More on the creature's words

More on the creature's words:

Frankenstein and his creation meet and argue with an equal command of language:

  • the creature speaks a rich and ornate language, full of rhetorical devices
    • he uses the older forms ‘thou', ‘thy' , ‘thine' and ‘thee', rather than the more modern (even in 1818) usages ‘you' and ‘yours';
    • he employs injunctions and exclamations in a highly dramatic manner: ‘Be calm!', ‘Begone!';
    • his sentences are often made up of balanced and rhythmical clauses: ‘Remember, thou has made me more powerful than thyself; my height is superior to thine; my joints more supple.'
    • he accompanies his speech with equally dramatic physical gestures, such as when he place his hands over Frankenstein's eyes.

The issues they debate are central to the themes of the novel:

For the first time the reader is able to see events from the creature's point of view:

  • the creature describes the horror with which people react to him and his exclusion from human society
  • he also reminds Victor of his duties and responsibilities towards a being he has created
  • he describes Victor as ‘my natural lord and king' and himself as ‘thy creature'
  • he argues that he has been driven to crime by rejection and misery
  • he pleads for justice, mercy and even affection from Victor
  • he accuses Victor of wishing to kill him, even though he abhors the creature as a murderer
  • he begs Victor to make him happy and listen to his story since he disappeared from the laboratory.

Victor's point of view changes as the passage goes on:

  • he adopts a challenging and rhetorical style of speaking, like the creature's
  • at first, Victor's reactions are entirely negative: he describes the creature as ‘Devil!', ‘vile insect', ‘Abhorred monster!' and can only think of his crimes and the misery he has brought on his family
  • he also expresses his regret for having created a being he now regards as a monster and curses himself for having done so
  • as he accompanies the creature to his hut, Victor begins to reflect on what he has heard and to understand that he may have failed in his duty towards his creation.
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