Symbolism in Frankenstein

light-graffiti-1943762_960_720“What could not be expected in the country of eternal light?” states Walton.  You do not understand the meaning of that sentence? Let me explain it to you, it is so simple: just replace light by sciences and there we go!


Indeed, Shelley uses light as a symbol of knowledge, discoveries and enlightenment. Since Frankenstein is a Gothic novel, the characters are immersed in a dark setting. What can destroy darkness? Light. This is why the characters always try to find their own light. Victor tries to reach the light through sciences, but how does the monster proceed to do so? The answer to this question is that it uses the proprieties of a specific natural element, which is the second symbol of the novel. The latter is also closely related to light. I believe you all guessed that I am talking about fire, so let’s continue. When the sad monster is hidden, alone, in the darkness of the night, it creates fire for the first time, with a still-smoldering flame. The crucial idea of this scene is not his feat of having created fire, but that it creates light in darkness, in the physical word as well as in its mind. Fire lightens its heart because this light makes him feel good, but it also warms him.

And you, how would you define light?


2 Replies to “Symbolism in Frankenstein”

  1. Woah!
    This is such a great analysis of indeed an important symbol in Shelley’s novel. I honestly did not think of this symbol while reading and analyzing the book. You know how people often associate Frankenstein as a creature that came to life out of a lightning strike? What about seeing the symbol of light as being, sometimes, something leading to terrible, scary events, such as the creation of the Creature.
    I loved your analysis, this is great work!
    Philippe Boucher


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