Frankenstein vs. Lightning


Most people who have not read the novel “Frankenstein” will associate lightning as a key element related to the monster without considering its meaning. As we read along, we slowly realize that there is no direct use of electricity in this book. In fact, the movie adaptations that I presented to you in my last post intensified the use of electricity.

Lightning is mostly used as a symbol of destruction that is referred to often in the book. As we have seen in Victor Frankenstein’s youth, the lightning strikes a tree and it turns into ashes. The way Mary Shelley includes some excerpts referring to the lightning is only in terms of symbolization and it is not physically changing the story.

Lightning is unpredictable and can cause both death and resurrection of oneself. This is why lightning is such an interesting element for Mary Shelley to include because Victor Frankenstein is obsessed by science.

Also, there is an interesting debate on the presence of a storm in the book. It is not directly stated that there is an actual storm, however, the environment that is described looks like it. I wonder what your thoughts are on this subject. Leave a comment below about what you think it is that is described in this excerpt. A physical storm? A dark and deep event?


4 thoughts on “Frankenstein vs. Lightning

  1. Do you have any idea why the movies adaptations nearly all associate the creation of Frankenstein’s monster with electricity? I first thought that it was because of the first time Victor saw the Creature in the mountain there was a lightning but while reading your post I wondered if it could be because of the destruction aspect of the lightning. As we know, the Creature is unpredictable and dangerous just as the lightning can be.
    Your post really gives an interesting point of view on the lightning in Frankenstein and gives place to many questions.
    Good Job

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I was thinking at first that maybe the movie adaptations use the lightning as a symbol of destruction like I said in my blog post because in a book, the author is free to express the character’s feelings and emotions. Mary Shelley can use words to represents an event, but in a movie, the director must be sure that the audience understand the meaning of every visual aspect that is presented. Therefore, by using such a strong symbol that is not directly stated in the book, the movies adaptations can reach the audience like Mary Shelley reaches to her readers.


  3. Hi Noémie!

    You are right, it does not explicitly says in the book that the monster was created during a storm, but it does say on page 35 of Shelley’s book that it was during a rainy night.

    I believe your analysis of the symbol of lightning is really good. We can even compare that symbol to the symbol of fire in the Prometheus Myth. Both symbols act as a defiance against nature/against the Gods.

    Thank you for that great post!



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