The Imagery and Diction of Frankenstein In Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” our author gives a fascinating insight in to the world’s definition of a monster. Her use of imagery, diction and character analysis is fascinating. Her novel caught the attention of the public when it was published and is still considered one of the best “horror” novels. The characters, imagery, and diction of Frankenstein cause the mind to evoke images of monsters in duality. In beginning with the character analysis they key to Victor the use of imagery.
Shelley’s use of the descriptive imagery of a child as a plaything as Victor narrates memories of his parents and his youth is a ____(?? ) use of imagery. Victor speaks of his childhood and himself, “I was their plaything and their idol, and something better—their child, the innocent and helpless creature bestowed on them by heaven, whom to bring up to good, and whose future lot it was in their hands to direct to happiness or misery, according as they fulfilled their duties towards me” (Shelley 40). Even though Victor’s images seem to be innocent, his character is still somehow dark.
Victor’s parents never try to acknowledge or strive to accommodate his inner world, and instead inflict their own version of reality on him (Zimmerman 2). The character only seems innocent but still evident is the dark place inside him that is filled with loneliness. Shelley uses diction to take Victor’s character to a new level by a metamorphosis of himself. Victor narrates us through his seeming innocence to the beginning of his monster within. Shelley’s use of diction is beautifully smattered throughout his adolescence.
The characters gloom is felt deeply when he begins his narration and the diction lends way to the absoluteness of his demise. Victor says, “I feel exquisite pleasure in dwelling on the recollections of childhood, before misfortune had tainted my mind and changed its bright vision of extensive usefulness into gloomy and narrow reflections upon self. ” (Shelley 51) Victor’s character is a story first and foremost about the consequences of male ambitions to co-opt the procreative function (Goodall 2). Ultimately Victor’s life ends in death, fueled by the chase of his abomination.
The birth of another character finds Shelley’s imagery painting a horrific picture of yet another monster, Victor’s creation. Victor gives birth to the monster creation with imagery like, “I saw how the fine form of man was degraded and wasted; I beheld the corruption of death succeed to the blooming cheek of life; I saw how the work inherited the wonders of the eye and brain. ” The monster is created from body parts, painting a ghoulish picture. The larger human parts being easier to work with the creature is of gigantic proportions. Rovee 1) Shelly then takes another journey through diction and imagery reshaping the character and the monster into a human being. Albeit does not have a physical or intimate relationship with the outcasts from France, the creature does have a relationship with them. He watches them from afar, performs kind acts for them, learns their language in the shadows with them, and when he feels the time is right; he approaches the blind elder of the family because he yearns for human contact. Our creature says, “I revolved many projects, but that on which I finally fixed was to enter the dwelling when the blind old man should be alone.
I had sagacity enough to discover that the unnatural hideousness of my person was the chief object of horror with those who had formerly beheld me. My voice, although harsh, had nothing terrible in it; I thought, therefore, that if in the absence of his children I could gain the good will and mediation of the old De Lacey, I might be his means be tolerated by my younger protectors. ” (Shelley 259) The character evolves and meets his demise. Shelley again uses diction to tell this part of the story. “I shall die, and what I now feel be no longer felt. Soon these burning mysteries will be extinct.
I shall ascend my funeral pile triumphantly and exult in the agony of the torturing flames. The light of that conflagration will fade away; my ashes will be swept into the sea by the winds. My spirit will sleep in peace, or if it thinks, it will not surely think thus. Farewell. ” Additional character analysis of the key individuals of Frankenstein begins with Walton, the letter writer, but he is not the initial narrator of the story. Shelley’s use of diction from Walton’s character, such as, “Margaret, what comment can I make on the untimely extinction of this glorious spirit?
What can I say that will enable you to understand the depth of my sorrow? “These words provoke strong emotions of sadness. Feeling what Walton feels for his friend. They shared ambition as their sin, Walton and Frankenstein. Walton’s ambition of traveling further and further in to the ice is a metaphor for the emotional cost of his ambition (Walling 8). (look over this area because I think you have some missing “”s) Henry Clerval, Victor’s boyhood friend, takes Victor back with memories of childhood and is a victim of Victor’s creation and ultimately Victor himself. you have victor in this one sentence 4 times) “I grasped his hand, and in a moment forgot my horror and misfortune; I felt suddenly, and for the first time during many months, calm and serene joy. ” (Shelley 99) The diction brings a sense of relief, but at the same time a feeling of dread. If the two men return to Victor’s home and the creation is still there, then what happens? Ultimately, the creature is gone, but he finds Henry again when the time is right. The character of Elizabeth is almost a pawn between Victor and his creation.
