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Point of View on Frankenstein - A Literary Essay Example

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George Washington University
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Frankenstein uses point of view to express his emotions and that of his characters. The story is told from the first and third person point of view. Victor Frankenstein from third person point of view expresses his emotions and feelings towards the monster. Robert Walton uses the first-person point of view to quote Victor Frankensteins narrative. The monster narration is also quoted in the first person. Thus, the novel not only uses the characters point view to convey the story and experience to the reader but also to develop characters personalities. With different narrators, the tone, perceptions and observations are different throughout the novel. This paper addresses the on the point of view on Frankenstein by focusing on Victor, Walton and the monster as main characters in the novel.

Themes are usually used in literature to provide a better understanding and more meaning for readers. In the novel, the author conveys the theme of isolation through the use of point of views of Victor and the monster (Branagh, Kenneth, Steph and Frank 13). Both characters suffer from the same thing. The quest of Victor to create a companion leads to the creation of a monster who becomes a threat not only to his creator but also to the society (Anderberg). Thus, Victors creation becomes a terrible and wretched villain, which is told from third person point of view. For instance, the hatred shown to the monster in the first scene when Victor says "A flash of lightning illuminated the object and discovered its shape plainly to me; its gigantic stature, and the deformity of its aspect, more hideous than belongs to humanity, instantly informed me that it was the wretch, the filthy demon to whom I had given life (Shelley 16)." Victor feels that the right thing would be to unleash the monster into the world to the right his wrong (Anderberg). But instead, the monster kills whoever it comes across. As the story is told through Victors narration, it is all about how heartless the creature is and what his creation is doing to him. Frankenstein should have taken time to analyze his feelings to avoid such a massive conflict that arose from his loneliness (Ball).

The monster depicts another form of isolation, which allows readers to understand it better. Based on the point of view the monster is seen to be, his character occurs in different ways. As the monster speaks (first person), the reader seems to feel pity and sympathy towards him. The monster seems gentle and loving at the beginning of his life with child-like experiences and curiosity (Villacorta). However, after suffering rejection and numerous harsh encounters with his creator and humans, he becomes angry and bitter. Its loneliness forces it to carry out horrible actions such as murder. The monster says, "I continued for the remainder of the day in my hovel in a state of utter and stupid despair. My protectors had departed and had broken the only link that held me to the world. For the first time the feelings of revenge and hatred filled my bosom, and I did not strive to control them, but allowing myself to be borne away by the stream, I bent my mind towards injury and death. (Shelley 16). Therefore, he seeks revenge on Victor for making him ugly, hideous and permanently lonely (Villacorta). The monster only wanted some love and compassion from humans, and instead, he became an outcast of society (Ball). The monster is also depicted to have some unique ability and intelligence just like humans. He explains, "I heard about the slothful Asiatics; of the stupendous genius and mental activity of the Grecians; of the wars and wonderful virtue of the early Romans--of their subsequent degenerating--of the decline of that mighty empire; of chivalry, Christianity, and kings (Shelley 18)." This shows that the monster can put humans into perspective (Levine, George, and Ulrich Camillus 45). However, he is disconnected and rejected by the humans he admires. The monster thinks he has been disconnected from both humans and the world, but revenge gives him continuous link to Victor, his creator (Levine, George, and Ulrich Camillus 45). Thus, despite revenge being the most destructive type of bond in the novel, it gives Victor and monsters their shared link and reasons to live.

Robert Walton as an indirect character, tells Frankensteins story by writing a letter to his sister Saville Margret (Ball). As a self-educated man, who aims to reach and explore the North Pole to find a way that connects the Pacific and the Atlantic Ocean, he meets a pompous individual. His self-centered nature is seen when he says my temper was sometimes violent, and my passions vehement, but by some law, in my temperature, they were turned not towards childish pursuits but to an eager desire to learn, and not to learn all things indiscriminately (Shelley 2)." Thus, to him, his trip to the Arctic does not seem to him that something could go wrong during the exploration (Branagh, Kenneth, Steph and Frank 18). By surpassing previous human explorations, the pursuit proves dangerous and he pulls back from his treacherous mission, after realizing how destructive the desire for knowledge sometimes becomes destructive (Anderberg). His geographic exploration has similar catastrophic effects as Frankenstein science, alchemy, and creation (Anderberg). Therefore, the reader only sees Walton from one point of view where he is obsessed with his knowledge and seeing himself above other people.

In conclusion, the novel Frankenstein has different narrative voices and point of views because the story is told by different voices. The voices help the reader in developing appeal and point of view to different characters. Since there is a bunch of characters stories, it is difficult to get the general perspective. Believing the monsters story that he is gentle and loving or believing Frankenstein story that the monster is heartless, cruel and ugly, it becomes impossible to know the truth (Levine, George, and Ulrich Camillus 45). The monster is the only protagonist in the story because he is rejected and seen as a threat not only to his creator but also to the society (Villacorta). Thus, the different narrative voices help the reader appeal to characters in different ways.


Works Cited

Anderberg, Jeremy. Lessons in Unmanliness from Victor Frankenstein. 26 February 2014. 10 December 2017.

Ball, Eric. 'Frankenstein' Reflects the Hopes and Fears of Every Scientific Era. 17 April 2017. 10 December 2017.

Branagh, Kenneth, Steph Lady, and Frank Darabont. Mary Shelley's Frankenstein: the classic tale of terror reborn on film. Pan, 1994.

Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein or, The Modern Prometheus. Macmillan, United Kingdom 1994.

Levine, George, and Ulrich Camillus Knoepflmacher, Eds. The endurance of Frankenstein: Essays on Mary Shelley's novel. Univ of California Press, 1982.

Villacorta, Dave. Frankenstein- Sympathy for Victo or the Monster. 2016. 11 December 2017. <>.



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