What Are The Best Examples Of Irony In Frankenstein?

Updated 30 September, 2024
In Frankenstein, Shelley extensively utilizes the concept of cynical irony in Victor’s ambitions to demonstrate the disparity between Victor’s vision of the future and what actually occurs as a consequence of his uncalculated actions.
Detailed answer:

In Frankenstein, Shelley uses irony to portray the significance of hurried decision-making and makes the reader reflect on what is being presented to them. The negative and cynical tone associated with the irony in this novel emphasizes the theme of acting rashly without thinking about the consequences which take Victor’s sanity and his life to make a creature that ends up destroying the people whom he cares the most for, thus becoming his loved ones’ indirect killer. If only Victor had been less isolated and manic about his studies, his Creature might never have been created and his life might have been long and happy, but Shelley included the sardonic irony to teach a lesson and as a warning to the audience.
Victor wants to be the father and caretaker of a species who will see him as their almighty creator and praise him but as soon as he saw what he had done, and the reality of the situation finally set in, “he rushed out of the room, and continued a long time traversing my bed-chamber, unable to compose his mind to sleep”. This reaction to the sight of your child, essentially, is not the normal, parental response and this is where he finally realizes the situation he is in and the true nature of his creation. As soon as he concludes the task he has painstakingly achieved, he is appalled by “the miserable monster whom he had created ... catching and fearing each sound as if it were to announce the approach of the demoniacal corpse to which he had so miserably given life”. The irony here is direct and prominent, straightforwardly outlining the correlation between his hasty decisions and the results that arose. His devotion and care for years and years on this one creation is all forgotten about and he intensely despises it once he sees the horrible product of his hard work.
Shelley’s purpose in using irony is to demonstrate the contradicting themes of appearance and reality relating to Victor and his ambitions. The dark humor outlines the severity of the issue of haste and overpowering sense of greed and the unbalance between wanting to create life out of the goodness of humanity and not contemplating the consequences that might and will arise out of such a feat. She outlines how Victor’s ambition to create life and give birth to a new human species will be beneficial and groundbreaking but describes the cynical aftermath of his seemingly pure intentions.

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