Contents Index

my mad schemes are the cause

The notion of madness, encountered frequently in the late chapters of the novel, has been associated almost entirely with Victor Frankenstein's disturbed mental state. This small shift in rhetoric for the 1831 edition, coming as it does eight paragraphs after Victor's impassioned questioning of Walton's naive desire to know "the particulars of his creature's formation" ("Are you mad, my friend . . . ?" -- see Walton 1 and note), suggests that, for this novel, madness may be less a matter of actual derangement than it is a kind of violation of accepted codes of social conduct whereby the individual becomes isolated from the community and communal obligations. Its closest synonymn might then be "solipsism," which is an issue with deep roots within Romanticism and one that is stressed in these final pages of Frankenstein.