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Sigmund Freud’s theory of Oedipus which primarily focuses on the human “unconscious desires” which include the idea of wanting to have sex with your parents and wanting to murder the people on sight; is paralleled with Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein”, with the character of Victor Frankenstein’s “wildest dream” and his desire to bring a corpse back to life.

Looking through the lens of Sigmund Freud to interpret the novel of “Frankenstein”, we are first brought to a crucial part in the novel, the death his relationship to his mother. Her death has a big impact on his life as he then embarks on the journey which leads him to his demise. While laying on her death he gives a description of her appearance, “the brightness of a beloved eye can have been extinguished, and the sound of a voice so familiar, and dear to the ear, can be hushed, never more to be heard.” (pg 49) A common relationship in our society is the love that a son has to his mother which is destroyed here by the death of his mother. Victor is in shock as he states that he can not believe that he will never see his mother’s eyes nor hear her voice. His attachment to his mother seems to appear as any other mother and son, however, Freud provides an alternative perspective through his theory of Oedipus. Freud asserted that the child desires to have a sexual relationship with their mother. After Caroline’s death, Victor goes on to describe his mother’s features with words such as, “brightness”, “beloved” and “dear”. He describes his mother in a majestic way, he is in shock that such beauty can be brought to an end so quickly. Victor describes her as if he were to be in love with her. The description of Caroline’s beauty can connect to Freud’s theory as we can see attraction he has for his mother. Freud states assert, “typically, the boy seeks to win his mother’s love by identifying with his father.” Nevertheless, Victor is not able to demonstrate this to his mother because his mothers die, which is why almost after the death, he begins to think about how to create the creature. Kickstarting the journey to his creation. He is creating his creature whom he hopes to have the ultimate beauty like his mother with the idea to revive his mother and assert his dominance. He makes the creature all the while, keeping in mind, the idea for a “perfect” human being, which connects to the description of his mother as he outlines that his mother having this impressive near-perfect beauty.

Victor’s dream reveals Sigmund Freud’s theory of Oedipus, after being horrified and sickened by his own creation he leaves goes to sleep. While asleep he begins to dream about his “beloved” Elizabeth whom he describes with a “bloom of health”, when thinking of the word bloom many thinks of flowers, when a flower blooms it is period of change where it is grown and fully developed and demonstrates its remarkable qualities of freshness and beauty. Victor is describing Elizabeth’s beauty and this idea of a healthy human being. He does not just focus on anything, but her physical appearance which makes him “delighted” because that is all he cares about. Further, into the dream, he goes in for a kiss but she becomes “livid with the hue of death” and he asserts that her physical appearance changed, to the point that he, “thought that I held the corpse of my dead mother in my arms”. He for so long has said that he desires Elizabeth but is thinking of kissing his mother instead of Elizabeth. Sigmund Freud’s theory of Oedipus which is are human “unconscious desires” which include the idea of wanting to have sex with your mother is clearly presented here in the novel. Upon Caroline’s death, she instructs Elizabeth to “supply my place”(pg 49) and proceeded to do so which can infer why Victor is in love with Elizabeth because he can no longer have his mother. Even though Elizabeth was supposed to take his mother’s place, his desire for his mother is unconsciously present and dominant enough to impede Elizabeth from replacing Victor’s mother, which is why the end result is Victor’s lack of interest in his dream for her. This leads him to change from kissing Elizabeth to kissing his own mother. The dream is able to give a direct access to the subconscious or to what the mind truly wants and is conflicted about. Caroline is a recurring thought in his mind as the dream is primarily focused on her. The theme of life and death in the novel is illuminated through Victor’s desire to bring a corpse back to life as he is in search of regaining his mother because of his attachment to her.

-Levit Martinez