Charlotte Frankenstein

Charlotte Polk                                                                                                                                     Friday Oct.30




The last block of text that was assigned for homework in Shelley’s “Frankenstein”, was from page 107 until the end of the book.  This section starts out with a heavy moral decision for Victor.  To mask his plan, he sets out on a traveling tour.  Wanting to create a new monster leads him with the difficult choice, he knows the implications that will follow if he fails.  During this time, he begins to weigh out the options taking into account the devastation if his new creation leads to the same destruction.  While traveling, Victor decides to go visit a few philosophers that contain the newest scientific information.  Through his despair, while in Scotland Victor has decided to finish his creation using gathered raw materials.  He wonders about the whereabouts of his monster that he left behind, and hopes his family is safe.  At this point, Victor states that he is miserable, and is in utter confusion about what to do with his creation. During this time for him was especially lonesome.  I think that Shelley really enforces the trouble he has had to endure since creating this being.   Relentlessly, Victor decides to start the creation of another monster, this time a female.  He begins the work and when it is nearly half way complete, he battles yet again with the decision to keep creating or destroy his efforts thus far.  After disposing the remaining body parts, the original monster comes to the lab, and with furry starts to argue with Victor to see why the second monster was destroyed.

Victor is emotionally wrecked; he feels as though his work has turned into a tragedy.  Upon returning home he tries to tell his father of the deaths, claiming sole responsibility.  Victor validates the creations actions by saying that since he created the monster with his hands, by default he basically committed the murders.  Throughout the deration of this novel, Victor Frankenstein struggles with the internal.  Stuck in his own mind, he is emotionally torn, with what seems to be a loving relationship with the monster.  How can he destroy something he worked so hard for, yet how can something that he made cause so much lethal damage to himself, and others?  However, that emotion doesn’t last long when Victor curses the monster for all the hardships he had to endure since the creation.



“….But through the whole period during which I was the slave of my creature I allowed myself to be governed by the impulses of the moment; and my exempt my family from the danger of his machinations” Pg.111


I chose this quote because I really think it exemplifies his self emotional dispute.  Originally, before making a personal relationship with the creation, his motives were clear; to do something that matters in the scientific field, make a difference, and make a name for himself. Once he finally thinks he has accomplished this dream, the devastation that follows out weigh his work.  He was no longer in control of this being which he put hours into creating, the monster had turned and has been controlling his life.  Victor lived a very privileged, happy childhood.  He first came in contact with sorrow soon after the the creation of the monster.  Everyone that was important to Victor was killed by creation, stripping him of continuing to feel superior to his own creation.

Frankenstein Volume 3

After agreeing to his deal with the monster, Frankenstein begins to question his decision and starts to have cold feet. The prospect of creating yet another monster seems impossible to him but he also sees no other option. He concludes that he has to travel to England to complete his task and is joined by Henry. The incessant need to rid himself of the monster is eating away at him. Finally, he settles in Scotland where he spends his days in a small laboratory. The closer he becomes to finishing his task, the more he dreads the consequences that will inevitably follow. His attitude throughout this process is the antithesis of his first attempt earlier in the book.

When making the deal with Victor, the monster promised that if given a companion he would never cause harm again. However, what is stopping his companion from becoming destructive? Or what if they decide to have children and continue their horrible bloodline? The possible answers to these questions were so terrifying to Victor that he immediately stopped and destroyed his work. Upon seeing this, the monster vows to ruin his wedding night. Later, Victor receives a letter from Henry asking that they continue their travels. Victor agrees and goes about erasing any trace of his presence. He even goes as far as to deposit his tools in the ocean where he is eventually pushed out to sea by a strong storm. He finally reaches land and is immediately berated by a group of hostile townspeople who accuse him of murder. After hearing many witnesses testify against him, Victor is lead to the body where, to his horror, he discovers that yet another one of his friends has fallen victim to his creation. At the sight of Henry’s body, he falls deeply ill and is moved to a prison cell for two months. Victor is found innocent on the grounds of lack of evidence and returns to Geneva with his father.

