English Honors IV
25 February, 2013
The Role of Nature in “Frankenstein”
When people think of “Frankenstein” they mainly think of the monster represented in the book and movies. Although an important aspect, one stronger portion is overlooked: the role of nature. The scene of nature changes along with the subjects’ emotions to increase the power and intensity portrayed in the scene.
Victor seeks out solitude to clear his mind and refresh his sense of being human by traveling into the mountains of Switzerland. He also finds rest at the Rhine River in Germany, and on tour of England and Ireland. Shelley refers to Victor’s childhood as a river, ever flowing and swelling throughout the story. “I feel pleasure in dwelling on the recollections of childhood, before misfortune had tainted my mind, and changed its bright visions of extensive usefulness into gloomy and narrow reflections upon self . . . I find it arise, like a mountain river, from ignoble and almost forgotten sources; but swelling as it proceeded, it became the torrent which, in its course, has swept away all my hopes and joys” (Shelley, 47). She uses this representation of a river to refer to Victor to use a more ‘romantic’ way of depicting his life.
As “Frankenstein” goes on, Victor uses nature for mental stability, and it ends up becoming personal therapy when he in indulged in torment or stress. Shelley goes on to create a
very strong connection between Victor and nature. Shelley describes his recovery from his grave illness through his love and fascination with nature. Victor was nursed by his closest friends, but it is said that the breathing of the air around him finally gives him strength back. “We passed a fortnight in these perambulations: my health and spirits had long been restored, and they gained additional strength from the salubrious air I breathed, the natural incidents of our progress…” (Shelley, 79). Air is not only a necessity for life,...