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Frankenstein: Penetrating the Secrets of Nature

Remaining Silent

Engraving of a broken and weathered monument with a skeleton on the base. Finis, 1733. Artist unknown. Photographic reproduction of an engraving from William Cheselden (1688-1752), Osteographia, or, The Anatomy of the Bones, 1733. Image A013142 from the Images from the History of Medicine (IHM).
Finis, 1733. Artist unknown. Photographic reproduction of an engraving from William Cheselden (1688-1752), Osteographia, or, The Anatomy of the Bones, 1733. National Library of Medicine Collection.

I paused when I reflected on the story I had to tell. A being whom I myself had formed, and endued with life, had met me at midnight among the precipes. . . . I well knew that if any other had communicated such a relation to me, I should have looked upon it as the ravings of insanity. Besides, the strange nature of the animal would elude all pursuit, even if I were so far credited as to persuade my relatives to commence it. . . . I resolved to remain silent.

Victor Frankenstein
Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, 1818

Abandoned by his creator, the monster takes his revenge on Victor Frankenstein by killing his younger brother, William. Frankenstein's silence, in the face of the monster's murderous actions, exacts a terrible price. His self-imposed isolation from society mirrors the social isolation the monster experiences from all who see him. Frankenstein's decision to remain silent about the monster leads to further tragedy.