Victor receives a letter from Elizabeth asking if he has found someone else who holds his affections to which he responds that she is the only reason for his happiness. With the monster’s threat in his head, Victor decides his wedding to Elizabeth will bring an end to his misery no matter who is victorious. With this realization, he and Elizabeth get married and leave to spend their first night alone together in a family cottage by a lake. Filled with paranoia over the impeding confrontation with the monster, Victor advises Elizabeth to retire for the night so that she will not see the monster’s horrifying appearance. Yet his plan is ruined when the monster takes Elizabeth as his victim rather than Frankenstein. Soon after, consumed with grief, Frankenstein’s dad dies. Finding that he has nothing to lose, Frankenstein makes it his mission to find and destroy the monster. His task proves too much for him as he eventually dies after regaling Walton with his story and begging him to continue his quest for vengeance.

Walton resumes the role of narrator and discusses Frankenstein’s last few days from his point of view. He describes his men losing their courage to continue with their expedition and how Frankenstein was able to inspire them to persevere and continue on. After his death, the monster returns and shows a great deal of remorse for his actions. He regrets all the crimes he has committed and feels that because his master is dead, he is dead.

The passage that stuck out to me was on page 122 where the monster addresses Victor in a very demanding and dominant way. He calls him “slave” and emphasizes of the power that he holds over his emotions. The monster finishes with the words, “you are my creator, but I am your master; – obey!” This power shift contrasts the actions of the monster earlier in the story when he refers to Frankenstein as his lord and king. The monster has been rejected by his master and now seeks the only comfort he knows which is in the misery of others. Although his words seem strong and commanding, it further emphasizes the decay of both the monster and his creator.


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Frankenstein – Part 3


For months, Victor travels with his friend, Henry Clerval, trying to clear his mind on the mission set by his creature. While everything they visit is beautiful, he is unable to find comfort while knowing that his beloved are being threatened. Finally, he says farewell to his friend and goes off to a house on an island, and surrounded by nature and solitude, begins his work on building a companion for his creature.

Yet then, in the middle of his work, Victor is struck by the fact that the union of the new partner and creature might not go as smoothly as they anticipate, and that even more, if it did, that they might reproduce and multiply the threat to humanity. Terrified by the idea, he destroys his work in progress, right under the very eyes of his creature. Betrayed and maddened, the creature promises for him pain beyond death, and departs.

And such pain, the creature does cause. Upon leaving his labratory and traveling across the sea, Victor finds Clerval a lifeless body. After barely recovering from weeks of grieved illness, Victor marries Elizabeth in an attempt to make her happy, yet she too  is strangled to death on her wedding night. His father soon follows in grief.

Having lost all those who are precious to him, he pursues the creature in his despair, vowing never to rest before it is destroyed. This fruitless journey has, then, led him to Robert Walton.

Robert is, while terrified by the story to some degree, more fascinated by the existance of the supernatural creature and its formation than anything else. But the excitement is dampened by Victor’s fading health and their being trapped in the ice. The crews, fearful for their lives, demand Robert to return if the ice melts, and Victor’s short burst of inspiring speech fails to actually convince them.

The ice then does allow them passage, and in the returning journey, Victor tells Robert that his duty to humanity is greater than his duty to his creation’s happiness, and that he does not regret his choice. He states that the creature should die because it had commited murder on his dearest friends, but that he leaves the choice to Robert. With that, he passes away.

Then, left alone, Robert discovers the creature in the cabin of the ship, grieving Victor’s death. The creature exclaims upon query that it is in fact himself who suffered the most from the murders he committed–in the loss of the humanity and the wisdom he had once possessed, his own misery in his knowledge that he could never lay his hands on the satisfaction he had sought in his every action, and most of all, in the ceaseless pang of guilt on all the innocent deaths he had caused. And in this misery, the creature no longer regrets to die, of which he announces that he would. With that, it disappears into the world of icy, desolate nature.



