Frankenstein Passage Commentary
This passage from Frankenstein by Mary Shelley focuses on Victor's thoughts and then doings in order to create his monster. It delves into his emotions about his creation and the consequences of his actions. More specifically, the passage highlights the unethical yet ardent nature of Victor's character through her extensive use of imagery, and the unnaturalness of his project through her use of Romantic-style diction. In addition, Shelley applies double-meaning to convey Victor's internal struggle between his thirst for glory and his misplaced ethics, which aids in illustrating a foreboding tone.
The author's utilisation of imagery, particularly to do with anatomical features, vividly demonstrates Victor's diligent yet immoral nature. He says he pursues his undertaking with "unremitting ardour" that his "cheek is pale with study...[my] person has become emaciated with confinement." The author's description of Victor's ill-kept appearance amplifies the image of how much effort and study he puts into this project, even letting his own health deteriorate. As he works in preparing the creation, Victor claims his "limbs now tremble" and his "eyeballs [are] starting from their sockets in attending to detail." Again, Shelley's description of elements of Victor's body continues to enhance the imagery of his relatively terrible physical state—trembling limbs and eyeballs starting from their sockets—emphasising his ardent nature. Stemming away from his diligence, Victor "dabble[s] among the damps of the grave...torture[s] the living animal...collect[s] bones from charnel-houses." Though so hard-working, Shelley's use of imagery such as "damp" or "torture" or "charnel", which relate to the sense of feeling, creates another side of Victor, the side of his immorality. In addition, her anatomy-like imagery aids in this stunning illustration. Clearly, the author's utilisation of imagery, especially that of body parts, reflects both the ardour and lack of ethics in Victor's character.