This is largely attributable to the fact that all events are filtered through multiple layers, including Walton’s own memory.
Interestingly, Oates further argues that it is naive to read Frankenstein as one would a novel, for ‘it contains no characters, only points of views; its concerns are pointedly moral and didactic…’ (1983: 549).
Echoing the villagers, who pass condemnation before allowing the monster to speak, Victor states upon first encountering the monster in his bedchamber; ‘he might have spoken, but I did not hear’ (Shelley, 1993: 40).
The creature correctly articulates that ‘the human senses are insurmountable barriers to our union’ (Shelley, 1993: 119).
These ‘contrasting’ points of view do not hold fast; the monster is both sympathetic and vengeful, and his reflections are unreliably mediated by his transformation into a heightened state of consciousness.
In terms of the creature’s identity as a gendered being, many feminist critics have argued that the creature is constructed as a woman through his acquisition of language.To a twenty-first century reader, the image of ‘Frankenstein,’ often wrongly identified as the creature rather than creator, has become conflated with that of Boris Karloff, an actor in a 1931 filmic representation, which, in a true expression of creative license, was a non-speaking role.However, readers of the text will remember the creature as both intellectual and articulate in voicing his account of life through to the projection of his death.Baldick interprets this as ‘dialogical openness,’ (1997: 44) whereby the moral framework of the novel is an open debate between the perspectives of Victor, the creature and Walton.The employment of multiple narrations is an effective tool for undermining verisimilitude, as it compromises the certainty of identity and narration, proving these to be unknowable and always mediated.Voices echo one another, in a blurred and indistinct fashion.This is largely because the epistolary format means that the only voice we hear is actually Walton’s own, and even this has been mediated for a selected female readership.(Shelley, 1993: 187) However, Walton can only register the persuasiveness of the monster’s words whilst he is neglecting the sensation of sight.To sustain communication with the creature, he must avert his eyes, for as soon as his eyes encounter the deformed being, his indignation returns and his sympathy dissolves.Shelley reveals here that language may be knowledge, but it is not wisdom.Indeed, De Lacey mimics the reader, for the oral nature of storytelling restricts visibility and privileges the command of language.