“But it is true that I am a wretch. I have murdered the lovely and the helpless; I have strangled the innocent as they slept, and grasped to death his throat who never injured me or any other living thing. I have devoted my creator, the select speciment of all that is worthy of love and admiration among men, to misery; I have pursued him even to that irremediable ruin. There he lies, white and cold in death. You hate me; but your abhorrence cannot equal that with which I regard myself. I look on the hands which executed the deed; I think on the heart in which the imagination of it was conceived, and long for the moment when these hands will meet my eyes, when that imagination will haunt my thoughts no more.” (Shelley, 165)

The passage reveals the full extent of not only the awareness the creature has on his own actions, but the amount of guilt he feels on all the crimes that he had committed. He said, before that, that he had lost his humanity in his murders, but it seems, at least in this moment of reflection, that the creature is very human in his feelings indeed. It leaves the reader to wonder, however, if this is enough to excuse him. The creature’s dissatisfaction that lies under his deeds is Victor’s responsibility–but does that make him responsible for Clerval and Elizabeth’s death as well? How much of it is nature, and how much of it is nurture? The question applies both on the murder, and the guilt by which the creature considers it.

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Catherine’s conceptions of state and subject

Her reforms were progressive in the sense that they moved Russia towards modernization and brought the state in line with Western concepts of the relationship between a government and its subjects. One theme present throughout Catherine the Great’s reforms is an attempt to balance state powers and individual liberties. The Statute on Provincial Administration states that “the personal security of each loyal subject is quite precious to the Monarch’s philanthropic heart,”  and the establishment of an ordered, hierarchical bureaucracy within the provinces is one way to enforce order and protect personal security among and of the subjects. However, the bureaucratization serves a second purpose, which is to quantify and order a population in case the state wishes to mobilize them when they need labor or combat. Article 20 of the Charter to the Nobility mandates that no subject may “spare neither labor nor even life itself in State service,” reminding the nobility that they are subject to the same calls to war and work as the rest of the population.

However, Catherine’s reforms also implement checks on state power. According to the Charter to the Towns, no urban corporation may make regulations contrary to the laws of the state. Catherine’s reforms standardized the rule of law throughout Russia and ensured that no provincial power could infringe upon the rights of their subjects by creating their own regulations. Overall, Catherine’s reforms show the delicate balance, characteristic of many nascent modern states, between using a population as a resource and respecting the rights of that population to encourage their obedience to their government.


Did Catherine’s reforms favor either the subject or the state?

Frankenstein p.107 – end

After Frankenstein’s meeting with his creation, he knows he must create a female creature as well or suffer the loss of everyone he loves. He journeys to England to get the information he needs to create a second creature, and brings Clerval as his companion. They travel across England and eventually visit Scotland. Frankenstein, knowing he can’t postpone his task any longer, leaves Clerval and finds a solitary island to complete his work. However, he has a sudden realization that his second creation might refuse to fulfill the promise of the first, and that she may in fact destroy all of mankind. Therefore, when he is visited by his creation, he destroys all of his work. Frankenstein’s creation tells Frankenstein that he will visit him on his wedding night and make his life miserable. The creature then kills Clerval and Frankenstein, washing up on the shores of Ireland, is imprisoned for the crime. He falls ill and his father comes to see him. After his recovery he is found innocent and travels home with his father to marry Elizabeth. He believes his creation will come to kill him on his wedding night, so he takes every precaution against this, but instead the creation kills Elizabeth. Frankenstein returns home, grief-stricken, only to see his father die of shock. Then there is nothing left for him to do but pursue and kill his creation. It is in this pursuit that he found himself on Walton’s ship and recounted his story. Unfortunately, he weakened and died before he was able to get his revenge. Walton’s crew forces him to turn back from his journey so that they can go home to their families rather than pursuing glory with the danger of death. On the return journey, Walton enters the room where Frankenstein lies dead to find the creation standing over him. The creation says that he was driven to kill by an impulse he could not control, and that he feels great remorse, and will now go far north to burn himself and leave no trace that he ever existed.


