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Brittany Thompson

February 17, 2008


The Innocent Power of Destruction

Since the beginning of time, water has been a source of utmost power. In the Bible’s book of Genesis, the story of creation is told. On the third day, God is said to part the waters to give life to men, animals, and vegetation inhabiting the land. This is similar to how Victor Frankenstein gives life to his monster. Later in Genesis, God approaches Noah, who is a righteous man of God. He tells Noah to build an Ark because he intends to flood the Earth to rid it of the evil and corruption. The Bible, written over 3,000 years ago shows the ability and power of water to transcend time. This allusion shows the power which water can have. In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, she relates water to her main character, Victor Frankenstein. He gave life to a monster with innocent intentions, yet the monster goes on to kill and destroy. In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Victor Frankenstein’s actions symbolically relate to water and the antithesis in which it not only creates, but also destroys life.

In the novel, Victor creates a monster with pure intentions. Before the story of the life of the monster is told from the monster’s point of view, Victor recollects to Robert Walton about his journey to meet the monster. He explains the journey to the mountain to speak with the monster. Along his journey he experiences the sound of the river raging among the rocks, and the dashing of waterfalls around, which expressed to him that water has the power of omnipotence (Shelley, 81). This expression of the archetype of water reoccurs throughout the novel. This becomes the basis of the inference that water will be a prevalent source of power not only in the novel, but also in major aspects of every day life. Victor’s actions show that although his intentions may have been pure, the results of his actions proved to be a deadly force. When the monster comes to life, it is raining (Shelley, 43). Victor holds power to give life, just as water does. This is a representation of the archetype, water. By water being present while the creature comes to life, it foreshadows the effects that Victor’s actions will have. Later, after parting with the monster that night, Victor comes home to find out his brother has been murdered. Eventually, Victor realizes it is the monster that has murdered his dear brother. He believes that no human would have the ability to murder such a good man. He comes to have no doubts about who the true murderer is (Shelley, 63). By the monster murdering Victor’s brother, this shows that Victor’s actions also caused destruction, and the deprivation of life. Water, just like Victor’s actions, has the power not only to create, but also to take life away.

The monster is another example of the archetype of water being executed throughout the novel. Victor left the monster on his own to figure out life. This left the monsters not only confused, but also without any sense of right or wrong. He tries to tell Victor of his travels and his life, but Victor does not seem to care. The monster lives his life with innocent intentions, but causes many bad things to happen. By being created by Victor, the monster is directly related to Victor’s actions. The monster was able to give life to his language and speech by watching a family in the village he lived in communicate. He vows to himself to acquaint himself with this method of communication and gives life to speech (Shelley, 100). Though he may seem to be innocent and pure, he does not grasp the concept of life or society. He is also not physically attractive, which causes people to reject him. He is lonely, and therefor seems to lash out at people. By lashing out at people, he causes destruction and death, such as William's murder. The monster goes on to wield the power of killing more of Victor’s companions. He tells Victor at the summit of Montanvert, “If you will comply with my conditions, I will leave them and you at peace; but if you refuse, I will glut the maw of death, until it be satiated with the blood of your remaining friends.” (Shelley, 87) This shows that the monster has the threat of the ability to kill many people, just as water does. The monsters only



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