Discuss the novel’s shifts in narrative perspective. What is the effect of presenting different character’s viewpoints, especially those of Victor and the monster?
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein has a very complex narrative structure: “the narratives seem to grow organically from one another”. Within the novel, Shelley weaves characters and their different narrative perspectives together, creating a cyclical, triplicate layout to the story. Her use of multiple narratives provides a range of perspectives on the story, allowing us insights to the …show more content…
Therefore it is possible to extricate the narratives from each other. The creature’s eloquence is surprising – Shelley perhaps presents the monster like this to show his humanity and to make the reader view him without prejudice.
The aforementioned “doppelgänger effect” can also be applied to Victor and the Creature – the monster is Victor’s counterpart, and yet also his antithesis. This further links the narratives, interweaving the characters further. Frankenstein’s and his creation’s accounts can be linked further together by each of their tales’ fixation on beauty. However, although the creature’s narrative is appreciative of beauty, he is more focused on people’s kindness.
Frankenstein is written in a collaborative fashion: for example, Victor looks over Walton’s notes: “I made notes concerning his [Frankenstein’s] history: he… corrected them and augmented them in many places.” Thus the narratives within the novel are not complete or stand-alone: they are all interrelated and interdependent. The three narrators are “inextricably linked” in an “alternative trinity” according to critic Phillip Allan, with Frankenstein as the “Father”, Walton as the “Son”, and the Creature as the “Unholy Spirit.”
Mary Shelley was a travel writer, as is reflected in her character’s constant movement. Indeed, as Victor moves further and further from his native Geneva, he moves closer and closer to his ultimate downfall. His last days are spent in the Arctic – the