Quote Analysis
“The Modern Prometheus” -Titan in Greek mythology (semi-God) – Zeus said that humans should not have fire – it was only for God -Prometheus went to Mount Olympus and stole some fire – thought it was unfair and gave it to humans – Zeus devised a punishment for Prometheus- chained to a rock at the lower reach of the mountain and a vulture tore out his liver twice a day – Transgressed- stepped out of natural order
“I feel a cold northern breeze play upon my cheeks which braces my nerves and fills me with delight.”-letter 1 pg.13 “if I fail, you will see me again soon, or never.” -letter 1 pg.15 The theme of the sublime Personification – sense of awe and wonder – feels its magical   Theme of mystery or dread- foreboding – sense of finality  
“I ardently hope that the gratification of your wishes may not be a serpent to sting you, as mine has been.” – letter 4 pg.24 -Allusion to the myth of Adam and Eve- serpent persuades Eve to eat from the tree of knowledge in the garden of Eden-forbidden by GOD -as soon as they eat the forbidden fruit they become aware if their own nakedness and sin -shows that Victor’s pursuit of knowledge has become an intolerable burden to him
“[natural philosophy] the genius that has regulated my fate.” “the fatal impulse that led to my ruin.” Ch2 “chance- or rather the evil influence, the Angel of Destruction, which asserted omnipotent sway over me.”-ch3 pg.36 “fate…. enounced to destroy me.” “the storm that was even hanging in the stars.”-ch2   Foreshadowing his doom         Fate outside his power             Stars=fate – revealing metaphor- imagery creates a sense of a huge oncoming disturbance in the natural order -reader imagines disruption and chaos +imagery of storm “hanging” above victor makes the reader think of an executioner’s axe ready to strike – foreshadowing tells the readers that what is about to be coming is likely to be dangerous and frightening
“I beheld a stream of fire issue from an old and beautiful oak.” Ch2 pg.33           “I never beheld anything so utterly destroyed.” -destructive force juxtaposed with beauty -fire linked to punishment (the myth of Prometheus) 1.hell/ damination 2.light and warmth 3.dangerous -victor’s fascination with science is both positive and negative   Short sentence- attention drawn to it- foreshadows his own doom
“I saw how the worm inherited the wonders of the eye and brain.”-ch4 pg.41     “I became myself capable of bestowing animation upon lifeless matter.”- ch4 pg.4 Vivid imagery of death and decay-metaphor of “inherited” makes death and decay seem natural. The word “wonders “suggests to the reader the fascination that victor feels with the human body. Also gives a sense of mystery. Reveals arrogance- god like quality + the word “myself” is unnecessary, revealing his self-importance  
“I began the creation of a human being.” “I resolved… to make the being of gigantic stature…. about eight feet in height” “my cheek had grown pale with study, and my person had become emaciated with confinement.” CH4 PG.43 “gigantic” emphasises how huge and unnatural the monster is God like qualities again- “creation of a human being”- reader feels that this is arrogant and overreaching.     Weak Victor seems addicted to the pursuit of his goal- he is clearly not healthy- this makes the goal itself seem unhealthy too
“I pursued nature to her hiding- places.” Ch4 pg.43     Metaphor- personification: nature is given female qualities suggesting weakness and vulnerability. He seems to expect dominance over nature (patriarchy). The verb “pursued” creates an image of nature hiding, suggesting his idea is wrong.
