Who’s Story Is It Anyway?

In Shelley’s Frankenstein, the reader is constantly being fed plot points from many different perspectives and instances of storytelling. All these different stories offer individuals parts of a greater storyline. The problem for the reader to distinguish is who’s story do we believe? Perspective in Frankenstein all lend a piece of the overall story to the reader, like evidence, which leaves it up to the reader to decide who is truthful, who is guilty, and who is good.

Beginning and ending with Walton’s point of view could be seen by the reader as the “creator’s” story. Besides the obvious allusion to God, the alpha and omega, Walton also is offering the only uninvolved perspective of the stories he’s heard. This frame tale I think shows the how the warnings from Victor and the Monster’s stories become important. Much like when God realized the downfall of his creation, Walton is sufficiently warned by his encounter with he Monster at the conclusion of this story that knowledge is in fact dangerous. This is, of course, only one part of the overall story.

Walton’s record of Victor’s story offers only pieces of the puzzle. For example, Victor did not witness the death of his brother so we must get those details from the Monster’s story, told through Victor. Each perspective offers more pieces and more clarity until the climax is reached and Walton encounters the monster. This is where we get one of the final pieces of the puzzle. The monster feels empty without his creator and runs away to die (does he actually die though? That elusive missing puzzle piece.) This calls back into question, who is responsible?

Shelley’s different perspective act like different pieces of evidence. Going with the theme of pursuing scientific discovery, each person’s story gives us a little more evidence for the truth and a little more understanding of each character. Shelley’s creative delivery of the story of Frankenstein has the reader picking parts from each narrative that fit the puzzle and offer the most truthful explanations but also leave some of the ending open for the reader to finish completely.

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