I was particularly interested in this phrase from the reading:

“‘…Are you then so easily turned from your design? Did you not call this a glorious expedition? And wherefore was it glorious? Not because the way was smooth and placid as a southern sea, but because it was full of dangers and terror; because, at every new incident, your fortitude was to be called forth, and your courage exhibited; because danger and death surrounded it, and these you were brave to overcome. For this was it a glorious, for this was it an honourable undertaking. You were hereafter to be hailed as the benefactors of your species; your names adored, as belonging to brave men who encountered death for honour, and the benefit of mankind.’”

This intrigued me because it is spoken by Frankenstein, who claims to have learned the folly of ambition, but encourages these men to seek glory despite the dangers. I am not sure what to make of it. There is clearly a difference between men who seek to explore an arctic region and a man who tries to create life, but both have similar motivations. I don’t think Shelley would discourage all forms of innovation and courage, but she does show the dangers of how far humans will go to be honored and remembered. Even after all he has been through, Frankenstein can’t relinquish his ideas about glory. Soon after giving this speech it is decided that the ship will indeed turn back, and Frankenstein dies.

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Catherine the Great

Catherine’s vision was to create a better Russia through helping the people.  She recognized how vast her empire was and decided it would be better managed if divided into separate provinces.  The Statute on Provincial Administration created “a much more significant administrative presence in the provinces than been there before” ((Kaiser and Marker 242)) .  The Statue on Provincial Administration creates a more structured, organized role of power for those in charge of the provinces by clearly stating  how the provinces are to be run; for example, “Each province shall establish a criminal court”  (Kaiser and Marker 242)) .   The Statute also establishes the difference in ranks, “The vice-governor, chief of police, chairman of the criminal court, chairman of the civil court,… shall be considered to have a rank of five…” ((Kaiser and Marker 243)) .  Catherine’s organization of the provinces allows her to govern more easily while providing more organization to the provinces throughout all of Russia.

The Charter to the Town truly encapsulates how Catherine was enlightened and what she wished to do for Russia.  Catherine wanted to reform all of Russia, and The Charter to the Town does just that by “clarify[ing] the status of several social groups, to define their privileges and responsibilities to the state, and to give a formal identity to their corporate existence” (Kaiser and Marker 321)) .  Laws in the charter clearly state how “inhabitants of each town” are encouraged and expected to participate in town actives, particularly economic, creating a sense of nationality ((Kaiser and Marker 322)) .  Catherine also provides numerous rights to the working class through this charter, securing the social structure even more and bettering the lives of the townspeople.  Catherine the Great was an enlightened monarch because she reformed Russia by creating a more organized ruling system and by helping to better people’s situations in Russia.





After the meeting with the monster Frankenstein stalls the creation of a female companion. Frankenstein came to the Alps in order to escape his depression, but he finds himself tasked with an even more daunting task. Alphonse suggests that Frankenstein marry Elizabeth, but he refuses burdened by the monster’s task, Victor than leaves for England with Alphonse’s agreement. Frankenstein and Alphonse decide to take Henry Clevarl on a two year tour. Victor and Henry travel all over England. Victor manages to persuade Henry to stay in a remote town, in order for him to complete his task for the monster. Frankenstein then departs for a desolate island to complete his task. Victor sets up his lab and begins his work, but he soon reflects on the fact that these monsters could create offspring’s and at that thought he destroys the lab. The monster who had observed Victor the entire time becomes enraged at Frankenstein’s change of heart and vows revenge on him. Victor proceeds to return to mainland upon receiving a letter from Henry who is tired of Scotland. When Victor finally arrives back on the mainland where he is greeted by furious townspeople who believe he committed a murder. When Victor is shown the murder victim it is none other than his friend Henry with the strangle marks of the monster on his neck. Victor passes out and falls very ill for two months, when he awakes he finds himself in prison. Victor speaks to the jailor Mr. Kirwin who’s had a change of hearts and tells Victor that he has a visitor, this visitor is none other than his dad. Victor is freed due to lack of evidence pointing towards the murder. Victor and his dad head back to Geneva. On their way to Geneva Victor and his farther decide to stop in Paris to rest Victor keeps thinking about the monster and his warning.  Victor promptly returns home where he marries Elizabeth, but all Victor can think of is the monster’s warning. The evening of the wedding Victor decides to take a walk with Elizabeth but believing that she was safer in the house, he sends her home, and searches for the monster. Victor hears screams from the house and rushes back in horror to find Elizabeth dead, he tells his farther of the news who is so shocked by the news that he dies a few days later. After the death of all his loved ones Victor finds himself forced to convince the Geneva Magistrate that the monster killed Elizabeth. But alas no one will listen to him and so he vows to find and kill the monster.