“the horrors of my secret toil, as I dabbled among the unhallowed damps of the grave, or tortured the living animal to animate lifeless clay”   “disturbed, with profane fingers, the tremendous secrets of the human frame.” Ch4 pg.43 Vivid imagery of graves- “damps” is sensory, telling us that he is immersed in death. He also “torture[s]” living creatures to achieve his goals. Links back to bible as humans are made out of “clay”     Adjective-His actions are fundamentally disrespectful. He should not be encroaching on this as a human- playing with dead bodies= bad = has to keep secret= violating sacred things      
“it was on a dreary night of November”- ch5 pg.45   “anxiety” “agony” “convulsive” “agitated” –ch5 pg.45   “I saw the dull yellow eye of the creature open; it breathed hard”-ch5 pg.45 Darkness, horrifying + supposed to be peaceful but victor disturbed the peace   Semantic field of pain and discomfort- tense situation- unbearable+ harsh consonance reflects the pain   Inhumane, “it”- pronoun associated with objects and animals- gives it animalistic features
“my candle was nearly burnt out, when, by the glimmer of the half-extinguished light” – ch5 pg.45   “catastrophe” –ch5 pg.45       “pearly whiteness” –ch5 pg.45   Foreshadowing- mystery + fear- darkness is enveloping the room Light represents/symbolises hope- his hope is dying- despair   Disaster- usually associated with a huge disaster concerning the world- perhaps victor thinks of the monster as something dangerous for the world and it disturbed the peace and natural order of everything Pearl=treasure –precious also pearls are hidden in shells, so the monster needs to be protected and a secret
“his yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries” “lustrous black” “horrid contrast…. watery eyes” “his shrivelled complexion and straight black lips” CH5 PG.45 Monstrous description Horror is contrasted with the “flowing” black hair and white teeth juxtaposed with his “shrivelled” face and “straight black lips”
“the beauty of the dream vanished” -ch5 pg. 45 -He was so passionate about his creation and spent all his time on it -Now that he’s done with it he realises what he has done is wrong and horrifying, so his dreams are vanishing -The reality he is confronted with fills him with horror and disgust
“I slept, indeed, but I was disturbed by the wildest dreams.” -ch5 pg.46   “wretch” “wretchedly” – ch5 pg.46 Sleep is peaceful- disturbed – reflects how victor disturbed the natural order of the world by acting godly- disturbed the peace- it haunts him   Something with no hope or happiness- both monster and victor
“I embraced her; but as I imprinted the first kiss on her lips, they became livid with the hue of death……. I held the corpse of my dead mother in my arms” -ch5 pg.46 -They are both women and naturally capable of creation (birth) -Their deaths reflect the natural creation they have dies as well -Victor’s kiss is the kiss of death, and his marriage to Elizabeth is represented as being equivalent to both a marriage to his mother and a marriage with death itself
– horrifying connection between sexuality and death
  “convulsive” pg. 45 + “convulsed” pg.46 —-Ch5         “when by the dim yellow light of the moon, as it forced its way through the window shutters” – ch5 pg.46   Describes the monster’s motion as “convulsive” and describing his feelings as “convulsed”   -connects him to the monster – makes readers question who the real monster is   – he created him so who is to blame- the real monster   Personifies the moon- the light of the moon “forced”- violent meaning Links to monster? Yellow eyes
“demonical corpse” -ch5 pg.46   “even Dante could not have conceived.” Ironic- after acting godly he sees him as demonic   Dante is an author- famous for his book “inferno”- story about a man who descends into hell and goes around it Victor is suggesting that even him who imagined something as horrifying as hell would not be able to imagine or comprehend something as terrifying as the monster.
““Oh, save me! Save me!” I imagined that the monster seized me, I struggled furiously, and fell down in a fit.”-ch5 pg.48 Allusion to Macbeth- insecurity- Banquo at the banquet- hallucination- both Macbeth and Victor transgress- remorse?
