Contents Index

our domestic circle

Here Mary Shelley introduces another theme that will continually surface through the course of the novel, what Percy Bysshe Shelley in his preface to the first edition termed "the amiableness of domestic affection" (Preface 2). Later, when Victor must confront how far as a student he strayed from bring content in his family circle, he will inveigh against his folly and even link it politically to the imperialistic exploitation of unoffending innocent peoples (1.3.8). As with a number of elements in this novel, however, the further one pursues the central value of the domestic affections in Frankenstein, the more ambivalent appears their representation. For example, there is no small irony in the fact that what makes Victor Frankenstein and Robert Walton interesting as characters and helps to bond their friendship is their inability to find satisfaction within such narrow limits of endeavor. And the same might be said in 1816 for the unsanctioned alliance of Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin and Percy Bysshe Shelley.