Mary and Percy Shelley were a couple so in love that they ran away together, valuing each other over their families and lives in London. They actively encouraged each other’s writing and it was in fact, Percy Shelley who urged Mary to develop Frankenstein beyond the short story it was initially intended to be. Just taking this into account, it isn’t too far a stretch to think that they must have had significant influences on each other’s writing, but on top of this, they each edited and gave input on each other’s works. So it isn’t surprising that Mary Shelley drew on her husband’s poetry in her Frankenstein, to the extent that she basically rewrote bits of the poems in places.

The passages on page 74 beginning “The road ran…” and ending “…destined to endure” are extremely reminiscent of the poem ‘On Mutability’. The poem is about how changeable and ephemeral humans are, in terms of their lifespans as well as the volatile character of their emotions, and this idea is demonstrated in the passage. To begin with, the poem gives a sense of constant movement with words like “speed”. “quiver”, “motion” and “wandering”, while the same sense is rendered in the passage by the phrase “as I drew near home” and the fact that he is traveling the entire time. The last two stanzas of the poem deal with the transitory nature of human emotions, and this can be observed in how Victor’s emotions are jumping from “delight” and “pleasure” to “grief and fear” in a moment. A major concept is also how we never react in the same way to something, when it happens for the second time, which is seen in the lines “Give various response to each varying blast” and “No second motion brings/One mood or modulation like the last”. This is encapsulated in how Victor’s response to his surroundings changes, where first he is rejoicing in the “Dear mountains!”with their “clear” and “bright summit[s]”, that he can see outside, and then later he sees the mountains as “dark” and a “vast and dim scene of evil” which inspires gloom. Additionally this scene that he sees replaces the pleasure he was feeling with despondency, much in that same way that Shelley says “One wandering thought pollutes the day”.

The novel in fact uses an almost exact quote from the poem in the line “Night also closed around”, which should be compared to the poem’s “Night closes round”. The phrasing is a little odd because it gives an a image of Night capturing or enveloping its victim, but this is probably because the personified Night seems to also be a metaphor for death. In the poem the line appears to speak of the fleeting life that humans lead and how death finds them so “soon” and then “they are lost forever”. Victor rewrites this when he talks of the future he sees for himself, where he changes and becomes the “most wretched of human beings”, and so is going to die a certain death, or more specifically his present self is going to be “lost forever”. The idea that everyday humans die a death, as they change, by “One sudden and desolating change” or “a thousand little circumstances that might have by degrees worked other alteration”(Frankenstein, 74), and become someone new each time, is the indistinguishable from the concept in ‘On Mutabililty’ and so, to put this in Percy Shelley’s words, “Man’s yesterday may ne’er be like his morrow”. This transitory nature of humans, where everyday who they were dies as they become someone new, however small the degree of difference, is probably why the Creature is unable to fathom their actions, and how they can be so kind and gentle sometimes and so harsh and unforgiving others. This is why he gives up on humans, and seeks a companion of his own species, a major driver of the plot.

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