The final two paragraphs of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein are packed full of detail and life. The creature in his final moments shares his plans for suicide as well as his emotional state in a few sentences. The way in which he presents himself on its own has an incredible amount of meaning. The creature’s “body language” speaks volumes to why his ending statements are framed in the way they are.

Mary Shelley writes, “He [Frankenstein] cried, with sad and solemn enthusiasm,” (Shelley 189). This statement poses an interesting paradox that opens a window into the soul of the monster. A strong statement is made just by paying attention to the wording of the phrase, “…with sad and solemn enthusiasm”. The definitions of sad and enthusiasm are nearly complete opposites yet the word sad accompanied by solemn are used to describe an enthusiastic cry from the creature. This creates a paradox that has not always been observed but plays a key role in the last two paragraphs.


According to the new style of critical thinking, paradoxes should be explained in the text. Mary Shelley is quick to do just that as she writes the dialogue of the creature. The creature states, “I shall die, and what I now feel be no longer felt. Soon these burning miseries will be extinct” (189). From these lines, it becomes apparent why the monster cries with sad and solemn enthusiasm. The enthusiasm stems from the fact that his emotional struggles are coming to an end. The creature is enthusiastic to finally be able to escape from his emotional weight. The sad tone in his voice however is an indication of several things. First off, the creature is about to kill himself. There is no joy in this suicide and he has decided to choose what he sees as a fitting death by fire. Secondly, these final words are spoken as the creature stands over his creator’s dead body. He says these things in sadness because not only is his creator dead mostly due to him, but many others have perished under his hand. The monster chooses an interesting term, conflagration, for the flame he is about to extinguish. A conflagration is a destructive fire and I believe that the monster realizes that not only is he extinguishing the conflagration that is his emotions, but he is literally extinguishing himself, the destroyer of many lives. His mood comes from the fact that he is ending all the destruction which is good, yet he was the cause of the distraction so he is in essence, ending himself. This would put the creature in a sad, solemn yet enthusiastic mood which, due to its placement in the story, sets the tone for the entire book.