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Frame Narrative in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

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Words: 632 |

Page: 1|

4 min read

Published: Mar 20, 2024

Words: 632|Page: 1|4 min read

Published: Mar 20, 2024

One of the most striking aspects of the novel is its use of a frame narrative, a literary technique in which a story is nested within another story. This essay will explore the significance of the frame narrative in Frankenstein and how it contributes to the novel’s themes and overall impact.

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The frame narrative in Frankenstein is presented through a series of letters written by Captain Robert Walton to his sister. In these letters, Walton recounts his expedition to the North Pole and his encounter with Victor Frankenstein, who then proceeds to tell his own story to Walton. This nested structure allows Shelley to create a sense of distance and remove between the reader and the events of the novel, as well as to explore the theme of isolation and the consequences of unchecked ambition.

One of the key functions of the frame narrative in Frankenstein is to establish a sense of ambiguity and uncertainty. The novel opens with Walton’s letters, in which he expresses his loneliness and longing for companionship. This sets the tone for the rest of the novel, as the theme of isolation is echoed throughout the story. By using a frame narrative, Shelley creates a sense of distance and remove that mirrors the emotional and psychological distance between the characters in the novel. This technique serves to heighten the sense of unease and mystery that permeates the narrative, as the reader is kept at arm’s length from the events of the story.

Furthermore, the frame narrative in Frankenstein allows Shelley to explore the theme of ambition and its consequences. Victor Frankenstein’s story is told within the larger framework of Walton’s letters, and it becomes clear that both characters share a similar drive for exploration and discovery. However, while Walton’s ambition is tempered by a sense of responsibility and morality, Frankenstein’s unchecked ambition leads to disastrous consequences. By juxtaposing these two characters and their respective narratives, Shelley is able to highlight the dangers of unbridled ambition and the need for ethical considerations in scientific pursuits.

The frame narrative also serves to underscore the novel’s themes of power and control. Throughout Frankenstein, the characters grapple with the consequences of their actions and the power they wield. By framing the story within Walton’s letters, Shelley is able to create a sense of authority and control, as Walton is the one who ultimately decides whether or not to share Frankenstein’s story with the world. This allows Shelley to explore the theme of power dynamics and the ways in which individuals seek to assert control over their own narratives.

In addition to its thematic significance, the frame narrative in Frankenstein also contributes to the novel’s overall impact and emotional resonance. The use of multiple narrators and perspectives allows Shelley to create a rich and complex portrait of the characters and their experiences. By presenting the story through a series of letters and narrations, Shelley is able to capture the subjective nature of truth and memory, as well as the ways in which individuals construct and shape their own narratives. This adds depth and complexity to the novel, as the reader is forced to grapple with the different perspectives and interpretations of the events that unfold.

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In conclusion, the frame narrative in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is a crucial element of the novel’s structure and thematic significance. Through the use of nested narratives, Shelley is able to explore the themes of isolation, ambition, power, and control, as well as to create a rich and complex portrait of the characters and their experiences. The frame narrative adds depth and complexity to the novel, and allows Shelley to create a sense of ambiguity and uncertainty that resonates throughout the narrative. Ultimately, the frame narrative in Frankenstein serves to heighten the novel’s impact and emotional resonance, and continues to captivate readers and scholars alike.

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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

Frame Narrative in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. (2024, March 20). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 30, 2024, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/frame-narrative-in-mary-shelleys-frankenstein/
“Frame Narrative in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.” GradesFixer, 20 Mar. 2024, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/frame-narrative-in-mary-shelleys-frankenstein/
Frame Narrative in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/frame-narrative-in-mary-shelleys-frankenstein/> [Accessed 30 May 2024].
Frame Narrative in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Mar 20 [cited 2024 May 30]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/frame-narrative-in-mary-shelleys-frankenstein/
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