Shelley gives Frankenstein two personalities, “such a man has a double existence” and much of the tension in this letter revolves around this strange and changeable character. Frankenstein obviously has many secrets and many troubled thoughts, Walton describes him as being “impatient of the weight of woes that oppresses him. ” He also says “I often feared that his sufferings had deprived him of understanding. ” As Walton is the narrator his fears are passed to the reader.
Neither Walton nor his crew know anything about Dr Frankenstein, they are curious about this person and yet can’t, or shouldn’t, ask him questions since it would not be polite. Lastly, Dr Frankenstein is normally very depressed but he suddenly becomes excited when he hears about the creature “From this time a new spirit of life animated the stranger. ” This introduces the intriguing question of a possible connection between the two. By chapter four Shelley shifts from tension to horror. At the end of letter four Frankenstein decides to tell his own story and the novel switches narrator from Walton to him.Order now
In chapters one and two Victor tells Walton about his childhood, in chapter three he speaks of the death of his mother and going to university. This all creates the background on which the character is built. In chapter four Frankenstein speaks of his experiments, this marks a change from tension to horror as there is a lot of description. Victor starts talking about his slightly crazy side; he often refers to dead bodies and his actions towards them as if it did not matter. He says “a churchyard was to me merely the receptacle of bodies. ” This blasi?? and indifferent attitude towards what he was doing causes horror.
Also Victor has an unnatural drive or obsession for what he is doing “I seemed to have lost all soul or sensation but for this one pursuit. ” His ambition overcomes his fear, guilt and morality. The horror is sustained by the fact that he is almost isolated or separated from reality. Also, he forgets his method once he has finished so he can not undo what he has done. Finally there is the physical horror of both the degeneration of Victor and the image of the creature itself, Victor states “I resolved… to make the being of a gigantic stature, that is to say, about eight feet in height, and proportionally large.
” The idea of recreating life is horrific and the idea that that life is a new large species increases the sense of horror. Chapter five continues the horror of Victor Frankenstein’s actions. The descriptions of the creature contained in chapter five are dramatically different to the later descriptions found in chapter seventeen. In chapter five Victor describes the creature as horrific, he says “breathless horror and disgust filled my heart” and “No mortal could support the horror of that countenance. ” Yet in chapter seventeen, although he still does not like the look of the creature, he is not so horrified by it.
When he says “A fiendish rage animated him” it is not quite as emotive and loathing as some of his comments in chapter five. In chapter five Victor describes the creature as hostile, “seemingly to detain me” and “I did not dare return” are just some of the phrases he uses. In chapter seventeen however, Victor describes the creature as reasonable, “I felt that there was some justice in his argument. ” Victor did not give him a chance at first but by chapter seventeen he realises that the monster is not that hostile after all and seems to believe that it is mainly his fault that the creature feels such hatred.