Samantha Shapiro

Victor’s “wildest dream” invokes a connotation of disgust and repression from a long-held desire to “infuse life into an inanimate body,” which is seen with the usage of a “double” and a sort of “return of the repressed.” This dream, where Victor embraces and kisses Elizabeth, his cousin/sister figure, only for her to turn into “the corpse of [his] dead mother,” highlights this Oedipal desire for a mother-like substitute, but in a markedly different manner—in his own awareness from his dreams, he brings to light something meant to stay unconscious and ends up rejecting and repressing it. This repression establishes the theme of Victor’s horrible treatment of his creation, as he uses it as a “double,” and his dread from “repression into morbid anxiety” establishes the uncanny within Frankenstein (The Uncanny 429).

The burial “shroud”

The readers are able to interpret Victor Frankenstein’s repression from his own view of his dreams. Frankenstein had dedicated two years to “the sole purpose of infusing life into an inanimate body,” but after having finished, the “beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled [his] heart” (Frankenstein 60). This begins to establish the obsessive nature Victor had originally created, and later goes to become connected to his mother to his dreams, through establishing a “double.” A double, in this instance, refers to an individual “doubling, dividing, and interchanging the self” through the substitution of the foreign, identical self with the individual’s own self (TU 425).

The wedding “shroud,” the “bloom of health” and the “miserable monster whom I had created”

 This double is established seemingly in both Elizabeth, “in the bloom of health,” and his mother’s corpse to attempting to make his desires come to fruition with the creation—in the process of his dream conflating the two with intimate touch, something desired in infants at a young age from their mothers, and lost to Victor with his mother’s death, he associates it with the creation. This is seen with his realization leading to “breathless horror and disgust fill[ing his] heart,” with the knowledge that his desire for his mother was the very “aspect of the being [he] had created” (F 60). The comparison and substitution of Elizabeth, his mother, and the creation highlight his disgust with himself in having this come to light, quite literally, with the “dim and yellow light of the moon” illuminating his repression with the creature staring him down, something that shouldn’t have been desired (F 60). This state begins to highlight his own mentality behind the creature, as he projects onto the creature an uncanniness due to his own repression—the monster’s develops into a return of the things that should remain repressed.