“ill befitting wounds that my mind had sustained.”-ch6 pg.53 “I wish to prepare you for the woeful news, but I know it’s impossible…. William is dead!” ch7 pg.56 Vivid metaphor- guilt? Haunted?     Foreshadowing- last chapter ends with describing victor’s “joy” and now it is about to be shattered. Name of Shelley’s first son- mirror of her own loss      
“O God! I have murdered my darling child!”- ch7 pg.57 Her reaction involves her directly taking the blame- contradicts victor’s personality later on in the novel- pushes blame completely on the monster
Chapter 8 “during the whole of this wretched mockery of justice I suffered living torture”- pg.63 Theme of torture He was the only one who possess the ability to stop all this happening- others are tortured by the fact they can’t do anything for Justine= helpless unlike victor Victor is making a mockery of the justice system but it’s going by direct evidence- victor is the unjust one by allowing monster to get away Foreshadows that he will be tortured by other people’s pain as they continue to die  
“God knows…. How entirely I am innocent.”-ch8 pg.65     “the tortures of the accused did not equal mine”- ch8 pg.66               “the idea of the visit was torture to me” -ch8 pg.67 Shelley’s portrayal of Justine is true Shelley wrote the trial to portray the idea that the innocent are often punished in corrupted justice systems.   Justine will die knowing she is innocent whereas victor will die knowing what he has done- this will torture his soul He will have to live with the guilt for the rest of his life- longer than the horror Justine will face- it will last him years rather than days Reflects how nothing is stronger than guilt Justine will be in peace, but Victor won’t- not even in death   Torture as he has to face the consequences of his actions or in this case, inaction as he is letting Justine be condemned
“solitude was my only consolation- deep, dark, deathlike solitude.”- ch9 pg.70 “to dispel the dark cloud which brooded over me.”- ch9 pg.70 Gothic (or dark romantic) tone and imagery Alliteration     Storms are consistently associated with negativity in this novel Normally there are literal storms accompanying events but here Shelley uses the “dark cloud” as a metaphor. 
“At these moments I wept bitterly, and wished that peace would revisit my mind…. But that could not be. Remorse extinguished every hope.” –ch9 pg.71 Victor is feeling guilty and responsible for the death of his brother and Justine Also pitying himself and his own life wondering what he did to deserve such a fate. However, his life is falling apart because of his own actions. Short sentence
“when I thought of him, I gnashed my teeth, my eyes became inflamed, and I ardently wished to extinguish that life which I so thoughtlessly bestowed.”- ch9 pg.71 Animalistic imagery could suggest that perhaps victor is the real monster in the story. Wants revenge- wants to get rid of the monster
“I would have made a pilgrimage to the highest peak of the Andes, could I, when there, have precipitated him to their base.”-ch9 pg.71 Victor is confused and conflicted- his mind is going from suicide and murder, guilt and revenge He’d make a pilgrimage to the Andes but doesn’t go in search of the monster
“men appear to me as monsters thirsting for each other’s blood.”- Elizabeth dialogue (remembers what she said)- ch9 pg.72 Elizabeth’s dialogue repeatedly sums up many of the main messages displayed within the novel. What Shelley is trying to discuss here is whether humans are the real monsters within society. Elizabeth is losing faith in humanity Society shuns the monster because of his physical; appearance and are oppressive and judgemental throughout the novel
“he walks about the world free, and perhaps respected.” –Elizabeth ch9 pg.72   “I, not in deed, but in effect, was the true murderer.”-ch9 pg.72   “but I am not so wretched as you are.” –ch9 pg.72- Elizabeth to victor Victor knows this is true because he is the man Elizabeth’s critique condemns both human nature and the society institutions that materialize from it     Victor has begun to take responsibility for what he has done- he tried to blame fate and even his professor and dad but now he is guilt-ridden.   Double meaning- he is wretched in that: He is grieving William’s death (what Elizabeth means)He is a horrible person for causing William’s death
“what can disturb our peace?”- ch9 pg.73 (Elizabeth) After all that has happened, with 2 lovely and innocent people dying, Elizabeth still finds some beauty in the world. However, this is one of those “how could it get any worse” moments.- foreshadowing
“that miserable epoch from which I dated all my woe.”-ch9 pg.73 = era, time This is inaccurate as it makes us doubt victor’s capacity to reason objectively His “woe” dates to his obsession with creating the monster or at the latest from the moment he sees him open his eyes. 
