In the story, Frankenstein, Victor (who is the main character) experiences many tragedies resulting from the creation of his “Monster”. One of which – the leading cause, eventually pushing him to hunt down his creation – is the guilt for which he feels for indirectly being the cause of the deaths of his family members, his only close friend (Henry), and the family housekeeper, Justine Moritz.
Mary Shelly is noted for having incorporating her own experiences within the novel. In class, we’ve already discussed how Mary incorporated little bits of information in the story that related to her own experiences. Even though found many similarities between Victor and Mary’s experiences, we failed to discuss the guilt that, in my belief, both Mary and Victor had in common. Like Victor, many of Mary’s close relatives, friends , and associates past away.
From the deaths of her three children, the death of her biological mother, her husband’s deceased first wife, and the death of her half-sister, Fanny (who took her own life), Mary too had many tragedies occur in her life. However, in class we failed to mention if Mary, like Victor, felt in any way responsible for any of these tragedies that occurred – if she felt any guilt. A perfect example would be Percy’s first wife Harriet, who killed herself (probably because she couldn’t bare the fact that her husband left her for another woman – Mary).
Another would be the death of her three children (who she could have felt some guilt, being that she was always traveling rather then being present at all times to tend for them, or maybe not taking the necessary precautions that an expectant mother should take). I strongly believe that Mary and Victor shared a similar guilt; Victor created a monster and Mary stole Percy from Harriet as well as provided absence in her home. It is well accepted that Mary wrote many pieces to Frankenstein as symbolism to what went on in her life as well as what was going on in history at the time she wrote it.
I believe that she went on to include not only events, and descriptions of her many travels in the Eastern Hemisphere, but also incorporated her feelings and emotions as well (in this case, her guilt is just one of them). Again, Frankenstein is not only a gothic tale of horror, but is also a tale of symbolism, symbolic of an industrial period in history as well as the tragic life that Mary had encountered in the past and, what I believe, she would ironically come to encounter years after her book was published. Hence this is a great topic for discussion.