Throughout the novel of Frankenstein, Mary Shelley, the author of the widely-acclaimed work of literature, uses the story to convey the core belief that living beings need love and companionship in order to function properly; depriving them of either has dire consequences. Both the antagonist and protagonist, the monster and Victor Frankenstein, are prime examples of the consequences brought upon by the absence of love and fellowship with others. Victor chooses to increasingly alienate himself from others as time passes by while he is engrossed on his work.
In due course, the monster also faces isolation as well; however, it is due to prejudice against him caused by his hideous features rather than by personal choice. Nonetheless, due to limited interaction with others and deprivation of intimacy, they begin to reap the consequences.
Among them are the decline of Victor’s health, the destruction of Victor’s friends and family, the fracturing of the creator-creation relationship, and, ultimately, a cycle of revenge that leads to both characters’ deaths.
Originally written and published in the 1800s, Frankenstein is, without a doubt, a great reflection of the reality of the consequences brought by isolation. First and foremost, isolation can affect the health and strength of a person and can cause irreversible damage like that of Victor Frankenstein. Victor, ignoring the advice of his father to discontinue his project, continues on with his life’s work of creating life. According to himself, ‘Every night I was oppressed by a slow fever, and I became nervous to a most painful degree; a disease that I regretted the more…’ As time passes, his physical health begins to decline.
He becomes ill, malnourished, and severely sleep-deprived.
Furthermore, his obsessiveness worsens the situation as it pulls him away from any interaction. Moreover, not only can isolation cause physical unwellness, it can be psychological as well. For instance, after William’s death, Victor solemnly states, “But I did not feel the inconvenience of the weather; my imagination was busy with scenes of evil and despair.” Under the speculation that his creation committed the murder, Victor walks alone in the woods trying to come to terms with his new reality. With no one to confide in, whether his family, friends, or colleagues, he bears the weight of the consequences of his actions alone and the intensifying pressure begins to utterly destroy him from the inside out. In addition, isolation can also be detrimental to others and causes collateral damage. Due to long periods of being alone, Victor begins to care less for those around him and becomes very self-centered. After he foolishly promises to create a partner for his monster, he realizes that he cannot complete the task. But, instead of following through or reasoning with the monster for the better of everyone, he proceeds to only think about himself. He contemplates, “…the wickedness of my promise burst upon me; I shuddered to think that future ages might curse me as their pest, whose selfishness had not hesitated to buy its own price…”.
While his thoughts may sound logical, he is actually no longer able to tell between right and wrong. Thus, later on, his best friend, Clerval, and his betrothed, Elizabeth, must pay the price for his actions. Furthermore, seclusion can cause ignorance that leads to the severing of relationships. For example, William, Victor’s brother, mocks the monster for being ugly. The monster then seizes him with the original intent of securing an apology. However, as soon as he discovers that the boy has a relationship with his creator, he loses all sense of control and lashes out. “Frankenstein! You belong then to my enemy – to him towards whom I have sworn eternal revenge; you shall be my first victim,” he gloats as he silences William forever. Later on, as the monster tries to explain himself, Victor will have none of it and each character set out towards paths of revenge.