Frankenstein

by: Mary Shelley

Tone

The tone of Frankenstein is largely bleak and despairing. The tone begins with optimism from the perspective of Captain Walton who is excited and hopeful about his Arctic voyage. The mood, however, quickly darkens with the appearance of Victor, who is in a dangerous condition, and who makes it clear at the start of his story that “nothing can alter my destiny.” The entire narrative is framed by a fatalistic acceptance that the end of the story will be tragic. This framing casts a dark shadow over the potentially positive account of Victor’s happy childhood and intellectual pursuits. The conclusion of the novel contributes most strongly to the tone of futility. By the time he has finished recounting his story, Victor is hopeless and waiting only to die. He considers his entire career and life to have been a tragic failure that resulted only in death and suffering. After the failure of Walton’s expedition, he too is forced to accept that he will not fulfill his ambitions and will have to return to England full of regret and disappointment.