The Reification Of Destiny In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

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Undoubtedly Shelley was tempted strongly at times to reify 'destiny' or 'fate' as an actual power, debilitating and overpowering her.20 Mellor tellingly quotes from a letter of 1827: The power of Destiny I feel every day pressing more & more on me, & I yield myself a slave to it ...(MWSL I, p. 572) However, Shelley also constantly asserts her creed that, while action and disposition are subject to unalterable circumstances, the will and the imagination are still able to envisage other possibilities, and that it is one's duty to exert these faculties. The same sentence, also quoted by Mellor, continues with a Corinne-like affirmation. Shelley may be a slave, but she is one of the ognor frementi: ... a slave to it, in all except my moods of mind, which I endeavour to make independent of her, & thus to wreathe a chaplet, where all is not cypress, in spite of the Eumenides.(MWSL I, p. 572)21…show more content…
172), on the grounds that in 1831 the sympathetic female characters--Elizabeth and Justine--express the same deterministic sentiments, apparently voicing Shelley's own views. But their supine submissiveness to Destiny may indicate, rather, the tendency of a Frankensteinian upbringing to encourage female family and household members to be amiably slavish.22 Is it, in any case, true that the 1818 Victor is represented as possessing free will while the 1831 Victor is not? The 1818 Victor on several occasions presents himself as a pawn of destiny and circumstance. He tells Walton that 'nothing can alter my destiny: listen to my history, and you will perceive how irrevocably it is determined'. After the execution of Justine, Victor visits the Alps. He reflects
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