“The rain was pouring in torrents, and thick mists hid the summits of the mountains”- ch10 pg.75 Strom continues to accompany bad things Shelley continues her use of pathetic fallacy As victor’s thoughts are clouded by darkness and sadness, mist appears and hides the mountains that he used to adore and appreciate so he could improve his health But the mist prevents him from getting better Suggesting that his situation will never improve
“What were rain and storm to me?”- ch10 pg.75   “while rain poured from the dark sky” –ch10 pg.76 The rain represents the struggle and inner conflict of victor Throughout this novel it’s used to show the conflict victor has with his monster he has created and all the guilt bestowed on him.
      “wandering spirits, if indeed ye wonder…… allow me this faint happiness…. As I said this, I suddenly beheld the figure of a man…..advancing towards me with superhuman speed.”- ch10 pg.76         After what he has done, there is no chance for him to have just one moment of happiness Right when he feels even a little joy, God won’t allow it- he doesn’t deserve it The appearance of the monster, reminds him of what he has done
“Do your duty towards me, and I will do mine towards you and the rest of mankind.”-ch10 pg.77-monster to victor   “Life, although it may only be an accumulation of anguish, is dear to me, and I will defend it.”- ch10 pg.77 We just saw the monster through Victor’s eyes and now we see him We discover he has feelings and is a person who speaks with noble dignity Makes victor appear in comparison
“Remember, that I  am thy creature; l ought to be thy Adam; but I am rather the fallen angel, whom thou drivest from joy for no misdeed.”-ch10 pg.78 God loved Adam and gave him the Garden of Eden and treated him well But he can’t out Satan, “the fallen angel” and condemned him to burn in the lake of fire
“Believe me, Frankenstein, I was benevolent; my soul glowed with love and humanity: but am in not alone, miserably alone?”-ch10 pg.78 Shows he is naturally good
“I felt the duties of the creator….I ought to render him happy before I complained of his wickedness.”-ch10 pg.79 Victor has a moment of responsibility
“I felt tormented by hunger and thirst.” – pg80   “I was poor, helpless, miserable wretch; I knew, and could distinguish, nothing; but feeling pain invade me on all sides, I sat down and wept.” -pg80 Vulnerable, confused     Isolated —- sympathy  
“when I was oppressed by cold…” -pg81 Oppressed by both cold (the weather) and cold (the fact that he has been abandoned).  
“I thrust my hand into the live embers, but quickly drew it out again with a cry of pain.” Pg.81 Similar to a small child, the creature is learning about the world around him; fire creates warmth but can cause pain if touched.
“the silver hair and benevolent countenance of the aged cottager won my reverence, while the gentle manners of the girl enticed my love.” -pg.84   “Nothing could exceed in beauty the contrast between these two excellent creatures.” -pg84   “What chiefly struck me was the gentle manners of these people; and I longed to join them, but dared not.”  -pg85   “I saw no cause for their unhappiness; but I was deeply affected by it.” -pg86   “Yet why were these gentle beings unhappy? They possessed a delightful house… and every luxury; they had a fire to warm them… enjoyed another’s company and speech.” -pg.86   The ‘wretch’ can feel love, just like a human- it isn’t just some hostile monster as we may have suspected         Can also appreciate beauty, something that a lot of humans cannot do.       Human-like feelings         Displaying his ability to feel emotions, specifically sympathy- not even all humans can do that   We are often blinded by our situations to appreciate the small things we have in life- food, shelter, heat, clothing and family. The monster is aware of those and appreciates them.
“This trait of kindness moved me sensibly. I had been accustomed, during the night, to steal a part of their store for my own consumption ; but when I found that in doing this I inflicted pain on the cottagers, I abstained, and dissatisfied myself with berries, nuts, and roots, which I gathered from a neighbouring wood.” Pg. 86 Victor’s creation feels sympathy for the DeLacey family. He feels empathy for their struggles and assist the family in their day to day plight. The passage also exemplifies the idea that the Monster was reanimated with compassion and love in his heart Echoes the idea of “Nature vs Nurture”- debate whether humans are born good or evil, or if we are shaped by our experiences. This was a widely discussed philosophy topic around the time F/stein was written .
