As it can be observed by reading Frankenstein, the author gives special attention to details concerning nature in her novel. Indeed, the physical setting of the story is well-described because nature plays important roles in the understanding and symbolism of the story. Essentially, the importance of nature can be discussed in three points:
(Watch out, spoilers are revealed in this discussion!)
1. Nature is important to Victor and the creature because it comforts them
Following the death of Justine Mortiz, Victor feels extremely depressive. He then goes for a hike in the alpine valleys of Chamounix. This beautiful journey includes wonderful landscapes, which allows Victor to escape the boundaries of time and space. Consequently, it also allows the character to feel somewhat happy and relaxed: ‘’This valley (Chamounix) is more wonderful and sublime, but not so beautiful and picturesque, as that of Servox, through which I had just passed. […] A tingling long-lost sense of pleasure often came across me during this journey’’. (p. 65)
Moreover, nature and the sun allow the creature to feel an upsurge of hope when he walks in the woods after leaving the DeLacey’s: ‘’One morning, however, finding that my path lay through a deep wood, I ventured to continue my journey after the sun had risen; the day, which was one of the first of spring, cheered even me by the loveliness of its sunshine and the balminess of the air. I felt emotions of gentleness and pleasure, that had long appeared dead, revive within me. Half surprised by the novelty of these sensations, I allowed myself to be borne away by them; and, forgetting my solitude and deformity, dared to be happy’’. (p. 100 & 101)
2. The rules of nature are reversed in the story
Victor defies the rules of nature by synthesizing life alone in a laboratory instead of following the natural principle of making life with a woman. Consequently, as a revenge, nature turns upside down and kills many people. Furthermore, the rules of nature are reversed by the fact that some of Alphonse Frankenstein’s kids, namely William and Elizabeth, died before him, making him live through atrocious feelings that no parent should ever suffer.
3. Nature is used to demonstrate contrasts in the novel
In fact, nature is used to create oppositions between some key events of the story. For example, the contrast between the extremely high height of the alpine mountains where Victor goes hiking and the low sea level in which Victor goes to drop the corpse of the female creature are both used to oppose the emotions felt by the character at those times. In the mountains, he feels joy and relief. To the contrary, while at sea, he feels extremely desperate and even contemplates suicide.
On top of this, ice is also used to show the contrast between being stuck and having hope. More precisely, the ice in the Northern pole represents the loss of hope for the sailors and Robert Walton, who gets stuck in it. On the other hand, the ice of the alpine mountains gives a new sense of hope for Victor when he is extremely depressive.