Contents Index

I should make use of the same instructions to the same end

The crucial place of language in the Creature's education and in his growing sense of identity is a significant sign of the importance Mary Shelley attaches to it as a professional writer and, however herself inexperienced at the age she began the novel, as the child, wife, and associate of other major authors of the age. And yet it is always shadowed by the dark irony of another "monster" accorded the use of language, Shakespeare's Caliban, who tells Miranda: "You taught me language, and my profit on't/ Is, I know how to curse" (The Tempest, I.ii.363-64).