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real insanity possessed me

It is easy to overlook the weight of this statement, but "real" should be given its due meaning. Following the accounts of Victor's attempted suicide (3.4.10) and his father's questioning earlier in this chapter whether his son was not actually mad, (3.5.2) these symptoms, an alteration between violent rage and withdrawn lethargy, point to a serious manic-depressive condition. For Elizabeth this has to be extraordinarily trying: the depressed state Victor was in when he had left her, both upon undertaking the excursion to Chamounix (2.1.4, 2.1.5) and in the aftermath of his encounter with the Creature (3.1.1), had been serious enough, but the extremity into which it has developed hardly bodes well for her future with him. Even so, Elizabeth reverts to her characteristic vocation of nurse.