In the end, Victor knows death is coming and mistakenly believes it will be him. The monster knows that for Victor to feel his pain, he must be completely alone in the world. The imagery Shelley paints of Elizabeth’s last moments is chilling. “Why am I here to relate the destruction of the best hope and the purest creator on earth? She was there, lifeless and inanimate, thrown across the bed, her head hanging down and her pale and distorted features half covered by her hair. Everywhere I turn I see the same figure—her bloodless arms and relaxed form flung by the murderer on its bridal bier. (Shelley 397) Her lifeless and bloodless body tossed about like a rag doll is the image Shelley’s words describe. Lastly, the character analysis of Justine, the wrongly accused is found guilty. The diction Shelley uses with Justine’s character creates an uneasy happiness. There are moments of happiness and then a tragic ending to her. “Justine also was a girl of merit and possessed qualities which promised to render her life happy; now all was to be obliterated in an ignominious grave, and I the cause! ” (Shelley 146) Victor’s grief is clearly evident in Justine’s demise.
He knows she will die because he cannot tell the truth about the murderer of his brother. Shelley’s usage of diction is fluent throughout the passages of her novel. When describing Elizabeth as “fairer than a garden rose among dark-leaved brambles” (Shelley 44) it is clear that Elizabeth is beautiful and fair and Shelley still throws in the element of darkness that abode throughout. (I think that (shelly 44) is supposed to be at the end of your sentence even if your quote is in the middle) The diction of the creatures birth when, “the rain pattered dismally against the panes, and my candle was nearly burnt ut, when, by the glimmer of the half-extinguished light, I saw the dull yellow eye of the creature open; it breathed hard, and a convulsive motion agitated its limbs. ” (Shelley 93) The diction of guilt “Justine died, she rested, and I was alive. The blood flowed freely in my veins, but a weight of despair and remorse pressed on my heart which nothing could remove. Sleep fled from my eyes; I wandered like an evil spirit, for I had committed deeds of mischief beyond description horrible, and more, much more (I persuaded myself) was yet behind. ” Victor’s guilt is clear and brings it to the forefront of our minds.
How guilt might feel to all of us. “I cannot describe to you the agony that these reflections inflicted upon me; I tried to dispel them, but sorrow only increased with knowledge. Oh, that I had forever remained in my native wood, nor known nor felt beyond the sensations of hunger, thirst and heat! Of what a strange nature is knowledge! It clings to the mind when it has once seized on it like lichen on the rock. ” (Shelley 233) The monster has become self aware. The words strike sadness that his knowledge brought to him human emotions of the wish for companionship.
Diction allows the feeling of anger when the creation curses the creator. “Cursed, cursed creator! Why did I live? Why, in that instant, did I not extinguish the spark of existence which you had so wantonly bestowed? I know not; despair had not yet taken possession of me; my feelings were those of rage and revenge. ” (Shelley 266) Anger is prevalent in the text and brings genuine feeling of that very emotion. Victor’s paranoia takes over when he begins to dwell on the request of his initial creation for that of a companion. My duties towards the beings of my own species had great claims to my attention because they included a greater proportion of happiness or misery. Urged by this view, I refused, and I did right in refusing, to create a companion for the first creature. He showed unparalleled malignity and selfishness in evil; he destroyed my friends; he devoted to destruction beings who possessed exquisite sensations, happiness, and wisdom; nor do I know where this thirst for vengeance may end. Miserable himself that he may render no other wretched, he ought to die.
