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Frankensteinby Mary Shelley features fictional letters between Margaret andRobert Walton. Captain Robert embarks on an exploratory trip to theNorth Pole in pursuit of success and fame. However, the ambitiousexpedition gets halted when the boat is stuck in ice. Due to boredom,Captain Robert writes letters to his sister stating his want of aworthy friend to keep him company (Shelley 4). The crew on the boatspot a gigantic creature driving a sled. Afterward, they rescueVictor Frankenstein from the water (Shelley 14). Victor recounts hisstory to Captain Robert as soon as he starts to recover his strength.The stresses and emotional turmoil endured by Victor during his lifeshow clear indications of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Victor hails froma Swiss family of five. His brothers, William and Ernest, display asimilar quest for greater scientific understanding of the naturalworld. His parents later adopt Elizabeth Lavenza to serve as a futurewife for Victor. For the rest of his life, Victor suffers asuccession of tragedies with varying impacts on him. Firstly, hismother succumbs to scarlet fever. This loss spurs him on in hisexperimental studies. Victor harbored an intense desire to discoverthe “metaphysical secrets of the world” (Shelley 23).
After a few yearsof study, Victor unlocks the mystery of life by forming a monster outof dead body parts. The gigantic, hideous creature stands over eightfeet tall. Victor abhorred the creation since it fell short of hisexpectations. Having finished the creation, “the beauty of thedream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust” (Shelley 42)filled his heart. The trauma associated with this experience causedVictor to flee and abandon the creature. Consequently, Victor fallsill and needs four months to recover courtesy of the kind efforts ofhis best friend, Henry Clerval. Victor manifests symptoms of PTSDthrough the nightmare in which he appeared to see the monster. Thepanic and thoughts associated with re-living the event provide soundevidence of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (Mind).
Victor ismortified to learn of William’s death upon returning to Geneva. Thegenius scientist blames the monster for his youngest brother’sdeath. Victor feels immense guilt for his brother’s murder.Spotting the monster at the crime scene led Victor to label thecreature as “the wretch, the filthy demon to whom he had givenlife” (Shelley 60). The dual burden of guilt and grief (MayoClinic) plunged Victor into another episode of Post-Traumatic StressDisorder. This was manifested by his cowardly retreat into themountains. He deemed himself unworthy of “ties and affection”(Shelley 132). PTSD is also characterized by avoiding places andpeople that could bring reminders of the traumatic event (BeyondBlue). Victor became reclusive and detached from the society upon thedeath of his brother.
The abhorrentmonster coerces Victor into creating a female companion to relieveits loneliness (Shelley 129). Victor acquiesces to the request in afearful attempt to protect his family. However, Victor destroys thefemale creature due to the high potential for eventual disaster. Inretaliation, the monster kills Henry Clerval in Ireland. Victorrelapses into stress upon discovering the dead body of his bestfriend. Victor also suffers a mental breakdown while serving time forHenry’s murder. He was constantly plugged by thoughts of “Williamand Justine, the first hapless victims to his unhallowed arts”(Shelley 73). Victor also displays immense regret in declaring thatthis “cup of life was poisoned forever” (Shelley 166). Rehashingthe evils suffered from previous acts also shows evidence of PTSD(CMHA).
Another stressfulevent concerned the death of Elizabeth at the hands of the monster.Victor wished to have "banished himself forever" (Shelley174) from the native country. The nervous breakdown that accompaniedhis wife’s death plunged him into stress and self-pity. Eventually,Victor pursued revenge as he intended to kill the monster. Thenumbness and detachment from reality also provide evidence of PTSD(ADAA).
Shelley, Mary.Frankenstein. London, UK: Puffin Books, 2016.