“What a place is this that you inhabit, my son!” Said he looking mournfully at the barred windows, and wretched appearance of the room “You travelled to seek happiness, but fatality seems to pursue you. And poor Clerval –“I thought this quote highlighted Victor continual misery after rejecting the monster. Victor had a moral obligation to take in the monster as his own kind, but he didn’t. Creating something as powerful as the monster that could not be controlled by nature or humans, Victor created his own pain through his monster.


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An Enlightened Monarch

Catherine establishes many new reforms for establishing the bureaucracy as well as containing the power of the nobility. With the military commanders set up by Peter the Great removed after his death, Catherine establishes a new system for governing the massive expansion of land that is Russia. She appoints the leaders for these provinces, so they are loyal to her and thereby she centralizes her power. What makes these reforms Enlightened however are the responsibilities she gives to these governors, as well as the fact that she is writing all of these, taking an active role in her governance. These administrations are expected to establish welfare systems, build bridges and roads for the people, as well as education, orphanages, and poor houses. ((Kaiser, Daniel H. and Gary Marker. Reinterpreting Russian History: Readings 860-1860s. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994. 242)) It was not simply just a way for her to control Russia, but she reflects what Peter did in establishing things for the good of the Russian people, not only her own power. The Enlightenment ideals that clearly had a hold on Catherine’s mind are shown here as she seeks to educate her people, and take care of them but also the absolutist ideals of autocratic rule. The picture shown at the bottom demonstrates how Catherine wanted people to know that she was actively involved in the process of writing the law as well as enforcing it.

Catherine demonstrates a tremendous amount of skill by allowing the nobles to have a small amount of power and in return she stays on the throne. ((Kaiser 245)) Her vision of uniting Russia under her rule to become a more educated state, as well as one that took care of it’s people is shown in her law codes and charters. While she undoubtedly put many people in serfdom, she sees the majority of this going towards the glory of the state. By establishing schools and a welfare system throughout the country, she is making Petersburg closer to everyone through a more progressive way. This is truly enlightened as she realizes that Russia must move forward, but she also preserves many of the traditions as she knows her legitimacy is shaky.

How does her vision compare and contrast with the vision of Peter the Great?




Frankenstein Volume 3

The final chapters of Frankenstein further the numerous motifs and themes throughout the novel, while leaving the reader questioning who is at fault, who is the hero, and what each character’s role was. The narrative shifts again, going from Victor to the monster, then back to Victor and Walton for the last volume. Victor is horrified at the prospect of creating a companion for his creature, and hypothesizes them not retreating away from humanity, but interfering with it, and even procreating to create a new race of “monsters”.

The power that Victor has over creation, again builds on the theme of him being a God-like figure, and can be seen as him having a prejudice against women, since he assumes nothing good will come out of creating another creature. In reality, (it is worth arguing either side) creating a companion for the creature would have been highly beneficial for all parties. The source of all of the murders and atrocities being committed by Victor’s unconventional son stemmed from isolation and loneliness, because he is shunned by anyone with eyes. The creature still tries to reason with Victor, rather than killing him, another trait showing its humanity, and he threatens him when he sees Victor destroy his work in progress.

