Frankenstein is a classic novel by Mary Shelley, first published in 1818. It tells the story of Victor Frankenstein, a scientist who creates a living creature from dead body parts, but abandons it in horror.
The creature, who is rejected by everyone he meets, seeks revenge on his creator and his loved ones. The novel explores themes such as the dangers of scientific ambition, the nature of human relationships, and the consequences of isolation and alienation.
One of the most striking aspects of Frankenstein is the use of quotes, both by the narrator and the characters. Quotes can reveal the thoughts, feelings, and motivations of the speakers, as well as the influence of other sources, such as literature, philosophy, and religion.
Quotes on Frankenstein
Here are some of the most memorable quotes from Frankenstein, and what they mean.
“I am by birth a Genevese, and my family is one of the most distinguished of that republic.”
This is the first sentence of the novel, spoken by Victor Frankenstein. It establishes his background and social status, as well as his pride and arrogance. It also foreshadows his downfall, as he will lose his family and his reputation because of his experiment.
“One man’s life or death were but a small price to pay for the acquirement of the knowledge which I sought, for the dominion I should acquire and transmit over the elemental foes of our race.”
This is spoken by Robert Walton, the explorer who rescues Victor Frankenstein from the Arctic. Walton shares Frankenstein’s passion for discovery and adventure, but he also shows a disregard for human life and a desire for power. He represents the dangers of overreaching and ambition, which will also be shown by Frankenstein later.
“Learn from me, if not by my precepts, at least by my example, how dangerous is the acquirement of knowledge, and how much happier that man is who believes his native town to be the world, than he who aspires to become greater than his nature will allow.”
This is spoken by Victor Frankenstein to Robert Walton, as he warns him not to follow in his footsteps. Frankenstein regrets his pursuit of knowledge, which led him to create the creature and cause so much suffering.
He contrasts his own misery with the happiness of those who are content with their simple lives. He also implies that there are limits to human nature and that trying to surpass them is a sin.
“A new species would bless me as its creator and source; many happy and excellent natures would owe their being to me. No father could claim the gratitude of his child so completely as I should deserve theirs.”
This is spoken by Victor Frankenstein, as he describes his motivation for creating the creature. He imagines that he will be the father of a new race of beings, who will love and worship him.
He shows a god complex, as he wants to create life and be revered as a creator. He also shows a lack of foresight, as he does not consider the possible consequences of his actions or the feelings and needs of his creation.
“I ought to be thy Adam, but I am rather the fallen angel, whom thou drivest from joy for no misdeed. Everywhere I see bliss, from which I alone am irrevocably excluded. I was benevolent and good; misery made me a fiend. Make me happy, and I shall again be virtuous.”
This is spoken by the creature, as he confronts Victor Frankenstein for the first time. He compares himself to Adam, the first human created by God in the Bible, but also to Satan, the fallen angel who rebelled against God.
He expresses his loneliness and despair, as he sees happiness everywhere but cannot experience it himself. He also blames Frankenstein for his misery and asks him to make him happy by creating a female companion for him.
He claims that he was good by nature, but became evil because of his circumstances. He suggests that happiness and virtue are linked and that he can be redeemed if he is loved.