Frankenstein's Descent

In Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein, Victor Frankenstein’s behaviour becomes more and more grotesque in the buildup to the creation of the monster. When he leaves for the university in Ingolstadt he is healthy, of sound mind and optimistic. However, as his research continues, his mentality and appearance decline and his behavior becomes increasingly obsessive and revolting.

Frankenstein’s abnormal behaviour begins with his obsession with science. Frankenstein explains that science fueled him with an ardour unmatched by any other interest because ‘in a scientific pursuit there is continual food for discovery and wonder.’ This ‘supernatural enthusiasm’ leads to sleepless nights, spent poring over scientific tomes. Frankenstein begins to neglect his family, and, having surpassed his professors Krempe and Waldman academically, his teachers. This link between the pursuit of knowledge and isolation is one which Walton himself feels. The more Frankenstein knows, the fewer people there are who can empathise with him. This inevitably results in isolation, which leads to a loss of touch with society and, consequentially, with social norms and accepted ways of behaving.

Frankstein’s obsession in these chapters leads him to spend time...

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