Solitude is one of the most significant elements in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Throughout the novel, it is clear how alienation has consequences on nearly all the characters of the novel, in one way or another. Shelley’s personal solitude is reflected in her writing of the novel. Whether it is a chosen or forced solitude, it’s the common link between three characters: Victor Frankenstein, the creature, and Robert Walton.
The author’s personal life was coloured by solitude. She found solitude even in her gender because it isolated her from the company of men who shared her interests and aspirations. Whilst writing Frankenstein, Shelly faced a very painful and tough isolation after the death of both: her husband and her child (Percy Shelly and Lord Byron.) After this incident, Shelly watched her friends eating, drinking, sailing together and generally having fun but she couldn’t share them, the same way the monster feels in his isolation. He observes people, communicating, interacting with each other and having companions and he cannot share with them those things. The theme of solitude in Frankenstein rises from Shelly’s own experience with isolation.1
Victor Frankenstein’s tendency to isolation starts from early age when he has depended on himself for education. He has spent his time reading ancient science alone even when his father tells him he should not read those books, he has kept on reading them. His obsession with knowledge has leaded him to spend months in complete isolation, working on his creation, with not interaction with any humans. Not even his family whom he has ignored their letters in the period of the project. Even his working place is isolated from the rest of the house “In a solitary chamber, or rather cell, at the top of the house, and separated from all the other apartments by a gallery and staircase, I kept my workshop of filthy creation” This solitude led to the creation of the creature that eventually destroys Victor’s life.
Unlike Frankenstein, who has had a loving family at young age and later on chooses solitude, the creature from his very first moment has been rejected and shunned by his own creator. The creature longs for a companion. His forced solitude starts when Victor flees away from him and completely neglects his responsibilities toward him. Being left alone, the creature wanders by himself, facing more disapproval from every single person he...