Friendship and Companionship

In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and today

By Mollie Farruggia and Justin Ritter

In Frankenstein, the creature and Victor experience different challenges with companionship. The creature is lonely and ridiculed by the humans. The creature seeks to have someone like him.
Victor, however, has a companion. But he leaves Elizabeth in his pursuit of knowledge. Throughout the story, he continues to leave her to settle things with the creature.

Quotes

“I, with childish seriousness, interpreted her words literally and looked upon Elizabeth as mine—mine to protect, love, and cherish...No word, no expression could body forth the kind of relation in which she stood to me—my more than sister, since till death she was to be mine only. (1)


Victor talks about his relationship with Elizabeth. He tells the readers that she is his companion. She is his until death. Victor loves Elizabeth and he cherishes her. Nothing can describe their love for each other.


“Harmony was the soul of our companionship, and the diversity and contrast that subsisted in our characters drew us nearer together” (2)


Victor says that harmony is the substance to their relationship. Harmony helps him and Elizabeth to keep a good relationship. Their personalities are drawn together because their opposites attract. Victor is very obsessive about science and has many special interests. However, Elizabeth is more of a "people person". She is very sympathetic towards Victor and others.


“I thought I saw Elizabeth, in the bloom of health, walking in the streets of Ingolstadt. Delighted and surprised, I embraced her, but as I imprinted the first kiss on her lips, they became livid with the hue of death;” (5)


After years of being consumed in his work on the creature, Victor finally realizes how much he misses Elizabeth, and how much she must miss him, in a dream.


“Could they turn from their door one, however monstrous, who solicited their compassion and friendship?” (15)


The Creature, having never had real conversation with people, doesn’t know for sure how the family will react to him. Even though he has helped them, the only reaction he has had from people is when they instantly hated and attacked him.



“I am alone and miserable; man will not associate with me; but one as deformed and horrible as myself would not deny herself to me. My companion must be of the same species and have the same defects. This being you must create." (17)


The creature tells Victor how lonely he is. The creature wants someone to be the same as him. Unlike Victor, who is happy with someone who is an opposite, the creature wants someone similar. The creature wants to relate to someone who has gone through the same pain he did. The creature feels that he cannot relate to humans as well because they ridicule him.


“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.” (20)


After reconsidering the consequences of creating another creature, Victor vows to never create another, and destroys his work. The Creature sees him do this and is overwhelmed with anger as it was his only hope for something like him to relate to.


"Shall each man," cried he, "find a wife for his bosom, and each beast have his mate, and I be alone? I had feelings of affection, and they were requited by detestation and scorn. Man! You may hate, but beware! Your hours will pass in dread and misery, and soon the bolt will fall which must ravish from you your happiness forever. Are you to be happy while I grovel in the intensity of my wretchedness? (20)

The Creature is furious with Victor for destroying his work on the second creature, what he believes to be his only hope for a companion. He is jealous at the world because it seems everything has something to relate to, but he is alone in the world. He threatens Victor saying he will make his life hell for betraying him.

Do opposites attract?

What we analyzed is that Victor and the creature have two different viewpoints on choosing a spouse. When Victor chose Elizabeth as a spouse, they were opposites. Victor was very ambitious in his quest for knowledge. He liked to pursue science and gain more knowledge. However, Elizabeth was more of a "people person." She had a lot of beauty and cared for Victor when he needed advice. Elizabeth was very sympathetic.

The creature was very different in his views for a partner.He seeks for someone to be the same as him. He thought that he could relate to humans and the DeLacey family but he ended up being ridiculed. He asked Victor to create the female creature so he has a mate the same as him.

According to Holt Psychology textbook, choosing a spouse happens in adulthood. Marriage is influenced by income, religion, race and personality traits. The book claims that people like to choose a spouse that is similar.

But according to a study in 2009, 85.7% of the 760 participants claimed they wanted a spouse that was different than them.

Both modern viewpoints reflect how Victor and the creature want to choose their spouses. The textbook's theory corresponds to the creature's desire to have someone like him. However, the study's theory reflects Victor's choice of a spouse.

Link to the study done by Live Science is listed below.

Lonlieness and the creature

The creature is faced with ridicule from humans. He is beaten, alienated and separated because people perceive him as a monster. The creature experiences loneliness because people are not accepting towards him.

Today, people experience loneliness but in different ways. According to BBC, one in ten people living in Britain are lonely. They also say that younger people are becoming more lonely because of social networking. They also theorized that effects of poverty, divorce and losing someone can cause loneliness.

An article from USA today elaborates more on this idea. They claim that people are less intimate in relationships because they "friend" people on social networking sites that may not even matter to them. There is less face to face conversation and activity between people. According to The American Sociological Review, the average American only has two friends.

These modern facts are different than what the creature experiences. But a few things remain similar. The creature, when he lived in isolation, had no face to face contact with anyone. He did not go directly to the DeLacey family until later. He did not engage in any conversation with them. The creature was deprived of face to face conversation and friendship because he was ridiculed. Today, however, we are losing the aspect of face to face conversation because of technology,