the cause of madness

Topics: Edgar Allan Poe, Frankenstein, The Tell-Tale Heart Pages: 3 (933 words) Published: November 14, 2013
The Cause of Madness

Perhaps there is nothing more horrifying to an individual than the thought of going mad. Madness can be characterized in a variety of different ways, but in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, as well as Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell Tale Heart”, there seems to be one profound consistency: isolation. With isolation come loneliness, which is one of the most unpleasant feelings that a person can encounter. It is also, however, one of the most powerful. In each of these stories, we witness a turning point in which the characters are overtaken by this isolation and undergo a change, always starting out completely sane, yet always ending up completely mad. Victor Frankenstein is a determined scientist with the wondrous idea of creating life within the domains of his own lab. He is also a family man, as he grew up with his parents, before the passing of his mother at age 17, as well as Elizabeth. He also grew up very close to his best friend, Henry. But, his relationship with all of these people changed when he moved away to pursue his career in science. He loses contact with his loved ones and soon becomes extremely occupied in his experiment to bring his monster to life. He becomes increasingly involved with his work, as he says, “My application…gained strength as I proceeded, and I soon became so ardent and eager, that the stars often disappeared in the light of the morning whilst I was yet engaged in my laboratory” (51). Slowly, he becomes obsessed, until eventually, his thoughts are dominated by the experiment alone. Day in and day out, his creation is all that runs through his head. As his lone source of motivation, the eagerness of the experiment causes him to do things against his moral beliefs, such as gathering body parts of the deceased. He admits, “often did my human nature turn with loathing from my occupation, whilst, still urged on by an eagerness which perpetually increased” (55). Things that he wouldn’t normally do now seemed to be...
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