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Discuss the sources of discontentment and/or despair in 'Frankenstein' by Mary Shelley
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'Then the discontented wanderer is thrown back on himself - if his life is to become bearable, only he can make it so. And, on that spring evening, walking up the long, dark, murmuring street toward the boulevard, Eric was in despair. He knew that he had to make a life, but he did not seem to have the tools' (Another Country, pp.213/4).
Discuss the sources of discontentment AND/OR despair in Mary Shelley's 'Frankenstein'
The depiction of despair, in varying forms, is perhaps predominantly engendered in its purest form within the individual character's guilt as a fundamental essence of their characterisation. In relation to Frankenstein, this inclination is explicit in Victor's tormenting guilt surrounding the murder of William, Justine and Clerval: 'But I, the true murderer, felt the never-dying worm alive in my bosom, which allowed no hope or consolation...Anguish and despair had penetrated into the core of my heart' (Shelley, p. 68). This 'never-dying worm' takes on symbolic significance in the creature, who acts as a physical representation of Victor's guilt synonymous with these murders, and is therefore a constant reminder of remorse, instigating the escalation of his profound despair.
Furthermore, Victor's guilt, thus his
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