Family Relationships in Frankenstein
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Frankenstein is a narrative that significantly emphasizes upon family. Family is a theme that is the core to Victor’s tragedy. At the beginning of the narrative, the values of the family are brought about by his mother. Her act of bringing Elizabeth to live with her is symbolic of the human need for companionship that can only be found within a family setting. Victor’s mother feels compassion at Elizabeth’s plight. She realizes that the death of Elizabeth’s mother has left her a lone and lonely. Her family ties to her prove necessary to take her in the fold Victor’s family.
The author illustrates the family theme significantly by highlighting the relationships that exist between Victor and his family. The sense of companionship, love and appreciation, is found in a family setting. Victors mother understood this and hence her action of bringing Elizabeth into her family. She sees Elizabeth as a potential wife for her son, and makes them promise to marry each other. This act ascertains the perpetuation of family through time and providing Elizabeth with a sense of belonging and acceptance into Victor’s life.
Victor’s curiosity exceeds the boundaries of his family. His desire to understand the world and the phenomenon of life takes him from his home in Geneva to Ingolstadt. His fascination with sciences and his engrossment in his work makes him forget his family. His ambition and interest gives no room to family or any social contacts. His actions leave him lonely, and he can only find solace in his obsession. He fails to understand that everything under creation has a similar organism that it can identify itself to and find a sense of belonging.
Victor attempts to make his own creation focusing on the success of his project rather than the consequences of his actions. He fails to consider his creations wellbeing and its relationship with the rest of the world. His horror at discovering the hideous features of his creation makes him feel disappointment and fear at his creation. He fails to see his creation as a new born who requires instruction and guidance. “The monster wants love and companionship yet Victor denies him this also. If a child were to be abandoned at birth, certainly it would die because it could not protect itself. Even if a young adult were to be abandoned, he or she might survive, but would suffer emotionally…” (Family values and Frankenstein). His fear of the creature’s hideous appearance leads him to avoid it.
Victor’s creation like all living things tries to identify itself with the rest of the world. The creature tries to find companionship without any success. People tend to identify themselves with others who have similar ties and values. The appearance of the creature to anyone makes them run away from it. People cannot identify themselves with the creature and see it as a monster rather than a gentle being whose appearance is misguiding.
Victor’s creation attempts to understand why people run away from it when it approaches them. It realizes that it has fundamental differences with other people. It also realizes that it is by itself in the world. Its understanding of life is that each creature should have close companionship and relationships with other creatures who are the same. It realization at its plight and the feeling of betrayal by its creator makes the creature feel lost and desperate for a sense of family “As he tells Victor, he saw his own reflection in a pool, yet despite his feelings of self revulsion, his desire for a family was stronger…” (Mary Shelley's Frankenstein: Bloom's Guides).
Its loneliness and despair leads to deaths of innocent people. Victor realization of his mistake gives him a perspective of the consequences of his creation. He understands that the violent nature of his creation is a result of its attempts to belong and identify itself as a creature who needs love appreciation and family. The creatures attempt to influence Victor to create a companion for it is an attempt on its part to find family. Victor’s creation becomes his nightmare. He realizes that he cannot grant the creature its wish. His fear is the creature’s multiplication posing a danger to the human population and putting a strain on the ecosystem.
The killing of victor’s family leaves him a lonely and a bitter man. The creature’s actions aim at making victor feels its plight and predicament. The sense of loneliness and longing for a family is overwhelming making victor attempt to kill the creature. Family as a theme is central to the narrative and significant at understanding the characters actions.