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Underlying themes in the novel Frankenstein.

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Throughout the novel Frankenstein there are several underlying themes. One of the most evident is the importance of friendship, and relationships among individuals. Mary Shelly's views regarding companionship are portrayed through the bonds that Victor Frankenstein both gains, and loses. Friendship is the driving force behind this novel, it is what possesses the characters, although each in a different manner. Shelley suggests through her writing that a man without friends is lacking an important aspect of life. Robert Kiely examines this idea as well, saying Shelly feels that friendship provides both a "balancing and completing agent" (pp 295). This idea is further illustrated through the writings of Walton to his sister. Although he has had good fortune in finding a ship and crew, and is about to set out on the quest for knowledge that he craves, he feels sorrow due to his lack of companionship. "I have one want that I have never been able to satisfy...I have no friend...When I am glowing with the enthusiasm of success, there will be none to participate in my joy" (Shelley 53). ...read more.


The female companion is more valuable "since she can provide both spiritual sympathy and physical affection" (Kiely pp 295). This is exemplified through Elizabeth's murder; when Clerval died it was a great and painful loss for Frankenstein, but when Elizabeth died, it was the end of everything for him. The importance of a friend of the opposite sex is also evident when the monster begs Frankenstein for a female similar to himself. Although he could have chosen a male counterpart, he desired that of a female. Shelley creates not only a feeling of isolation through the lack of friendship, but also a sense of incompleteness. She suggests that love cannot exist without friendship, as the only love Victor ever expressed was toward his two best friends; Elizabeth and Clerval. Shelley also creates the theme of opposites; that bonds are often formed between two different individuals, that in turn balance one another. The most obvious case of this would be between Victor and Clerval. The two are quite different in several aspects, yet they enjoy life the most when they are together. ...read more.


In contrast the daemon is powered by what he has learned, not what he actually feels. Although it seems he has the ability to become quite emotional, he is driven more so by intellectual passions than anything else. Shelley creates the two this way to show how they compliment each other, and although they are not exactly an example of "friendship", they are indeed a union of being. Their lives revolve around one another, neither willing to exist without the pursuit of the other. Indeed, Mary Shelley asserts that individuals are often joined together by their differences. This was shown through "Frankenstein and his scientific interests, Clerval with his poetry" (Masao Miyoshi pp 287) and several other differences in character. It was also ironically demonstrated through the union of Victor and his creation, who were direct mirrors of one another. Mary Shelley uses the interactions and emotions of her characters to express her views on friendship. Victor and his many acquaintances compliment each other, suggesting that opposites attract, and his deep bond with Elizabeth illustrates Shelley's views regarding heterosexual relationships. She feels that friendship is a crucial part of being, as man "discovers and fulfills himself through others" (Kiely pp 296). ...read more.

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