The task of his destruction was mine, but I have failed. When actuated by selfish and vicious motives, I asked you to undertake my unfinished work, and I renew this request now, when I am only induced by reason and virtue. ” (where is the cite? ) Victor’s words evoke fear. Shelley’s imagery as it evokes the image of the monster, “I suddenly beheld the figure of a man, at some distance, advancing towards me with superhuman speed. He bounded over the crevices in the ice, among which I had walked with caution; his stature, also, as he approached, seemed to exceed that of men. (Shelley 184) Victor is seeing the creature bounding towards him at a speed that surpassed his own when he walked the same distance and he knows instinctively that it is his creation. “Several hours passed, and I remained near my window gazing on the sea; it was almost motionless, for the winds were hushed, and all nature reposed under the eye of the quiet moon. ” (Shelley 334) The image of a large flat body of water under the moon is clear. There is no air to push the waters. The image is only broken by the paddling of a boat to the shore later. In Victor’s last moments of happiness, the imagery contains both sunlight and darkness. We passed rapidly along; the sun was hot, but we were sheltered from its rays” and in the same paragraph Shelley goes to a darker place, “sometimes coasting the opposite banks, we saw the might Jura opposing its dark side to the ambition that would quit its native country, and an almost insurmountable barrier to the invader who should wish to enslave it. ” (Shelley 392) Shelley takes us from the light in to darkness. The creation curses the creator because the creator created something so hideous that the creator could not even bear to look at his own creation, much less care for it. too much creator/creation) Turning has back from him. God made us in His image and would not turn his back on us, so would a creator do so? (Walling) The use of diction and imagery are two of the most powerful tools in Shelley’s novel. The images are clear and the diction creates emotions in the reader. Through character analysis, diction and imagery Shelley evokes the monsters in duality. The creature evident by his gigantic size and grotesque features and the monster Frankenstein has become upon perverting his ambitions and his guilt from those pursuits. Works Cited Goodall, Jane. Frankenstein and the Reprobate’s Conscience. ” Studies in the Novel 31. 1 (Spring 1999): 19-43. Rpt. in Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism. Vol. 192. Detroit: Gale, 2008. Literature Resources from Gale. Web. 11 Feb. 2011. Rovee, Christopher. “Monsters, Marbles, and Miniatures: Mary Shelley’s Reform Aesthetic. ” Studies in the Novel 36. 2 (Summer 2004): 147-169. Rpt. in Children’s Literature Review. Ed. Tom Burns. Vol. 133. Detroit: Gale, 2008. Literature Resources from Gale. Web. 11 Feb. 2011. Shelly, Mary. Frankenstein. New York: Sterling Publishing. 2007. Print. Walling, William A. “Frankenstein. Mary Shelley. New York: Twayne Publishers, 1972. 23-50. Rpt. in Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism. Ed. Jessica Bomarito and Russel Whitaker. Vol. 170. Detroit: Gale, 2006. Literature Resources from Gale. Web. 11 Feb. 2011. Zimmerman, Lee. “Frankenstein, Invisibility, and Nameless Dread. ” American Imago 60. 2 (Summer 2003): 135-158. Rpt. in Children’s Literature Review. Ed. Tom Burns. Vol. 133. Detroit: Gale, 2008. Literature Resources from Gale. Web. 11 Feb. 2011. Claim: The imagery and diction of Frankenstein cause the mind to evoke images of monsters in duality. I. Introduction A.
Claim: The imagery and diction of Frankenstein cause the mind to evoke images of monsters in duality. B. Victor character analysis 1. The imagery of Victor in the beginning – almost innocent – he narrates 2. The diction of Victor’s metamorphosis 3. The diction of Victor’s demise C. Victor’s creation character analysis 1. His beginning – the birth of a monster – in imagery 2. His metamorphosis from monster to human being through diction and imagery. 3. The imagery of his demise. D. Other key characters that add to the theme (Gothic) of Frankenstein 1. Walton – his imagery and diction as the letter writer (but not the narrator) 2.
Henry – what imagery or diction does he give to the picture of the two monsters? 3. Elizabeth – the image and diction of her relation in the story. a. Elizabeth is almost a pawn – Victor knows she will inevitably die in the end. b. She is his greatest love. c. Fleeting moments of happiness 4. Justine – the innocent that is sacrificed how diction and imagery create the vivid picture of her and our feelings towards her. II. Examples of the use of diction A. Chapter 2 – Elizabeth B. Chapter 5 – A monster is born C. Chapter 9 – Guilt D. Chapter 11 – the monster becomes a desolate man E.
Chapter 13 – Realizing what he (the monster has become) F. Chapter 16 – Cursing the creator G. Chapter 17 – The request of the Bride H. Chapter 20 – Destruction of the Bride III. Examples of imagery A. Chapter 10 – beholding the monster B. Chapter 13 – what knowledge brings C. Chapter 16 – William’s death and the framing of Justine D. Chapter 20 – His view of the sea, the remains of the creature E. Chapter 23 – The ride after the wedding F. Chapter 23 – The lifeless body of Elizabeth G. Chapter 24 – The demise of both monsters IV. Conclusions A. Final Comparisons of my thoughts and the thoughts of others B. Thus proving the claim.