Kristin McOlvinApril 12th, 1999Mr. LoefflerEnglish 12Lack Of Verisimilitude in FrankensteinIn Mary Shelly’s gothic novel Frankenstein, the reader mustsuspend disbelief during many crucial points in the plot. There arealso many inconsistencies in the minor details of the story.
This lackof verisimilitude may be noticed by readers today, but in the ninteenthcentury, when this novel was written, readers were too terrified withthe story line to notice the unlikelihood of many of the happenings. For example, the moment that Frankenstein gave life to thepreviously inanimate form of the being he made, he remains fixed tothe spot while the gigantic monster walks away. Than Frankensteinnever hears any more from him for nearly two years. The authorsupposed that Frankenstein has the power to communicate life todead matter, but how do we suppose this creature learns habits? IfFrankenstein could have endowed his creature with the vital principleof a hundred beings, it would have not have been able to walk withoutpreviously having done so, just as it would not be able to talk, reason,or judge.
Victor does not pretend that he could endow it with facultiesas well as life, and yet when it is about a year old we find it readingWerter, and Plutarch and Volney. The whole detail of thedevelopment of the creature’s mind and faculties is full of theseinconsistencies. After the creature leaves Frankenstein, on the nightit came to life, it wanders for sometime in the woods, and than takesup residence in a kind of shed adjoining to a cottage. Here it remainsfor many months without the inhabitants knowing, and learnsto talk and read by watching them through a whole in the wall. As you can see from my examples, Mary Shelly’s novelFrankenstein lacks much verisimilitude. I have given you examplesof the monster alone, but these unlikihoods go on throughout the plotas well.This is not unfamiliar for a science fiction, as well as a gothicnovel, where many times belief must be suspend in order to get theeffect to author is trying to put out.