Essay On The Theme Of Isolation In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
Can isolation destroy the wellbeing of one’s mental health, or turn you into ? In the novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, Shelley develops them of isolation, a dangerous yet accommodating act. The reader sees the downside of isolation when Victor Frankenstein, a young scientist, Robert Walton, a lonesome seafarer, and the creature endeavor mental breakdowns that are direst results of their isolation. Each character has either inflicted their own isolation or has been forced into isolation by societal standards. Each character has approached isolation differently, and with those attempts to seclude the amount of isolation they face, Shelly implies that isolation will ultimately lead to self-destruction of the mind soul and body. Furthermore, the dangers of isolation are prevalent in the novel. Mary Shelley reveals the dangerous effects of different forms of isolation through the characters of Robert Walton, Victor Frankenstein, and the creature.
Robert Walton is a seafarer who is on an expedition to the North pole. He travels alone while writing various letters to his sister Margaret that expresses, he is yearning for a companion, that will not only accompany him, but share emotions as well. Robert Walton has inflicted himself with isolation, with similar reasons to Victor Frankenstein. Walton initially secludes himself to discover more knowledge found in nature. As Walton is on his journey to acquire more knowledge, he yearns to have an intellectual connection with an induvial, particularly Victor Frankenstein. Walton suffers from loneliness while he is on an expedition by himself. He chooses to stay in solitude, but beings to feel physically and mentally isolated. “"But I have one want which I have never yet been able to satisfy, and the absence of the object of which I now feel as a most severe evil, I have no friend, Margaret: when I am glowing with the enthusiasm of success, there will be none to participate my joy; if I am assailed by disappointment, no one will endeavour to sustain me in dejection." ( Frankenstein Letter 2 ). The author uses Robert Walton as an example of self-inflicted isolation, and although Walton has done it to himself, he experiences dejection from the world because he does not have anyone to share intellectual knowledge with.
Victor Frankenstein embodies the idea of isolation by inflicting it unto himself. He does so by allowing himself to physically isolate himself from his friends and family, which ultimately lead to a decline in his mental health. He makes the decision to leave his family to further execute his studies on creation. Victor studies elsewhere in Ingolstadt, but fears being alone, and later realizes that eventually, loneliness will overtake his life. Because he understands what his decisions may hate in store for him, he also realizes that he must do whatever is necessary to “become his own” to survive alone. “I, who had ever been surrounded by amiable companions, continually engaged in endeavouring to bestow mutual pleasure, I was now alone. In the university, whither I was going, I must form my own friends, and be my own protector” ( Frankenstein Chapter 3 ). Mary Shelley implies the first instance of isolation Victor must endure while studying abroad. During this point in the novel, Victor imposes isolation on himself, but has not built the strength to tackle it on his own, which is why he struggles with himself throughout the novel. As he struggles he becomes more of a monster than the one he intended to create .Because Victor has imposed his own form of isolation, he must make it up for himself.
The creature in which Victor Frankenstein has created has been isolated form the world, but not by choice. He suffers with isolation, but what makes the creature different is the mere fact that he never asked to be alone, he is not the same as Robert Walton or Victor. As the monster begins to grow more isolated and forced out of society, he expresses how through isolation his hate for himself has worsened, also questioning why Satan is accepted by his “angels” but no one stands by the creature’s side. Why did you form a monster so hideous that even you turned from me in disgust? God, in pity, made man beautiful and alluring, after his own image; but my form is a filthy type of yours, more horrid even from the very resemblance. Satan had his companions, fellow devils, to admire and encourage him, but I am solitary and abhorred.’ ( Frankenstein Chapter 15). Mary Shelly introduces isolation through different characters, in this case, the creature also experiences isolation, but it was not intended. The creature feels completely separated from the world, simply because of the way he is looked at by society. Isolation has led the creature to so many pains, that he often asks himself questions, as well as questioning his identity and what he has to offer to a world that does not even accept him. If a form of evil can have an army behind it, why can't the creature have one as well?
Self-inflicted isolation and being rejected from the world are one of many aspects of isolation which is detrimental to the characters Robert Walton, Victor Frankenstein, and the creature. Mary Shelley exemplifies the themes of isolation by portraying it through Robert Walton, Victor Frankenstein, and the Creature. Each character has gone through some form of isolation that has either been self-inflicted or brought by rejection. Although there are many aspects of isolation, they are equally detrimental to an individual's wellbeing, as seen in the novel. Each character has suffered, due to isolation. This provides solid information about how isolation can do much damage to someone's mental health and even drive them crazy. In the novel Mary Shelley reveals that isolation is the true evil behind self-destruction.