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Frankenstein

Mary Shelley
Main Ideas

Metaphors and Similes

Main Ideas Metaphors and Similes

Chapter 2

The saintly soul of Elizabeth shone like a shrine-dedicated lamp in our peaceful home.  

In this simile, Victor compares Elizabeth’s presence to the light of a lamp in a shrine, suggesting she projected an air of holiness wherever she went. 

Chapter 3

. . .one by one the various keys were touched which formed the mechanism of my being; chord after chord was sounded, and soon my mind was filled with one thought, one conception, one purpose. 

As Victor listens to Professor M. Waldman’s lecture, he compares himself to a piano on which the professor plays musical chords, his various ideas harmonizing to form a singular composition in Victor’s mind.  

Chapter 7

. . .vivid flashes of lightning dazzled my eyes, illuminating the lake, making it appear like a vast sheet of fire;…. 

 

As Victor walks toward home at night through the countryside, he compares the way the lake looks in a lightning storm to a huge patch of flames. 

Chapter 8

But I, the true murderer, felt the never-dying worm alive in my bosom, which allowed of no hope or consolation. 

In the presence of innocent Justine, Victor’s guilt is a “worm” in his chest that eats away at him endlessly.  

Chapter 9

I feel as if I were walking on the edge of a precipice, towards which thousands are crowding and endeavouring to plunge me into the abyss.

In this simile, Elizabeth compares the peer pressure to condemn Justine, whom she believes to be innocent, to being pushed toward a cliff by thousands of people. 

Chapter 11

I began also to observe, with greater accuracy, the forms that surrounded me and to perceive the boundaries of the radiant roof of light which canopied me.

As the monster explains how the world gradually came into focus after he was created, he compares the sky to a roof made of light.

Chapter 15

Like Adam, I was apparently united by no link to any other being in existence . . .

After reading Paradise Lost, the monster likens himself to Adam, who was the only one of his kind before God made Eve to be his companion.

Chapter 21

Of what materials was I made that I could thus resist so many shocks, which, like the turning of the wheel, continually renewed the torture?

Victor likens his emotional suffering after Henry Clerval’s death to being tortured on the wheel, a Medieval device used to slowly break the bodies of the condemned.

Chapter 22

Sweet and beloved Elizabeth! I read and reread her letter, and some softened feelings stole into my heart and dared to whisper paradisiacal dreams of love and joy; but the apple was already eaten, and the angel's arm bared to drive me from all hope.

In this metaphor, Victor compares marrying Elizabeth to a paradise from which he will be driven out like Adam and Eve after they ate the forbidden fruit.

Chapter 24

Even the sailors feel the power of his eloquence; when he speaks, they no longer despair; he rouses their energies, and while they hear his voice they believe these vast mountains of ice are mole-hills which will vanish before the resolutions of man.

In this metaphor, Walton explains that Victor is so motivational for the worried sailors that when he speaks, they believe they can overcome the Arctic “mountains of ice" as if they were mere "mole-hills.”