Erotic Tension In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

1218 words - 5 pages

In Frankenstein, Shelley overtly reveals romance and erotic tension, both heterosexual and homosexual, through symbolism pertaining to eyesight, although this subsequent gaze proves the strong relation of death and sexual tensions in both human and nonhuman.
The first occurrence of sexual tension in this story is between two men. Robert Walton, Victor’s “affectionate brother,” says that he “desire[s] the company of a man who could sympathize with me, whose eyes would reply to mine,” and “need[s] them most to support my spirits. I love you very tenderly.” (Shelley 33). Admittedly, instead of expressing the longs for women, Shelley uses the language of erotic desire for a man. Also, despite his being completely surrounded by men on the ship, Walton’s desire for Victor’s companionship develops into something deeper than his other sea-faring friendships; he longs for a man “possessed of a cultivated as well as of a capacious mind, whose tastes are like [his] own, to approve or amend [his] plans,” and “sympathizes with [him]; whose eyes would reply to [his]…” (31). The eyes, like a metaphoric window into one’s mind and heart, imply the origin of desire. Thus, Walton’s wishes for a man’s visual reply, apparently, invoke a returning sexual foreplay and flirt—a gaze. It is noteworthy that Walton would “sacrifice[s] my fortune, my experience, my every hope, to the furtherance of my enterprise. One man’s life or death were but a small price…” (37). Gently but repeatedly mentioning sacrifices and death in a language of erotic, Walton unintentionally links death with his lust. Similarly, Henry Clerval foregoes his ambition to consort with ailing Victor, and “during all that time Henry was my only nurse” (P64) suggesting that, a man who devotes himself to the needs of his male friend, is adequate and equal to a female caretaker. Yet, Victor sees “…nothing but the glimmer of two eyes that glared upon [him]…sometimes they were the expressive eyes of Henry…” immediately after Henry dies. The gaze, again, highlights the homosexuality and a utterly unconventional psychoanalytic implications of homosexual tensions between Victor and Henry’s death—“[the glimmer of two eyes was] languishing in death…sometimes it was the watery, clouded eyes of the monster”(157).
Tragically, the gaze in Frankenstein, as the symbol of erotic affair, repeatedly and deeply indicates the connection between salaciousness romance and death. Even though, not a normal production of sexual union process, the monster still develops his own sexuality while awaken by the inability to connect with his creator or with any other being, he realizes it is impossible to establish any sexual relationship with human being, therefore. To abreact his sexual constrain, the Monster decides to make others suffer. In fact, his monstrosity is evidently introduced by his interaction with William, the monster’s urge to “seize him” is a violent impulse based nonetheless on a desire to connect with another being...

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