The creature’s vow to see Victor on his wedding night sends Frankenstein into an even deeper state of paranoia and obtuseness both socially, and within nature. Before, nature was a source of solace for Victor, but now he cannot go a step without being haunted by his creation. The creature continues to kill everyone close to Victor as he travels, including Clerval, a dear friend and someone who kept Victor sane. At this point all he had left was his father, and his “only source of joy,” Elizabeth. He seeks to be married, with the threat looming over him, but proceeds, and Elizabeth, not Victor, is killed, to his surprise, with his father passing away from shock shortly after.

Victor has nothing left; he has lost all sanity and becomes driven to the brink for revenge toward the creature, which had destroyed everything he loved. Who is at fault though? Would all of this grief and horror had manifested, had Victor taken the creature in like it was his own, and not some “fiend” haunting the countryside? Would it have become a killing machine had Victor given him a companion—the monster was only trying to make Victor feel the pain he had felt in his existence, and it even says on the last page, that it was still not equivalent:

“Farewell, Frankenstein! If thou wert yet alive and yet cherished a desire of revenge against me, it would be better satiated in my life than in my destruction…Blasted as thou wert, my agony was still superior to thine; for the bitter sting of remorse will not cease to rankle in my wounds until death shall close them for ever,” (166).

The creature essentially says that any revenge Victor could have been seeking, in this case killing him, could not have been greater than what he has had to endure being alive, and that Victor could never have felt a vengeance like his. Victor had people who loved him, and was human, and the creature never experienced love, or anything like himself, a true tragedy. His “triumphant ascension of his funeral pile” made the creature seem more like the tragic hero than Victor, and leaves the reader empathizing for it, something Shelly must have done on purpose with the varying and layered narration. Ending the story with the creature’s words showed that it was not a monster, but a more human creature, that was tormented by its creator and driven to kill.

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Frankenstein Volume II

Volume II of Frankenstein opens with Victor trying to navigate through his guilt. He makes his way to Chamonix where he finally encounters his monster again. Though the encounter isn’t in any way friendly, the monster is able to convince Victor to listen to his story. The perspective then switches over to the viewpoint of the monster who tells of his life after escaping Victor’s laboratory. He reveals that he had a couple run ins with various people which had all resulted in them running away. He also speaks of a particular family he watched for a long period of time that unknowingly taught him their way of life. They had given him hope, that maybe they could love him and accept him in a way that Victor did not. Yet after showing himself to them, the result ends in the same way as it had with others. After telling of his loneliness and his ardent desire to feel accepted and loved, the monster explains the hostility within him. He blames Victor for him becoming such a hateful being. The monster finally concludes his narration by essentially begging Victor to make him a partner. After much persuasion Victor agrees, and the two go their separate ways.


A reoccurring theme throughout this section was the inescapable loneliness that both the monster and Victor felt. In Volume I, when Victor is creating the monster, he speaks of how the admiration the monster will have for him will far surpass the admiration a child may have for their father. However, Victor seems to have confused admiration and love. Conversely, when the monster is created all he seeks is love and tenderness, yet that is something that Victor and all other humans are unable to give. There is an interesting notion of Sigmund Freud that plays out here. When the monster is created, his primary need is to receive affection from his creator, which he does not. Because of this, all his other needs are not met, and he must learn to function without any guidance. The result is that he becomes an angry and callous being. Additionally, Victor seems to project his loneliness and isolation onto the monster, perhaps adding to the monster’s hostility. The two beings are similar in their loneliness, as both are confined by themselves and yet seeking affection from someone else. Victor is confined by his over-romanticized view of mankind, which results in unattainable expectations of the world.  The monster, on the other hand, is confined to a life of loneliness solely by his appearance, but his short temperament has added to his already sinister complexion. Thus Shelley, in my opinion, is trying to relate to the reader that the monster and Victor are not too dissimilar.

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