they had called me mad
Just nine months before Elizabeth's death Victor, after the discovery of Clerval's corpse, had fallen into a delirium lasting two months (III:4:11
). Even, after he had regained his reason, his ranting convinced his father that he remained truly deranged (III:5:5
). The constant threading of this issue through the novel must remind Mary Shelley's readers that they are wholly at the mercy of this autobiographical narrative embedded in her text, a narrative told by a man introduced as "generally having an expression of wildness, even madness" to him (I:L4:10
). It is more than possible that this is exactly her point, that Victor has been slowly descending into a madness from which there is no escape, and that with his descent the narrative becomes increasingly unreliable.