Frankenstein: Famous Quotes
Frankenstein, also referred to as The Modern Prometheus, is an English novel written by Mary Shelley. This book narrates the story of a young scientist, Victor Frankenstein, who is curious to discover the secret of life. He creates a monstrous creature in his scientific experiment. The novel contains famous quotes that address some of the key themes. Discover some of the famous quotes, their meanings, and how they connect to the topics.
Quote on Nature
"I remembered the effect that the view of the tremendous and ever-moving glacier had produced upon my mind when I first saw it. It had then filled me with a sublime ecstasy, that gave wings to the soul, and allowed it to soar from the obscure world to light and joy. The sight of the awful and majestic in nature had indeed always the effect of solemnizing my mind and causing me to forget the passing cares of life. I determined to go without a guide, for I was well acquainted with the path, and the presence of another would destroy the solitary grandeur of the scene."
In chapter 10, Frankenstein describes his journey to Montanvert to mourn his brother William. He feels lonely, but the beautiful view of the glaciers calms him. The sublime ecstasy grants Victor an enlightenment that is different from the knowledge he hoped to gain from philosophy and chemistry. His experiences during this trip are mainly emotional and religious. The glacier reminds him of the power of nature.
Quotes Related to Knowledge
"It was the secrets of heaven and earth that I desired to learn; and whether it was the outward substance of things or the inner spirit of nature and the mysterious soul of man that occupied me, still my inquiries were directed to the metaphysical, or in its highest sense, the physical secrets of the world."
Victor makes this statement in Chapter 2, as he describes his childhood to Walton. This quote highlights Frankenstein's main obsession in life, which is pursuing intellectual insight. The desire for glory and this obsession help him succeed in his studies and create a creature from old body parts. However, the monster ends up killing people that Victor loves. Hence, Mary Shelley appears to question whether such a goal is worth pursuing, and if this kind of knowledge is enlightening.
"So much has been done, exclaimed the soul of Frankenstein — more, far more, will I achieve; treading in the steps already marked, I will pioneer a new way, explore unknown powers, and unfold to the world the deepest mysteries of creation." In Chapter 3, Frankenstein recounts his life at the university and alleges that his soul informed him that he would unearth many secrets. He also seems to acknowledge that his desire to be a great scientist is an inborn characteristic.
Quote on Humanity
"I was dependent on none and related to none. The path of my departure was free, and there was none to lament my annihilation. My person was hideous, and my stature gigantic. What did this mean? Who was I? What was I? Whence did I come? What was my destination? These questions continually recurred, but I was unable to solve them."
In Chapter 15, the monster asks various questions on identity, life, and death. Contrary to Frankenstein, who looks for the scientific mysteries of human life, the beast has philosophical questions regarding human nature. Victor succeeds at bringing the being to life hence fulfilling his desire, but this knowledge cannot answer the creature's questions. The passage implies that science helps us understand the world, but it cannot explain our existence.