“I had admired the perfect forms of my cottagers – their grace, beauty, and delicate complexions; but how was I terrified when I viewed myself in a transparent pool!”   “I was in reality the monster that I am”   “I did not yet entirely know gather fatal effects of this miserable deformity.” -Pg88 After observing the cottagers, the monster feels unloved and unwanted. He sees his reflection and is unable to even believe that he is indeed who he sees. This shows that he is capable of perceiving beauty as he recognizes that he is attracted to the forms of the cottagers. Likewise, he is capable of self-consciousness; he realizes that he is a monster and that his physical appearance is what is keeping him from being normal (even calls it a ‘deformity’) and from being lived and respected as a person.
“the future gilded by bright rays of hope and anticipations of joy.” End of chapter 12, pg.89 Links to chapter 6, where it finished with Victor stating how he felt ‘unbridled joy’ and then his whole life descended into chaos and torture within the following chapter. Shelley is repeating this technique, irony, again through the monster’s thoughts that leads him to believe the family will accept him. Over the course of the next few chapters we learn this isn’t true, so the monster’s life will also descend into chaos just like his creator’s. Gothic doubling?
“Was man, indeed, at once so powerful, so virtuous and magnificent, yet so vicious and base?”  Pg.92   “I turned away with disgust and loathing.” Pg93 Can’t understand how humans can be evil         Can’t even bear to hear about death and murder at start.
“When I looked around, I saw and heard of none like me. Was I then the monster, a blot upon the earth, from which all men fled, and whom all men disowned?”     “I cannot describe to you the agony that these reflections inflicted upon me: I tried to dispel them, but sorrow only increased with knowledge.”   Pg93 This is one of the monster’s first realisation that his ugliness has completely secluded him from everyone on earth. This is also when he begins to realise learning expands his ability to understand others and beauty at the same time creates his own hell and solitude—begins to understand that he is completely and utterly alone.   This knowledge upsets the creature, in a similar way to Victor wishing that he had never made the discoveries that he did with creating life.   *knowledge is not always a blessing.
“the Arabian was left alone, unacquainted with the language of the country, and utterly ignorant of the customs of the world.”   “she fell, however, into good hands.”   Pg.98 Both the monster and Safie are in the same situation however she had the help of good people unlike the monster who was competently abandoned by his creator and all humans.
“I felt the greatest ardour for virtue rise within me, and abhorrence for vice, as far as I understood the signification of those terms, relative as they were, as I applied them, to pleasure and pain alone.” Pg99 The wretch is actually incredibly thoughtful- considering his ethical system from a philosopher’s perspective- not many people act morally. The wretch’s ethical system goes along with those of utilitarian like Bentham and Mill as well as virtue ethicist Aristotle (some pain and pleasure can lead to virtue whilst some pain and pleasure would lead to vice)
“Many times I considered Satan as the fitter emblem of my condition.” Pg100 Using his knowledge of Paradise Lost to liken himself and his situation to Satan – feels cursed like Satan and absolutely disdained by his creator, Victor.
“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 a solitary and abhorred.” Pg100 Criticising Victor God made Adam in his own image, but he is human so a more downgraded version of God. Victor isn’t God, he’s human. He made the monster out of his reckless, destructive and hideous human being- a downgrade image if victor- but it also includes things Victor subconsciously wanted: strength, height, a brain which could comprehend things at a magnificent rate. He believes he’s worse off than Satan- hates solitude so much that he would rather be Satan and have ‘fellow-devils’
“as I am blind” “I am blind, and cannot judge of your countenance.” Pg102-103 DeLacey treats the monster like he would any human being, all because he couldn’t see him therefore unable to make a judgment on his horrifying look. Shelley once again commenting on societies ability to judge and cast out any abnormalities from the norm.
