Analysis of Quotes from Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

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Understanding the Novel

Quote: If you had seen the man who thus capitulated for his safety, your surprise would have been boundless. His limbs were nearly frozen, and his body dreadfully emaciated by fatigue and suffering. I never saw a man in so wretched a condition.

Analysis: Walton describes Victor Frankenstein to his sister. What he really means is never under any circumstances should you create a giant creature out of dead body parts and abandon it. If you do, you’ll look like this kook.

Quote: It was the secrets of heaven and earth that I desired to learn.

Analysis: Way to dream big, Victor! If your goal, however, includes gathering dead body parts, assembling them, and injecting them with the essence of life and a bit of electricity, change your goal.

Quote: How can I describe my emotions at this catastrophe, or how delineate the wretch whom with such infinite pains and care I had endeavored to perform?

Analysis: Victor describes his reaction the night his creation comes to life. He is probably the only individual on Earth who is surprised that a giant creature made from dead body parts looks hideous.

Quote: I am alone and miserable; man will not associate with me; but one as deformed and horrible as myself would not deny herself to me. My companion must be of the same species and have the same defects. This being you must create.

Analysis: The monster tries to persuade Victor to make him a mate. There are two lessons here: (1) Don’t murder the brother of someone you might need help from in the future; (2) This is perhaps the worst pickup line in the history of literature.

Quote: There was none among the myriads of men that existed who would pity or assist me; and should I feel kindness towards my enemies? No: from that moment I declared everlasting war against the species, and, more than all, against him who had formed me and sent me forth to this insupportable misery.

Analysis: This is not something you want to hear from an indestructible monster. The monster has every reason to be bitter and angry, but doesn’t the brutal murder of a 5-year old exclude him from sympathy? I think so.

Quote: A new species would bless me as its creator and source; many happy and excellent natures would owe their being to me.

Analysis: Unless you consider having your entire family murdered and spending the remaining days of your wretched life in solitude and suffering as being blessed, I would have to say the experiment was a failure. It’s kind of like that time you thought driving from Cleveland to Dayton at two in the morning to surprise your ex-girlfriend would improve your life. Instead, you found her with another guy, got punched in the face, fell asleep driving home, and plowed your car into a guard rail. Let’s move on.

Quote: I shall be with you on your wedding night.

Analysis: The monster threatens Victor after Victor destroys the female monster. I suppose if the monster brings a gift, Victor might let him in?

Quote: Seek happiness in tranquility and avoid ambition.

Analysis: Don’t you love it when somebody who’s ruined his life tries to give you advice. Just because you were a moron, Victor, doesn’t mean I should hang out in my parent’s basement all day and play video games. It’s OK to have ambition as long as it doesn’t involve assembling a giant creature out of dead body parts, bringing it to life with electricity, and abandoning it. It’s like those people who have been divorced six times telling you not to get married because marriage is bad, when in reality they had numerous affairs, a gambling problem, and a meth addiction.

Quote: Who shall conceive the horrors of my secret toil as I dabbled among the unhallowed damps of the grave or tortured the living animal to animate the lifeless clay?

Analysis: Victor narrates the horrible effect of gathering dead body parts from charnel houses and graveyards. Was there any point in his experiments that Victor thought, “You know what? Maybe gathering dead body parts out of charnel houses and graveyards, constructing a giant creature, and bringing it to life isn’t such a great idea? Maybe I should study literature or sell insurance instead?”

Quote: The nearer I approached to your habitation, the more deeply did I feel the spirit of revenge enkindled in my heart.

Analysis: Monster mad! Victor in trouble!

Quote: Yet, when I am dead, if he should appear; if the ministers of vengeance should conduct him to you, swear that he shall not live–swear that he shall not triumph over my accumulated woes, and survive to add to the list of his dark crimes. He is eloquent and persuasive; and once his words had even power over my heart: but trust him not. His soul is as hellish as his form, full of treachery and fiendlike malice. Hear him not; call on the names of William, Justine, Clerval, Elizabeth, my father, and of the wretched Victor, and thrust your sword into his heart. I will hover near and direct the steel aright.

Analysis: Victor urges Robert Walton to destroy the monster shall he appear. So let me get this right–Victor asks Robert to kill a giant creature made from dead body parts who has proven heretofore indestructible and bent on vengeance to anyone who does him wrong. Thanks Victor, but no thanks.

Quote: You hate me; but your abhorrence cannot equal that with which I regard myself. I look on the hands which executed the deed; I think on the heart in which the imagination of it was conceived, and long for the moment when these hands will meet my eyes, when that imagination will haunt my thoughts no more.

Analysis: The monsters final words express his misery. Apparently, dedicating your life to revenge and murder makes you miserable. Who would have guessed?

Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. St. Paul, MN: EMC Corporation, 1998

This post is part of the series: Frankenstein Study Guide

This study guide creation won’t kill everybody in your family.

  1. Frankenstein Chapter Summaries Including Commentary and Analysis
  2. Frankenstein Characters with Analysis
  3. Frankenstein: Not Just an “Allusion”
  4. Frankenstein Quotes with Analysis
  5. Frankenstein Study Questions and Answers