Frankenstein By Mary Shelley Summary and Analysis Chapter 18

Summary

Back in Geneva, Victor begins to study how he will create a second monster; he wants to know the latest developments in the scientific community. He recovers himself and tells his father that he wishes to go to London on a tour. He promises his father that upon his return he will marry Elizabeth. In September, he leaves Geneva, travels through France to Germany, Holland, and then London. His best friend Henry Clerval accompanies Victor on his journey. The two arrive in London during the late days of December.

Analysis

Victor invents the whole travel episode to disguise the true nature of his work. He is torn by his promise to the monster and the knowledge that if he fails there will be dire consequences for his family.

The question in Victor's mind is will the monster follow or stay behind. Confident the monster will follow, Victor leaves Geneva knowing what task awaits him and summoning the courage to repeat his terrible experiment yet a second time. He is so distraught that the scenery does not cheer him.

Victor joins the exuberant Clerval, and they journey up the Rhine River to the North Sea. Mary Shelley presents a travelogue of her own tour up the Rhine. She mentions the places along the way that are important to her: the vineyards, the sheer cliffs, the islands in the river, and the ordinary people who carry on their lives in such a beautiful land. Shelley even quotes Wordsworth's "Tintern Abbey," a major Romantic poem and an influence on the writers of the period. The parallels between Shelley's Germany and Wordsworth's English Lake District are noteworthy for their descriptions of pastoral scenes and soul-refreshing spirit, which are the essence of Romantic writing and thought.

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