“CURSED, CURSED CREATOR! Why did I live? Why, in that instant, did I not extinguish the spark of existence which you had so wantonly bestowed?” Pg104 Hate and anger- exclamative, and questioning
“Slave, I before reasoned with you, but you have proved yourself unworthy of my condensation.”   “You are my creator, but I am your master; – obey!”   Pg128 Role reversal Wretch calls VF ‘wretched’ VF prisoner of the monster, prisoner of fear   With this declaration from the monster, the power shift that Shelley’s the entire novel has been building up to between the monster and his creator is complete. This is noteworthy because Frankenstein created his creature with the intent to overpower it and control it and yet, from the moment the creature was brought to life, the opposite has occurred. Frankenstein allows his life to be run and his actions be determined by the actions of his creation. With the monster’s declaration of power, Frankenstein can no longer even pretend that he is truly in change, as all involved in the power struggle know that it is the unnamed creature that is truly calling the shots.  
“I shall be with you on your wedding-night.” Pg129 Monster warning Victor that he will get revenge on his wedding. This I appropriate because Victor just ruined the monster’s martial dreams.
“Mr Kirwin is a magistrate; and you are given an account of the death of a gentleman who was found murdered here last night.” Pg133 Another role reversal Experiencing himself all of the grief he caused other people, he is now in Justine’s position from ch8 (if he had told people about the monster Justine wouldn’t have died.)
“I turned with loathing from the woman who could utter so unfeeling a speech to a person just saved” pg136 Irony of the situation is that Victor, who himself has expressed no sympathy for the monster, finds it revolting when the woman seems unable to sympathise with an alleged murderer.
“I have but one resource; and I devote myself, either in my life or death, to his destruction.” Pg153 This is Victor’s final hope and goal in life- either to find and destroy his creature or die trying.
“the deep grief which this scene had at first excited quickly gave way to rage and despair.” Pg154   “let the cursed and hellish monster drink deep of agony; let him feel the despair that now torments me.” Natural world theme The solemn scene of the graves of his loved ones renewed Victor’s spirit of revenge and encouraged him to search for his creation.
“I was answered through the stillness of night by a loud and fiendish laugh.” Pg154 Night – dark – symbolises evil Shelley incorporates dark ness into the monster’s emergence at the grave site.
“I saw the fiend enter by night and hide himself in a vessel bound for the Black sea. I took my passage in the same ship; but he escaped, I know not how.” Pg155 Both sentences are examples of foreshadowing The monster is going on a ship bound for the ‘black sea’ – the word ‘black’ has symbolic meaning of evil and darkness, which is what later comes with both of their deaths. Their journey carries both of them to their deaths, because Victor later joins him on the same journey but a different ship. The difference in ships could symbolise their differences in wrong doings, but in the end they both go to the same place.
“My duties towards the beings of my own species had greater claims to my attention, because they included a greater proportion of happiness or misery.” Pg165 Through utilitarianism, Victor justifies his post-creation actions, and believes himself guiltless. Victor is weighing the amount of good he can do for the wretch – In the end he decides he can do much more good for humans, but he didn’t consider the fact that the wretch might get upset and kill off his family.
“They were for ever ardent and craving; still I desired love and fellowship, and I was still spurned. Was there no injustice in this?” Pg169     “I, the miserable and the abandoned, am an abortion, to be spurned at, and kicked, and trampled on.” Pg169 The monster admits his wrongdoings but also says how he is not the only monster – Victor and society all judged him based off his appearance and drove him to getting revenge for being abandoned and shunned by everyone. This abandonment drove him to his actions when all he wanted was to be accepted.     Monster’s life compared to an ‘abortion’, seeing as he is an unwanted life, a life abandoned by his creator, Victor. Gives us a glimpse into his suffering and how it has served as a motive for his actions.  
“He was soon borne away by the waves and lost in darkness and distance.” Pg170 (last line) Shelley uses ‘darkness’ to portray the monster’s coming to death and when the monster is ‘lost’ in darkness he is also leaving the light of life.
author avatar
William Anderson (Schoolworkhelper Editorial Team)
William completed his Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts in 2013. He current serves as a lecturer, tutor and freelance writer. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, walking his dog and parasailing. Article last reviewed: 2022 | St. Rosemary Institution © 2010-2024 | Creative Commons 4.0

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