Storms in Frankenstein

The language of nature is particularly prevalent throughout Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. Though these descriptions of nature are often just the passing thoughts of Victor, sometimes certain natural themes are used for a specific purpose. Throughout Frankenstein, storms are used to foreshadow the terrible events that are soon to come in the life of Victor Frankenstein.

The first two storms described in the book foreshadow terrible events in that they transform Victor’s life in ways that eventually come back to haunt him. The initial storm is when Victor witnesses the oak tree being electrocuted by a strike of lightning. This storm leads to Victor pouring himself into the study of science and looking into galvanism. These studies lead to Victor’s scientific pursuits at Ingolstadt, and therefore to his creation of the creature which is eventually horrific for Victor. The next storm immediately precedes the scene in which the creature is given life. Though Victor is looking forward to the successful animation of his creation, the life he gives to the creature turns what he thought was a masterpiece into his worst nightmare.

After Victor finds out that his brother William was murdered, he hurriedly travels back to Switzerland. On his way home, when he is nearing Geneva, a storm passes through the mountains and thunders around Victor as he mourns for his late brother. As the storm is reaching its peak, it sends down a strike of lightning that illuminates the creature for Victor to see. This leads Victor to make the connection of the creature’s coincidental presence to the recent murder of his brother, and drive him to hate the creature (and himself for giving the creature life) even more ardently. When Victor wanders to Chamounix and Montavert in an attempt to get over the contempt he feels toward himself after the deaths of William and Justine, he encounters yet another storm as he is ascending the  mountain. When he reaches the summit, he encounters the creature who then tells Victor his life story and asks him to make him a female companion which leads Victor into a state of depression and disgust for himself until he destroys this new creation.

The next couple storms foreshadow the deaths of Victor’s closest companions. The first of these hits when Victor leaves Scotland to attempt to reunite with Henry Clerval. This storm takes him all the way to Ireland where yet another misfortune befalls him. He survives the terrible storm only to find Henry murdered by his creation.The next storm brought tragedy in the death of Victor’s bride and lifelong friend, Elizabeth. The storm starts right before Victor tells Elizabeth to go to sleep in the very room she is murdered in minutes later.

The last storm in the book occurs when Victor is chasing the creature through the arctic. Just as Victor is closing in on him, a storm hits and breaks up the ice and Victor loses his last chance for revenge. This storm leads to his debilitation and sickness which eventually leads to his death upon Walton’s ship. Though these storms could have all been coincidental, the continual placement of their descriptions show an undeniable connection to the terrible events in the life of Victor Frankenstein.

One thought on “Storms in Frankenstein

  1. Pingback: Storm Symbolism (11 Meanings in Literature & Dreams)

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