“I could not collect the courage to recommence my work.”
Whereas previously, Frankenstein had loved his scientific pursuits, he now loathes them.
“to me the idea of an immediate union with my Elizabeth was one of horror and dismay.”
This quote links in with the idea that Frankenstein is afraid of both females and sexuality. He usurps women earlier in the novel by creating a new life without the normal process of birth (through a woman). He leaves Elizabeth on their wedding night, possibly suggesting a fear of intimacy. Or, it could simply be that Frankenstein really does love Elizabeth but is afraid that the creature will target either one or both of them and the marriage will be short lived. It is interesting to note that he still calls Elizabeth: “my Elizabeth”, suggesting he still feels as if he possesses her, an idea which first arose in Chapter One of Volume One.
“…that resembled madness in its intensity and effects.”
This quote is Victor talking about the depth of his melancholy. He is admitting here that he seems like a madman to others…a theme which runs throughout the book. E.g. “Do you also share my madness?” (Letter 4 Volume 1)
“The scenery of external nature, which others regard only with admiration, he loved with ardour.”
This demonstrates Clerval’s romantic nature. He is used as a plot device by Shelley to build up tension before his death in Chapter 4 of this volume.
“Company was irksome to me.”
Here we find proof, again, of Victor’s isolation socially. Isolation is a typical gothic convention, so it is not surprising that Shelley uses it through one of the main characters in the book. (Compare with Volume 1, Chapter 3 – “I believed myself totally unfitted for the company of strangers.”)
“In Clerval I saw the image of my former self.”
Are Frankenstein and Clerval Doppelgangers? Clerval is similar to Frankenstein in that he is eager to acquire knowledge, but the key difference is the type of knowledge he wishes to acquire. Clerval is interested in languages, literature and arts, whereas Frankenstein is interested in science. Shelley may be criticising the study of science through Frankenstein’s utter downfall, whilst Clerval is currently prospering and happy.
“But I am a blasted tree.”
The image of a blasted tree from Volume One, Chapter Two, reappears here. Frankenstein recognises that he is that same tree, which had been struck by lightning. Bit by bit, his life is being destroyed.
“For an instant I dared to shake off my chains.”
The word “chains” suggests that science is now restricting him. There is a sense of foreboding about this sentence, as the last time Frankenstein stopped being wary, William was killed.
“On the whole island there were but three miserable huts.”
Frankenstein ends up living in one of these “huts”. The creature also…