Frankenstein, written by Mary Shelley, is a novel about a creature that is produced by Victor Frankenstein, as a result of his desire to discover the secret of life. Dr. Frankenstein founded this secret by animating dead flesh and stitching human corpses together to create a superhuman. As a reader, one realizes the consequences of Victor’s discoveries through series of unfortunate events that occur in the novel. The story begins with four letters which help introduce the story from Walton’s perspective as he meets Victor and learns the truth and tragedy behind Dr. Frankenstein. However, throughout the novel, letters are sent from Elizabeth and Alphonse, which further develop the story. Letters also help develop the plot of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde written by Robert Louis Stevenson, which is a story that depicts the mystery of Dr. Jekyll. Throughout the novel, one discovers that the evil character of Edward Hyde is a result of Henry Jekyll drinking a special potion; therefore making him change from Mr. Hyde into Dr. Jekyll. The letters in the novel help the reader discover the truth behind Dr. Jekyll and his true identity, as events in the story implement this mystery. In both novels, the letters reveal important information that helps to progress the plot, develop characters and intrigue the reader.
In both Frankenstein and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the letters progress the plot and help the reader further understand the reasons for certain events. As the story begins to unfold, suspicious occurrences question what one thought they know at the beginning of this novel. In Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Mr. Guest is asked to compare Mr. Hyde’s handwriting in his letter of confession, to Henry Jekyll’s handwriting on a dinner invitation. Mr. Guest concludes that they are identical, but slanted in opposite directions, and as well said it was written in “an odd hand”. As a reader, questions of curiosity arise, as one begins to determine whether the letter is forged, or perhaps something unusual, such as Mr. Hyde concealing a secret identity as Dr. Jekyll. At this discovery, Poole the Butler mentions that no one delivered a letter, however suggests the note may have come from Hyde, by giving it to Jekyll in the dissecting rooms.
In addition to Utterson asking Guest to study the note of Mr. Hyde, he questions the reason behind the possibility of Henry Jekyll forging a letter for the murder of Sir. Danvers Carew. Through Guests’ analysis, he is positive that Henry has intentions of covering up the murder for Mr. Hyde. Mr. Guest states, “There’s a rather singular resemblance; the two hands are in many points identical; only differently sloped.” (Stevenson, page.29) This quotation signifies the mystery behind the identity of Dr. Jekyll. This element of uncertainty progresses the plot, as well as further develop information on the character of Edward Hyde. Uncertainty and mystery is also evident in Frankenstein, when Walton describes the tragedy of his sunken ship.
He explains that on July 31, the crew of the ship identified a man that was of gigantic stature passing close by to where their ship is located. On August 1, the crew find Victor Frankenstein who is taken into their ship to rest and recover. During his recovery, he begins to tell his story to Walton. Walton exclaims, “Strange and harrowing must be his story, frightful the storm which embraces the gallant vessel on it’s course and wrecked it-thus!” (Shelley, Page.18) This quotation signifies the beginning of a story that will change the way Walton and his crew members think, as Victor begins to narrate experiences. In both novels, these events propose questions to the reader, as well as to the characters in the story, as a result of events that have changed the course of the story. Not only do these letters progress the plot, but they develop the characters that show the reasons why certain events have occurred in the novel.
Throughout both novels, certain characters have become significant as a result of situations that develop and identify them. Character development determines what ways characters affect the progress of the plot; therefore in both novels, one can identify events that begin to answer each novel’s mysteries. In Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Lanyon receives a registered letter from Henry Jekyll, that presents a list of duties he wishes Lanyon can do in his favor. He asks if he can go to his drawer in his lab, to pick up items that are to be given to a man, that would visit Utterson’s dwelling that same evening. The items included salt, a vial of blood, and liquor. That evening Edward Hyde, the strange looking man, arrived and used the items Utterson had picked up. In the next moment, it was no longer the strange man that stood before Utterson, but Henry Jekyll. As a reader, this discovery explains that Jekyll took a special potion, which changed his identity of Mr. Hyde to Dr. Jekyll. This also explains that the murderer of Sir Danvers Carew was Jekyll in Hyde’s body.
Lanyon states, “The creature who crept into my house that night was, on Jekyll’s own confession, known by the name of Hyde and hunted for in every corner of the land as the murderer of Carew.” (Stevenson, Page 59) This quotation signifies the verification of the murderer, as well explains why the letters of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde were identical. This further develops the plot, as characters are developed which help justify the mystery in the novel. Elizabeth’s letter written to Victor Frankenstein, expresses her worry for him and his well-being. She also introduces a new character to the story, Justine Moritz, who has returned to the family as a result of her mother’s death. Elizabeth also explains that Justine is the most trusted servant in the Frankenstein residence.
As she is introduced, her significance to the novel is to be determined as events evolve in the story. Elizabeth explains, “This girl has always been a favorite of her father, but through a strange perversity, her mother could not endure her, and after the death of M.Mortiz, treated her very ill.” (Shelley, Page.56) This quotation signifies the treatment of Justine was unfair, recognizing the fact she has a considerate personality, as explained by Elizabeth in her letter. (Shelley, pages. 56-58) Certain events in both novels develop characters that have significance in different parts of the story. As this significance is identified, their development changes the course of the novel, which intrigues the reader as mysteries unfold.
Throughout any novel, certain aspects of a story will intrigue a reader to continue reading to uncover concealed information that will reveal itself as the novel continues. Poole explains there is someone crying night after night in the lab room for a specific medicine, where it is assumed Jekyll is murdered. However, it is not a logical assumption considering if there was a murder, the murderer would not remain in the room. Furthermore, Poole explains Jekyll use to cry for specific antidotes, and write notes and throw them out of the room. Poole is able to retrieve one of the notes, which is addressed to Utterson. In this note, Dr.Jekyll explains he has disappeared and fears that the end of his life is near. The letter explains, “When this shall fall into your hands, I have disappeared.” (Stevenson, page.50) This quotation makes reader’s question the whereabouts of Dr. Jekyll and what his objective is. He directs Utterson to read Lanyon’s narrative, as well as his confession.
As the novel comes to a near-conclusion, a reader may be able to assume the mystery identity of Dr. Jekyll, as a result of the truth being implemented in his confession. In Frankenstein, Victor receives a letter from Alphonse Frankenstein, his father, saying that William has been murdered by strangulation. When William’s body was found, he was missing a locket that was given to him by Elizabeth. Later on, readers discover Justine is accused of the murder when the locket is found with her. Alphonse states, “William is dead! That sweet child, whose smiles delighted and warmed my heart, who was so gentle, yet so gay! Victor he is murdered!” (Shelley, page.64) This quotation portrays the monster’s significance in the novel. Strangulation is the monster’s signature killing method; therefore as a reader, one understands that Justine is wrongly accused of William Frankenstein’s murder.