Frankenstein: Figurative Language Analysis

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 580 |

Page: 1|

3 min read

Published: Mar 20, 2024

Words: 580|Page: 1|3 min read

Published: Mar 20, 2024

Table of contents

  1. Simile and Metaphor
  2. Personification
  3. Symbolism
  4. Conclusion

Frankenstein is a masterpiece of literature that has stood the test of time. One of the key elements that makes the novel so powerful is the use of figurative language. Throughout the novel, Shelley employs various literary devices such as simile, metaphor, and personification to convey deeper meaning and create a rich, immersive reading experience. In this essay, we will analyze the use of figurative language in Frankenstein, exploring how it contributes to the themes and overall impact of the novel.

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Simile and Metaphor

Simile and metaphor are two of the most common types of figurative language used in Frankenstein. These devices allow Shelley to draw comparisons between seemingly unrelated things, creating vivid images and conveying complex emotions. For example, in the opening chapters of the novel, Victor Frankenstein describes his childhood fascination with natural philosophy as “a torrent of light and beauty.” This metaphor not only captures the intensity of Victor’s passion but also foreshadows the destructive power of his later experiments. Similarly, the creature compares himself to “the fallen angel” and “the miserable monster” in an effort to articulate his profound sense of isolation and despair. These metaphors serve to humanize the creature and evoke sympathy from the reader, highlighting the novel’s exploration of the human experience and the nature of identity.


Personification is another key element of figurative language in Frankenstein. Shelley frequently imbues the natural world with human qualities, blurring the boundaries between the physical and emotional realms. For instance, the “dreary night of November” is described as “wretched” and “wet” as Victor completes his experiment to animate the creature. This personification of the weather reflects Victor’s own troubled state of mind and foreshadows the tragic consequences of his actions. Additionally, the creature himself is often described in terms of the natural world, with his “watery eyes” and “livid lips” evoking a sense of otherworldly, elemental power. By personifying both the environment and the creature, Shelley creates a sense of interconnectedness and mutual influence, reinforcing the novel’s themes of responsibility and the consequences of unchecked ambition.


In addition to simile, metaphor, and personification, Frankenstein also employs symbolism to enrich its narrative and deepen its themes. The recurring motif of light and fire, for example, serves as a powerful symbol of knowledge and discovery throughout the novel. Victor is initially drawn to the “spark” of scientific inquiry, but as his experiments progress, the same fire becomes a destructive force that consumes both him and his creation. Similarly, the creature’s pursuit of knowledge and self-awareness is framed as a quest for “light” and “understanding,” highlighting the universal human desire for meaning and connection. By using symbolism in this way, Shelley elevates the novel beyond a simple cautionary tale, inviting readers to consider the broader implications of knowledge and power in their own lives.

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In conclusion, the use of figurative language in Frankenstein is a vital aspect of the novel’s enduring impact. Through simile, metaphor, personification, and symbolism, Mary Shelley crafts a rich and immersive narrative that delves into the complexities of human experience, the consequences of unchecked ambition, and the ethical implications of scientific discovery. By analyzing the figurative language in the novel, we gain a deeper appreciation for its themes and a greater understanding of its lasting significance. Frankenstein is not simply a cautionary tale; it is a timeless exploration of the human condition, made all the more compelling by Shelley’s masterful use of figurative language.

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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

Frankenstein: Figurative Language Analysis. (2024, March 20). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 30, 2024, from
“Frankenstein: Figurative Language Analysis.” GradesFixer, 20 Mar. 2024,
Frankenstein: Figurative Language Analysis. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 30 May 2024].
Frankenstein: Figurative Language Analysis [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Mar 20 [cited 2024 May 30]. Available from:
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