Saturday, August 23, 2008
Mutability by Percy Bysshe Shelley
“We rest: a dream has power to poison sleep.
We rise; one wand’ring thought pollutes the day…” (pg 85)
The excerpt used in this chapter of Frankenstein is from the poem Mutability by Mary Shelley’s lover and future husband, Percy Bysshe Shelley. Shelley first came up with the idea for Frankenstein during a stay with Percy in the Swiss Alps while he was still married and she was only nineteen. Months later, once Percy’s wife had drowned, the young couple was able to marry. It makes perfect sense that Mary would use a poem her lover had written to help him get exposure and/or express her devotion to Percy.
EDIT: Shelley decided to use this poem because it expressed the idea that the only time either Victor or his Creation has any real peace is when they are sleeping or at rest. Even more than that, the idea that one "wand'ring thought pollutes the day" or "a dream has power to poison sleep". If you look at the idea of sleep being peace, a dream corrupts that much like Victor's dream of creating life corrupted his life.