Loneliness is a dark place. It eats you alive. Loneliness is the deep and complex emotional response to isolation. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein examines the theme of loneliness and is shown quite frequently throughout the novel. From the very beginning, Frankenstein establishes the theme of loneliness. Just a despaired and unattached soul on a voyage with only his sister to write to: “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, Margret: when I am glowing with the enthusiasm of success, there will be none to participate in my joy; if I am assailed by disappointment, no one will endeavor to sustain me in dejection.” (Shelley 18). Robert is completely alone on his journey for information. He feels as if his education has made it so he can no longer relate to anyone because of his higher intelligence.
Victors upbringing is an interesting one indeed. His parents sort of shelter him, spoiling him with love. The death of Victors mother marks the start of Victors journey to further his education. Because of the love and care victor had received from his parents, he wasn’t prepared for the company of strangers that came along with college. He says:
“I threw myself into the chaise that was to convey me away and indulged in the most melancholy reflections. I, who had ever been surrounded by amiable companions, continually engaged in endeavoring 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.” (Shelley 44)
He has no one to comfort him and overtime advancing his mind consumes him until he completely isolates himself from his friends and family. At the height of his obsession and loneliness, after he loses contact with Elizabeth, whom he is engaged to marry, Victor comes to the resolution that he will create a monster who will fill the place of his only friend. Obviously, this idea doesn’t work in Victors favor and he abandons the monster out of upright fear and disgust of what he has created.
Victor Frankenstein’s creation is very misunderstood and the monster’s true motives are not easily distinguished. Although this doesn’t justify the monster’s actions throughout the novel, it does allow for some context. After the novel starts to be told though the monsters point of view, a new level of loneliness and isolation is introduced. From the moment of his creation Frankenstein’s monster is exposed to the raw and absolute void of loneliness. Because of the monster’s hideous appearance and obvious monster like characteristics he is shunned by society. Although the monster shows interest in human life he approaches them in such a way that they are never aware of his existence because of his fear of being hurt. Taking away from any chance he has of building a relationship, therefore adding to his loneliness. The creature says: “what chiefly struck me was the gentle manners of these people, and I longed to join them, but dared not. I remembered too well the treatment I had suffered the night before from the barbarous villagers, and resolved, whatever course of conduct I might hereafter think it right to pursue, that for the present I would remain quietly in my hovel, watching and endeavoring to discover the motives which influenced their actions.” (Shelley 105). Hes desperate for company but, instead is left living hidden away, observing the people he longs to walk among.
There’s no arguing that loneliness is a common theme show in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein’s. Wither it be Robert, Victor or the monster, they all experienced, in one way or another the feeling of loneliness. A feeling so overwhelming and so devastating that it consumed them and, in some way, shaped the events that would take place in the novel.
Written By: Eve Cornell