of his kind. The monster wanted a family like Victor had, hints the theme of family in the novel.

Being rejected by his master and society all played a strong role in the monster turning to the path of darkness. The monster can be compared to an abandoned child, hurt and lone. He was left questioning his self-worth causing him to grow a hatred towards humans, especially one towards his creator. Victor brought him into the world then left him to carry the weight on his own. This left him to want to inflict the same level of pain on victor. For example, the monster killed Frankenstein's brother William, best friend Henry Clerval, and bride Elizabeth, which lead to the death of his father. The monster kills Victor's family leaving him alone, which later caused him to chase the monster around till his own death. In a way in monster left Victor alone just like he did him. At the end both Victor and the monster were alone. Leaving one to think can one be born evil or pushed into being evil.

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