The evident conflict is present throughout Mary Shelleys Frankenstein. Conflict, suspense and an elevating climax are three major components to a well-written novel. The components of conflict in a novel continually advance the plot and must always affect the main character in a way that portrays through the other characters in the novel as well. In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, the components of conflict, suspense and climax are all demonstrated in a way that shows throughout the main character as well as the other characters in the novel.
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External and internal conflicts are both present in Victor Frankenstein from beginning to end. In the beginning of the novel, Victor’s mother dies, thus Victor’s coping mechanism consists of him becoming captivated by the thought of death, or rather driven by re-creating life using dead corpses. He then proceeds to create his own monster hoping to be the first man to re-create life. The monster turns out to be very unattractive and Victor decides to shun it and deprive it from the love and care it would need creating further conflict upon himself and his family. “â€¦I thought that if I could bestow animation upon lifeless matter, I might in process of time (although I now found it impossible) renew life where death had apparently devoted the body to corruption.” (Shelley 39) In this quote, Victor is stating that he is aware that this creature will be complete malice because his death has “devoted the body to corruption” yet, he doubts his creation for a similar reason. As a result of Victors neglect towards his monster, the monster becomes out of control and creates more conflict when he murders Victor’s younger brother William. If Victor hadn’t neglected his creation, this intricate conflict wouldn’t have been created. To add onto this conflict, Frankenstein’s monster inquires Frankenstein about making him a female companion who is equally unattractive so he does not have to continue to live in solitude and self-hatred. After refusing to do so in the beginning, Victor Frankenstein reluctantly agrees to this. After he has almost completed his monster’s female companion, he realizes the future consequences of his current actions and destroys the female monster directly in front of his other monster. His monster becomes outraged and swears to Victor that he will be present on his wedding night, creating foreshadowing and suspense in the novel.
The destroying of the female monster foreshadows what will end up happening on Victor Frankenstein’s wedding night, which we as readers assumed would mean Elizabeth’s death but Victor assumed as his own. This creates suspense in the novel because the readers now have to find out whether Frankenstein realizes this on time or if Elizabeth ends up dying a horrendous death. Mystery and suspense are built in well from the first page of the novel. The introduction of the external narrator using Walton’s letters to his sister makes the reader feel like a spectator watching the story unfold from the outside. We, as the readers, do not experience the main character’s point of view. Alternatively, we have the main character telling us what is happening. The use of numerous views from different characters gives us a perfect amount of information to create suspense as well. When we read the sections of the story from Victor’s point of view, we know that the monster has been created, but then we are left wondering where the monster has gone. When the novel switches to the monsters point of view, we comprehend his motives but we never know how he will handle the situations. We, as readers, do not know whether the monster will try to get his revenge or not. Another clever device used to enhance suspense is pathetic fallacy. In the beginning of Chapter 5, Shelley describes the setting as a “â€¦dreary night [in] Novemberâ€¦” (Shelley 42) which foreshadows dark upcoming events.
The climax is the most important part of the novel seeing that it draws the reader’s attention to continue reading. The climax of Frankenstein occurs when the monster is first created. When this happens, Victor Frankenstein becomes aware of the mistake he made when making his monster. Near the end of the novel, there is a second climax when Victor is prepared to fight the monster on his wedding night, but the monster ends up brutally murdering Elizabeth. In the beginning of the novel, the climax is set in the Arctic. The setting is important to the climax because it portrays loneliness from the monsters first breath. The creature feels abandoned and isolated throughout his whole life. Another character that was affected by death and loneliness was Justine, whose father died leaving her to live with her mother, who did not treat her well. A parent who does not express their love towards their child is not a parent. This leaves the child as an orphan.
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Overall, Mary Shelley portrayed internal and external conflict, suspense and climax exceptionally throughout her novel Frankenstein. This novel puts the reader through many different perspectives to help us feel the emotion and struggle that every character had to deal with. The extent to which she portrays Victor Frankenstein’s conflict not only through Victor himself, but through every character in the novel aids us as readers to realize that the connection of conflict between characters is what makes a good novel. In the end, Mary Shelley’s main theme of science makes the reader recognize the population’s terror of scientific advancement. She portrays it through Frankenstein and shows that science may well be what will destroy mankind.
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