Frankenstein Chapter Analysis

Chapter 20 - Michael Whitfield

Overview

Chapter 20 details the conflicts that Victor Frankenstein faces regarding his creation and destruction of the Female Monster both internally and with the Monster. It follows Victor as he disposes of the body, becomes temporarily lost in the Atlantic, and lands in an Irish town.

Characters

Victor Frankenstein - Through Victor's actions and thoughts in chapter 20, he becomes more concerned with the impact of his actions on the people around him. In earlier chapters, Victor is more concerned with ways that the Monster may harm him or his family. Through his destruction of the Female Monster, Victor is indicating that he values the wellbeing of the world over the safety of himself and his family.


Frankenstein's Monster - Frankenstein's Monster only becomes more vindictive and angry in chapter 20 as the partner for which he so strongly yearned is destroyed in front of him.


Townspeople - The closing of chapter 20 introduces the reader to the people of a town which will become more important in the following chapters. The townspeople demonstrate hostility towards Victor for reasons that are not revealed in the chapter.

Themes

Treatment of Women:

"...and she, who in all probability was to become a thinking and reasoning animal, might refuse to comply with a compact made before her creation" (Shelley 126)


It is ironic that Victor Frankenstein considers the wants and desires of an "unborn" female monster during a period in time in which the rights of women were largely ignored.


Effects of Human Misery:

"I desired that I might pass my life on that barren rock, wearily, it is true, but uninterrupted by any sudden shock of misery." (Shelley 129)


Chapter 20 reduces the quality of life of Victor and the Monster to a similar low standing. The Monster, devastated by the loss of his bride-to-be, is not too unlike Victor who realizes that the Monster will tear him from his wife on his wedding night.


Human Injustice Towards Outsiders:

"They seemed much surprised at my appearance, but instead of offering me any assistance, whispered together with gestures that at any other time might have produced in me a slight sensation of alarm." (Shelley 132-133)


The townspeople immediately assume the worst of Victor without getting to know him. His arrival and status as an outsider is enough circumstantial evidence to blame him for the death of Henry Clerval.

Literary Techniques

Imagery:

"I felt the silence, although I was hardly conscious of its extreme profundity, until my ear was suddenly arrested by the paddling of oars near the shore, and a person landed close to my house. In a few minutes after, I heard the creaking of my door, as if some one endeavoured to open it softly." (Shelley 127)


"In a few moments I saw him in his boat, which shot across the waters with an arrowy swiftness and was soon lost amidst the waves." (Shelley 129)


Shelley utilizes intense visual and auditory imagery in describing the appearance, anger, and actions of the Monster. It seems that Shelley does so in order to increase the intensity and rage that is present in the chapter.


Metaphor:

"I will watch with the wiliness of a snake, that I may sting with its venom." (Shelley 128)


Throughout the novel, Frankenstein's Monster is no stranger to speaking eloquently with frequent use of figurative language. Here, the Monster compares the way that he will stalk and attack Victor to a snake in order to build suspense regarding the nature and moment of his attack.


Simile:

"still the words of the fiend rang in my ears like a death-knell" (Shelley 130)


Shelley compares the words of the Monster to a death-knell in order to emphasize the fatal nature of his threats.

Significant Quotations in Relation to Major Plot Developments

"Had I right, for my own benefit, to inflict this curse upon everlasting generations?" (Shelley 126-127)


Frankenstein realizes that, by creating a female monster, he is allowing for the possibility of future generations of monsters. His decision to destroy the Female Monster is, ultimately, his most heroic and brave action in the novel as he understands the the Monster will be enraged.


"The wretch saw me destroy the creature on whose future existence he depended for happiness, and with a howl of devilish despair and revenge, withdrew." (Shelley 127)


The Monster witnesses Frankenstein destroying his companion and withdraws. His withdrawal represents a vulnerability that contrasts sharply with his impending verbal tirade of Frankenstein.


"Slave, I before reasoned with you, but you have proved yourself unworthy of my condescension. Remember that I have power; you believe yourself miserable, but I can make you so wretched that the light of day will be hateful to you. You are my creator, but I am your master; obey!" (Shelley 128)


Until this point in the novel, Frankenstein had possessed some degree of control over the Monster's life. He was protected by the fact that he was the only individual capable of giving the Monster a female companion. Now that the Monster understands that Frankenstein will not create his companion, he is essentially in control of the physically inferior Victor Frankenstein.


"It is well. I go; but remember, I shall be with you on your wedding-night." (Shelley 129)


This quotation clearly and plainly reveals that the Monster will take his revenge on the night of Victor and Elizabeth's union. While Frankenstein believes that the Monster will kill him, it seems evident to the reader, based on the Monster's pattern of kills, that Elizabeth will be his victim.


Citations

"Orkney Image Library - Foggy And Still Bonny!". Orkneycommunities.co.uk. 2016. Web. 18 Sept. 2016.


"Seasons – The Last of July 24-27". artworksfromjeshstg. 2016. Web. 18 Sept. 2016.


Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft. Frankenstein, Or The Modern Prometheus.