Frankenstein is back to the role of narrator. He is bewildered and perplexed. The creature desires a female as his right. The latter part of the tale has enraged Victor, and he refuses the request. The creature counters that he is malicious because of miserywhy respect man when man condemns him? He is content to destroy everything related to Victor until he curses the day he was born. Gladly would he relinquish his war against humanity if only one person loved him. Since none do, he has to find happiness elsewhere, and he is pleading that his creator make him happy with someone to share his misery.
Frankenstein sees justice in his argument. The creature notes his change in countenance and promises that he would leave all humanity for the wilds of South America. The narrator does not believe this and refuses once again. The creature continues to plead and threaten. He is looking to become “linked to the chain of existence and events” from which he is now excluded. Victor is torn. He thinks about the creature’s great strength, about how much more destruction he might cause. He therefore agrees to the task, to save the rest of humanity.
The creature says he will watch his progress, and leaves him. He descends the mountain with a heavy heart, and returns to Geneva haggard. To save his family, Victor resolves to comply with the creature’s wish. Analysis: The most important feature of this chapter is the manner in which Frankenstein is convinced to make another being. Throughout most of the conversation, the creature’s tone is reasonable in the extreme. By aligning his maliciousness with misery, he is blaming Frankenstein for what he has become.
Phrasing the accusation in this manner, however, is so not confrontational that it is more effective at evoking the sympathy of Victor and the reader. Often the creature refers to Frankenstein as “you, my creator. ” This doubled form of address not only reminds the narrator of the role he has in giving life to this creature; it is a complimentary title that begs for help. There is a definite Biblical tone to his speechhis dialogue abounds with verbs such as “shall” that carry a confident, imperative feeling.
The creature then proceeds to ask a string of rhetorical questions about dealing with humans. These strengthen his arguments because he is emphasizing his state as the miserable, abused wretch. While he does threaten to destroy Frankenstein if his wishes are not fulfilled, the creature quickly recovers from this and begs help so that he will not hate his creator. This wish appears to be a very noble one. It would seem that the creature wants to banish all evil from his body, and a mate will allow him to do just that. The reasoning is definitely somewhat twisted, though.
The reader might argue that another being like himself will serve to augment the hatred of the creature if he has someone with whom he can identify. Chapter 18: Weeks pass and Victor does not begin working. He fears “the fiend’s” anger but cannot overcome his repugnance of feeling. The work will be aided by some new discoveries by English philosophers; he therefore wants to journey there and needs his father’s permission. Frankenstein’s health has become robust and strong. His melancholy is abated by rowing on the lake.
The narrator’s father speaks with him about his remaining unhappiness. He attributes it to fear of expectation: that he does not want to marry Elizabeth because he is in love with someone else and hates to disappoint the family. Victor quickly assures him that this is not the case. Elizabeth is the only woman he admires. Joyful at his declaration, his father asks of he would object to marrying Elizabeth even though they are both so young. Still, he immediately assures Victor that he is not trying to tell him what to do, or how to be happy. Frankenstein listens in silence.
The idea of marrying Elizabeth with the odious task hanging over his head is unbearable. He must complete it before that special occasion. The creature can then leave with his mate or perish in an accident. Either way, the narrator will finally have peace. His marriage to Elizabeth is set upon his return. Victor obtains his father’s permission to go to England by disguising his purposes. He does not want to work at home. He fears leaving his family open to predatory attacks by the creature, but reasons that the creature will follow him to England.
Considerately, the narrator’s father arranges for Clerval to meet Victor for the journey. They travel by boat through Germany and France. Frankenstein notes the great difference between Clerval and himself. The former is entirely alive, while his friend is again gloomy, a “miserable wretch” as he calls himself. Henry speaks at length about the surrounding beauty, the memory of which launches Victor into a mournful speech of admiration for his friend, who he misses greatly. By December they have arrived in England, greeted by the various architecture: castles, bridges, church steeples.