The Letters of Frankenstein
How are the letters at the start of Frankenstein been utilized to convey the crucial themes and concepts and context of Mary Shelley’s time? The letters at the start of the unique strongly depict the essential Romantic ideas of the time– cultivated individualism, respect for the natural world, idealism, physical and psychological passion, and an interest in the mystic and supernatural.
This is primarily seen through the narrator-protagonist Walter, who reveals himself as a Romantic, with his “love for the wonderful, a belief in the marvellous,” which pushes him along the risky, lonesome pathway he has actually chosen to follow. The Age of Enlightenment which Mary Shelley lived through held the pathway for clinical discovery. Although scientific discovery was considered extremely essential, Mary Shelley was extremely careful of it and her unique Frankenstein is a cautioning to humanity over the effects of clinical discovery. When I reflect that you are pursuing the same course, exposing yourself to the very same threats, I picture that you may deduce an apt moral from my tale.” The description of scientific discovery as a journey shows that it is a new and seemingly unsafe principle compared to an actual journey of discovery to unidentified lands, which is in reality precisely what Walton is participating in. The verb ‘exposing’ also shows that a guy’s own individual morals can be affected by such a journey of discovery and that there are extreme consequences of scientific development.
It is the moral task of humankind to question the validity and reason for scientific development– we should not play God in utilizing science to take over the order of the natural world. Shelley likewise questions the nature of monstrosity in Frankenstein and this is initially highlighted in the opening in “Letters”. The odd description of Victor in Letter IV very first highlights the uncertainty over the nature of monstrosity in the novel. “I never saw a more fascinating creature; his eyes have typically an expression of wildness, and even madness … Sometimes he gnashes his teeth.” The description of Victor as a wild animal explores the idea of humanity being more of a monster than ‘the daemon’ and shows of the significant effects of both the rejection of faith and the ‘playing of God’. The tactile imagery of ‘gnashing’ highlights the monstrous nature of Frankenstein when he is in a state of suffering and concerns regarding whether he is a victim of his own fascination to gain knowledge.