Spoken entirely in the future tense, the monster’s final statement is, effectually, anything but final. Instead of offering readers a sense of resolution, his concluding speech details what he “shall” do and what “will” be, suspending the end of the novel in a state of uncertainty.

The victorious language with which the monster describes how he “shall ascend my funeral pile triumphantly, and exult in the agony” further enhances the uneasiness surrounding his departure. His “sad and solemn enthusiasm” defies any previous expectations of his defeated, hopeless position. Instead, his words evoke the image of early Christian martyrs, who, out of religious devotion, approached their deaths with a similarly “solemn enthusiasm.” Drawing such a comparison between the monster and persecuted religious figures, Mary Shelley leaves her readers to consider his ambiguous role as both a criminal and a victim.

Despite the violent images of “torturing flames” and “that conflagration,” the monster maintains an unexpected dignity through his calm certainty that “what I now feel be no longer felt….my spirit will sleep in peace.” The description of his own destruction with such a solemnly resigned tone in fact reflects the opposing tendencies of his character: at once a hideous, violent monster and a being capable of feeling compassion for his maker and “bitterest remorse” (189) for those horrendous deeds.

Shelley extends the religious symbolism by referencing the sacred cycle of life and death with the images of “light… [that] will fade away” and “ashes…swept into the sea by the wind.” By including himself in this process of natural decay, the monster makes a final, subtle appeal to his humanity.

Even with his resolute and firm “farewell,” the monster’s departure, “borne away by the waves…lost in darkness and distance,” retains an unresolved aspect, as “darkness and distance” are purposefully indefinite measures. The concluding effect for readers is an uneasy, and unanswered, reflection on the monster’s sacrificial death, professed humanity, and his possible continuation in that “darkness and distance.”

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