- Social / political context
- Religious / philosophical context
- Literary context
- The Bible: Creation: see Religious / philosophical context
- The Prometheus myth
- The doppelganger
- The monster's reading: Plutarch, Milton and Goethe
- The Romantics: Coleridge, Lamb, Southey, de Quincey
- Title page to the first edition
- Volume 1
- Volume 2
- Volume 3
The narrative frames
The nature of the narrative in Frankenstein is inseparably linked to its structure, which combines three different narrative strands:
- Captain Walton
- Victor Frankenstein
- the monster.
These narratives sit within one another, like a set of boxes of different sizes:
This structure could also be expressed as a series of brackets:
[WALTON [FRANKENSTEIN [THE MONSTER] FRANKENSTEIN] WALTON]
Included by Victor
The structure is further complicated by the fact that Victor includes in his narrative:
- letters from Elizabeth and his father
- Justine's account of William's murder.
Included by the monster
In addition, the monster is able to:
- recount the story of the de Laceys
- refer to Victor's diary of the months leading up to his creation.
Included by Walton
Captain Walton could be described as the overall narrator:
- he introduces and ends the book with his letters to his sister, Margaret
- he also retells Frankenstein's story and Frankenstein's account of the monster's story.
This structure requires the reader to accept that:
- Robert Walton has perfect recall of everything he hears from Victor
- Victor has perfect recall of the monster's narrative.
This is a convention that was widely accepted in eighteenth and nineteenth-century fiction. Mary Shelley, however, complicates this convention:
- for all three narrators, there is a good deal at stake in presenting themselves to the reader, or to each other, in a particular light.
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