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Irony in Frankenstein

Irony Examples in Frankenstein:

Chapter III


"The labours of men of genius, however erroneously directed, scarcely ever fail in ultimately turning to the solid advantage of mankind...."   (Chapter III)

This sentence, spoken by Frankenstein’s professor, Waldman, is ironic. Frankenstein is “erroneously directed,” since he pursues scientific advancement simply out of pride rather than a desire to better the world, but his accomplishments will not be helpful to the world at large. Instead, he creates a creature who despises him, and Frankenstein dies alone and unhappy, his research bringing nothing but anguish.

"Elizabeth read my anguish in my countenance, and kindly taking my hand, said, “My dearest friend, you must calm yourself. These events have affected me, God knows how deeply; but I am not so wretched as you are..."   (Chapter IX)

In regards to the character of Elizabeth Frankenstein here, again we have a perfect example of dramatic irony. Dramatic irony, of course, is when a particular character isn't "in the know" about particular information that the reader knows.  In this case, Elizabeth has no idea that Victor has created a creature that carried out such horrible acts.

" I was possessed by a maddening rage when I thought of him, and desired and ardently prayed that I might have him within my grasp to wreak a great and signal revenge on his cursed head...."   (Chapter XXIII)

Notice that Frankenstein’s vengeful anger mimics the creature’s own rage. The more Frankenstein descends into his madness and need for revenge, the more he becomes like the monster he pursues.

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