Contents Index

loaded me with epithets

That it is to stop a child's naming that impels the Creature almost accidentally to kill him is significant in several ways. Most importantly, the Creature is existentially unnamed, lacking an identity that denominates a particularized selfhood and a socialized connectedness, the sort of implicit identity by which William himself immediately commands authority. It was Victor Frankenstein's initial duty as his creator to accord him that name but he fled from the responsibility. Thus, everywhere else in the novel, with Victor from his distance actively participating in the process, the Creature is identified, not by a name but through epithets, as being outside a human sphere. In a symbolic sense at least, William dies for his naming, for taking on a function only his brother has the right to perform.