In Foster’s Chapter, When in Doubt, It’s From Shakespeare, he discusses how many authors borrow from Shakespeare’s work since it was so cleaver and legendary. He explains by borrowing from such a talented writer can make their work more detailed, meaningful, and creative. He also suggests that the readers should look for any references from Shakespeare’s plays to enhance their understanding of the text. In Frankenstein, there is a connection to the Shakespeare play, The Tempest. In The Tempest, two characters relate to Victor and the monster in Frankenstein.
In The Tempest, there is Caliban, which is a half human and half monster, so that character relates most to the monster and there is Sycorax, which is Caliban’s creator so that character mostly relates to Victor. Both monsters had to face fates and in Frankenstein the monster recalls the saying, All men hate the wretched; how then, must I be hated, whom am miserable beyond all living things! Yet you, my creator, detest and spurn me, thy creature, to whom thou art bound by ties only dissoluble by the annihilation of one of us. (Shelley 81). Caliban is essentially considered like an ancestor type of monster, while the monster in Frankenstein was more of an accident created by an eager scientist wanting to advance scientific knowledge.
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In Foster’s Chapter, Geography Matters, he discusses how authors have to choose a place for their story to be set in. Authors do not choose a random setting; they usually use a specific setting that accompanies what their story is about. Generally, geography refers to objects such as rivers, hills, and trees but in literature, it can also be referred to as the industry, attitude, or psychology of a text. It can be in any element like a theme or symbol. Frankenstein is set in the North, which Victor describes as, the snows thickened and the cold increased in a degree almost too severe to support (Shelley 182).
The North symbolizes distance from society and distance for one being in tune with their emotions. Victor becomes more distant from everyone, including his family and friends, once he created the monster. He even strays himself away from human qualities by lacking emotions. Victor even stated, Company was irksome to me But busy, uninteresting faces brought back despair to my heart (Shelley 137). This further shows Victor distancing himself from people, which is why the North was the perfect setting since that is also associated with isolation.
In Foster’s Chapter, So Does Season, he discusses how each season has its own significance. For instance, winter is seen as the season of death because of events that happen during it such as hibernation, extremely cold temperatures, and lack of growth. Spring is seen as the season of happiness, growth, life, and resurrection. Summer is seen as the season of youth. Fall is seen as the season that serves as a slowly approaching winter and that is when harvest begins to happen. In literature, authors tend to use irony when implementing the seasons into their writing.
In Frankenstein, a little boy named William was killed during spring, which is supposed to be a month of happiness and life, so his death is ironic, and is looked at as a premature death. Ironically, the monster is brought to life in the winter on a dreary night of November which is supposed to be a month of death (Shelley 42). This was forbidden since they knew that winter was a season of death and that bad was to come if life was brought about during that time. However, Victor became cured mentally for a brief amount of time by the divine spring that came after winter (Shelley 47).
For the monster’s first few years of life, he was trying to get use to this new world and was very curious and observant of the seasons. As he continued to do that, that is when he realized each season has significance to it. He began to see that winter killed nature due to the extremely cold temperatures and it also caused human life to struggle. In contrast, when spring came, he felt happiness and joy and would proclaim that the Earth fit habitation for gods (Shelley 96). Due to the monster’s observations and feelings towards the seasons, it eventually brought about the process of the life cycle, which is birth, death, and resurrection. Ultimately, it can be implied that Shelley uses the significance behind seasons in Frankenstein to prove that nature has all the answers to life.
In Foster’s Chapter, Marked For Greatness, he suggests that a physical mark may be on the outside of a character but it can signify an emotional, psychological, or moral scar they have on the inside. Not on living species can have these scars but so can places and landscapes. A physical scar can also represent emotional scars due to the environment one is surrounded in. The monster is scary looking and deformed on the outside to the point society exiles him, but he has a good heart, which shows irony since his human creator is perfectly normal on the outside but is completely dead and oblivious on the inside.
Even though it is stated that the monster’s yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath, that was just on the outside, which made him a monster, but on the inside, he was good and just wanted to be accepted (Shelley 35). Victor further described this monster he created as having watery eyes similar to his dun-white sockets. He also says the monster had a shriveled complexion and straight black lips (Shelley 43). These descriptions of the monster show why the humans feared and resented him, but it also shows a flaw in society on how people aren’t accepting of people that are deformed or different from them.
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