Frankenstein Chapter 5: Analysis

Frankenstein Chapter 5: Analysis
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In chapter 5 of the book Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, Frankenstein finally succeeds in his creation and puts life into the being that he had created. The account of the monster in this chapter is what can be seen from the eyes of his creator and master. The change in expression and feelings of Frankenstein is an explanation that he is not satisfied with his result. He accepts his failure and his attempt to play as God and create a physically perfect being has been unsuccessful.

The monster is presented in this chapter as a horrible beast that cannot be even looked at. The monster presents a dreadful sight that even his creator Frankenstein cannot stand. He himself is afraid of the monster and wants to get rid of him. Frankenstein explains that the monster’s appearance becomes even more difficult to see when he starts walking and moving. His sight is explained to be one that no one could see. The monster is explained to be very inhuman and a being that could be very harmful even to its own inventor who brought him into existence with so much of hard work.  The monster is ugly with skin which is yellow and the skin is unable to cover the work that had been done in making the monster. He has uneven features with a dried face and black lips which make him appear dreadful. This presentation of the monster by his own creator explains his disappointment and that his attempt to advance in science and technology has crashed. Frankenstein had created a mortal but he had not been able to cover the marks and his lack of perfection can be seen from the fact that the disintegrations in the features of the monster were obvious. The monster appears to be even worse than a mummy who has been given life. When the monster comes to life and goes to Frankenstein, it appears that he wants to harm him. Thus the monster appears like a harmful creation that could be dangerous for human beings as it seems that he wanted to attack Frankenstein and that his own creation did not present with loyalty to its master. The drive of Frankenstein to go against all odds and boundaries of religion had made him do this work but after its completion, he had realized that he had not achieved what he had wanted. Thus this chapter presents the monster as a horrible creature and a disastrous invention by Frankenstein which he greatly regrets to an extent that it drives him ill.

This view is considerably changed in chapters 11 and 12 of the book. The monster states his development which is similar to that of a child who is born. He is abandoned and left alone and he learns everything about human life and senses all by himself. He has to live a life full of hardships and difficulties despite the fact that he has done no wrong. The monster appears to be a very kind-hearted being. He is new to this world and his actions are similar to a newborn child who does not know anything about the world. Though it is true that the monster is ugly and he is not liked by the people who see him, he is not dangerous and harmful to the people around him. He wants company for himself like any other being and he feels greatly attached to the family which lives in the cottage. He does not know how to communicate and nor does he understand the meaning of emotions which are all new to him. But he learns and grasps things from the family who lives in the cottage. He learns how to talk from them. Like a child, he feels happy to observe new things and tries to learn and absorb what he sees. He gets really attached to them though he does not talk o them. But just to communicate and get close to them he starts learning the language so that one day he can go and present himself to them. He is a very kind-hearted and loving creature. This can be seen when he stops stealing food from them when he realizes that they are very poor and he starts his search for food again. He feels sad when the people he likes are sad and he is happy in their happiness. He tries to help them in every possible manner. He does the jobs of the youth Felix like bringing wood for them and keeping it in their pile so that Felix would not have to go out every day to get wood for heir fire. He cleans the snow for them as well. But he clearly understands by then that he does not possess a good appearance and hence he does not show himself to the people of the cottage. This is because he fears rejection.

Thus chapter 5 is actually an account given by Frankenstein himself about his creation that is the monster. He explains his outward appearance which is ugly and he presents the monster as a horrifying creature which is very dangerous. This chapter explains that his drive against nature to create a life by himself has proven no good to him and in the later chapters we see that even the monster has to suffer because of this. This chapter explains that everyone has his own purpose and does something beyond your approach and area of expertise could yield a result that would be harmful to all. Chapters 11 and 12 actually present an account of the monster himself about his life. The monster is like an infant who is left alone and longs for company and he can be sympathized with because he is not responsible for what he has landed into. It was in fact the dream of his creator and he had abandoned his dream upon completion. Thus this left the monster with nowhere to go.  The creature possesses an ugly external appearance but on the inside, he is like any other ordinary being that has feelings and is very sensitive. 

In chapter 5, Mary Shelley uses language in a perfect manner which engages the readers and provides them with a perfect understanding of the scene that is going on and events that have already taken place. She structures the chapter in a perfect manner starting with the fear that fills Frankenstein. “How can I describe my emotions at this catastrophe, or how delineate the wretch whom with such infinite pains and care I had endeavored to form?” Using these lines she integrates the change of feelings that Frankenstein was experiencing. An experiment that meant everything to him before was something that he considered disastrous now.  She explains the outward appearance of the monster in an intriguing manner which seems very real.” His yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath; his hair was of a lustrous black, and flowing; his teeth of a pearly whiteness; but these luxuriances only formed a more horrid contrast with his watery eyes, that seemed almost of the same color as the dun white sockets in which they were set, his shriveled complexion and straight black lips.” In these lines, she is presenting the outward appearance of the monster in a realistic manner. These lines are explaining the failure of Frankenstein to play a role as God because it is only Him who can create perfect beings.  Her language in these lines portrays that Frankenstein has used different body parts and combined them to form a structure and though he has created a being he has not been able to hide the scars within. “Oh! no mortal could support the horror of that countenance. A mummy again endued with animation could not be so hideous as that wretch. ” This is to explain to the reader that the monster is so horrible that even his creator regrets his creation and he himself is scared of it. The presentation of the external look of the monster is combined with the fear and regret of Frankenstein in an interconnecting manner.  She uses excellent skills to present the illness of Frankenstein which she presents initially by his anxious behavior and inability to sleep by framing the words with Frankenstein’s own account, “I passed the night wretchedly. Sometimes my pulse beat so quickly and hardly that I felt the palpitation of every artery; at others, I nearly sank to the ground through languor and extreme weakness.”  In a sequence, she then portrays his illness with his behavior which is noticed by Henry Clerval to convince the reader that something is wrong with Frankenstein which his friend notices on first sight when he says “I did not before remark how very ill you appear; so thin and pale; you look as if you had been watching for several nights.” To create a dreadful picture of the monster she presents the shivering which is experienced by Frankenstein even when after he gets well and Henry Clerval is about to ask him something and thoughts start to pour into Frankenstein’s mind that he might be questioned about the monster. His feeling is explained in an intriguing manner when Frankenstein thinks and expresses his fright in his own words, ”I trembled. One subject! what could it be? Could he allude to an object on whom I dared not even think? ” Mary Shelley has hence used language to interweave the events and occurrences in the chapter while relating the past with the present so that the events seem to run very smoothly and convinces the reader.


Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft, and J. Anderson.Frankenstein. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1979.