The moon

The moon is an important symbol in Frankenstein. Mary Shelley frequently uses personification in her descriptions of the moon, suggesting that it is a powerful force in the story. Frankenstein’s unnatural work on the creature is carried on at night, by the light of the moon: “the moon gazed on my midnight labours, while […] I pursued nature to her hiding-places.” (p. 55). Here, the moon symbolizes the secrecy and abnormality of Frankenstein’s investigations.

After the creature has been brought to life, the moon becomes a symbol of the creature’s presence: “by the dim and yellow light of the moon, as it forced its way through the window shutters, I beheld the wretch.” (p. 59). The moon repeatedly foreshadows the arrival of the creature. For example: “I trembled, and my heart failed within me, when, on looking up, I saw, by the light of the moon, the daemon at the casement.” (p. 171) 

The creature’s murder of Elizabeth is also foreshadowed by a description of how “the moon had reached her summit” (p. 198). This also suggests that the narrative is coming to its “summit”. Whereas Frankenstein creates life by moonlight, the creature destroys life by moonlight. The symbolism of the moon links them together.

It is also possible that the strong association between the creature and the moon is a symbol of Frankenstein going mad. In the 19th century, mental instability was thought by some to b...

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