Tania De Lira-Miranda


While attending to Elizabeth, who had been infected by scarlet fever, Victor’s mother catches the diseases and dies in her bed, though not without Victor and Elizabeth by her side. “I regret that I am taken from you; and, happy and beloved as I have been, is it not hard to quit you all… I will endeavour to resign myself cheerfully to death and will indulge a hope of meeting you in another world.” (49) Caroline tells the two before passing away peacefully. While Victor claims that the reason he wants to create a new human race because it would benefit humankind, the actual reasons seems to be pride; he wants to be the one who finds a way to cheat death. “A new species would bless me as its creator and source; many happy and excellent natures would owe their being to me… I thought that if I could bestow animation upon lifeless matter, I might in process of time (although I now found it impossible) renew life where death had apparently devoted the body to corruption.” (57) But looking at the dream Victor has in page 60, it seems that his mom, and possible his desires for her, is part of the reason why he actually wanted to reanimate a corpse.

In the beginning, Victor’s dream seems to start off with no weirdness in sight. Afterall all he sees is “Elizabeth, in the bloom of health, walking in the streets of Ingolstadt” (60) and it is after this that his dream begins to do a 180. He hugs dream Elizabeth and as he gives her a kiss on the lips, “[her lips] became livid with the hue of death; her features appeared to change, and I thought that I held the corpse of my dead mother in my arms.” (60) It is when worms appear in his mother’s body that he suddenly awakens in a cold sweat. An obvious thing to point out about the dream is that while Victor is kissing Elizabeth, his mother suddenly appears in the latter’s place and seeing as Elizabeth is his love interest, it can be assumed that the reason for this switcheroo would be because subconsciously, Victor has romantic feelings for his mother and that this relates to Freud’s idea of return of the repressed, which Parker describes as “repressed drives [that] can pop back up in the form of neurotic symptoms, disguised representation of unconscious desire.” (120, second edition). His (repressed) desire for his mother came out while he was dreaming (unconscious). As it was partly due to his mother that Elizabeth became a part of the Frankenstein family, and later Victor’s fiancée,  there was no wonder why, in his dream, Elizabeth turned into his mother. Although, Victor continues to try to repress this desire as when he wakes up “with horror; a cold dew covered my forehead, my teeth chattered, and every limb became convulsed” (60). Instead of recognizing that he desires his mother, he tries to play it off as a bad dream instead of a sign that he has romantic feelings for her.

In the novel, it is in chapter 3 that Victor’s mother dies, chapter 4 is where he gets the idea to reanimate a corpse and it is in chapter 5 that he actually does so. It is said explicitly by Victor himself that the reason he wants to be able to bring the dead back to life is so that death can be cheated and it is implied that the reason he wants to cheat death is that he can bring his mother back to life and be with her once more.