Victor and the monster are not the only metaphors that are used in the story.
The weather is subtle metaphor throughout the novel; thunder and lightning predict misery. On the night of William’s murder there is a storm: “..
. drenched by the rain which poured from a black and comfortless sky” Storms and rain always suggests something fatal is going to happen; there is also a storm on the night of Victor and Elizabeth’s wedding night when the monster kills her. In the warm Victor and the monster seem happier and more uplifted. Victor uses the Alps as a place to rejuvenate and reflect.The weather acts accordingly to the character’s moods.
Also, throughout the novel, many characters fall sick especially Victor when he is upset or stressed. After he has created the monster Victor becomes very ill and Clerval wonders if he will recover: “By very slow degrees, and with frequent relapses that alarmed and grieved my friend, I recovered. ” When Victor has a guilty conscience, he becomes ill, again when Clerval dies. It is release from the real world for Victor.
The conditions of his illness depend on his actions, he is at the worst point after creating the monster.Shelley’s main point through the story is that “ignorance is bliss”. During the time in which the novel was written the debate between the power and human reason with science and human relationship with his creator. Shelly gives her ideas, especially in chapter 4 when Victor warns Walton not to follow his example: “Learn from me..
. how dangerous is the acquirement of knowledge, and how much happier that man is who believed his native town to be the world, than he who aspires to become greater than his nature will allow” Here, Shelley puts across her point that ignorance is bliss.According to Shelley and many others of that era, some riddles of nature should never have been discovered by man. The book had an alternative title, “The Modern Prometheus” which also argues her point. Prometheus was a character from Greek mythology took the fire from the gods to give it to man; because of this he suffered punishment forever.
With the alternative title, Shelley is suggesting that Victor is the Modern Prometheus; he took creation from God and in result killed many people: “William, Justine and Henry – they all died by my hands”Victor knows that the deaths of the above were subsequently his fault, if he had never created the monster, they wouldn’t have died. Even though he does not directly accuse himself of murdering them, he admits it was his fault. By writing this novel, Mary Shelley made a social comment to the world about how humans judge others on their appearance; often intentionally and sometimes subconsciously. Victor regards Mr.
Krempe’s idea of science because his physical looks repulsed him: “M. Krempe was a squat little man with a gruff voice and a repulsive countenance.. “Victor judges Krempe on his looks, instead of his character just like he did with the monster. He fails to show human qualities from this point in the story such as kindness, understanding and most importantly compassion.
The monster shows all of these throughout the story. The main moral of Shelley’s novel is that ignorance is bliss. Shelley Suggests that she agrees with the changes in social ideologies that nature is better than nurture. She shows this especially with Victor’s character, he started out with the best possible up bringing but lead a miserable life all starting with his search for greater knowledge.Victor may not deserve all of the terrible things that happen to him, however, this is Shelley’s way of warning how foolish it is to investigate things that humans should leave alone. The reader’s sympathies shift between Victor and his creature several times throughout the novel. The monster’s character changes from being innocent to nasty after confrontations with various characters and especially after killing William After this reader’s sympathies are no longer with the monster because he has stopped showing the characteristics, which he was before.
Victor never did anything intentionally evil, but as a result of his life, he killed his family and brought misery to his life. At first the feelings of sympathy lie with Victor, but his isolation and tragedy were self-inflicted. By the end of the novel, Victor becomes increasingly like his creation; a monster. The creature, despite killing William, has learnt many human qualities, from longing for love and companionship to anger and hate. It is difficult to balance who is more human but by the end of the novel, the sympathies lie with both characters as both their lives ended in isolation and misery.