Areas of Study

Areas of Study

Written at a time when radical ideas of progress and universal improvement thrived, the novel explores the workings of benevolence as an agent for good or bad in the private and public domains of life. We are shown how the outcome of doing good is largely determined by the motives, which inspire it.

What does Victor hope to achieve from his benevolent ambitions and what motives chiefly inspire them?

How do Robert Walton's ambitions parallel those of Victor Frankenstein's?

Which three characters would you single out as exemplifying a selfless or self-sacrificing generosity?

In which ways do people suffer as a result of their own unselfish actions?

Almost all of the adult male and female characters possess powers of resolution. In some instances, their individual determination is shown to be good and admirable,while in others it is shown to be dangerous.  As with benevolence, the theme of resolution is illumined by human motives.

What causes Robert Walton's resolution to falter in respect of his great purpose?

Safie and Caroline show determination in which ways?

At which point in the novel does the creature resolve to revenge himself on his creator?

The full pathos of the creature's blighted existence is developed in the episode of his contact with the De Lacey family. The De Laceys unknowingly provide the creature with a sense of human fellowship. Their influence acts like yeast on the creature's self-discovery and development.

How and in which ways do the De Lacey's release the springs of human affections in the creature?

By which specific means does the creature discover his own nobility of soul as a result of the De Lacey's influence?

What is it that compels the creature to make actual contact with the De Lacey's?

The novel's society is almost exclusively based on the affairs and relationships of two families. Both exert a social influence beyond the bounds of their immediate domestic circles.

In which ways do the De Lacey and Frankenstein families resemble each other?

How much of his character and outlook does Victor Frankenstein owe to his family upbringing?

Does the novel present only a good view of families?

The pursuit-plot is played out amid dramatic natural settings full of descriptive grandeur. By way of contrast, the novel's social locations are left largely un-described.

Which aspects of nature are most highlighted in the novel's scenic settings?

What comparisons does Victor Frankenstein draw between Clerval's appreciation of scenic beauty and his own?

What narrative purpose does opening and ending the novel and arctic region serve?