Often in literature, the structure significantly contributes to the development of the meaning of the work as a whole. Such is the case with Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. However, in the case of Shelley, it can also be argued that while the frame narrative structure adds much to the evil doctor's telling of the tragic events of his life, it also detracts from the reliability of the story, and brings into question the bias of the narrative voice. Throughout the novel, Frankenstein, as one of the narrators of the frame story, makes clear his implicit contempt for his Creature, based on an assessment of the Creature's evil appearance and vengeful nature. However, upon examining the methods in which these opinions are delivered to the reader through the mutli-layered narrative structure of the novel, I argue that we as the reader have very good reason to question Frankenstein's truthful retelling of the story, and furthermore to question all of his observations of the Creature's evil demeanor. With these observations now existing in a somewhat obscured light, we are then further able to question the societal norms of beauty and splendor upheld by Frankenstein which allow this Creature to be ostracized by all of society and all of his positive contributions to be negated by those who surround him in the novel. Through this questioning of these strict social standards, we are then able to more fully understand many key themes intrinsic in Shelley's writing.
The story of Dr. Frankenstein is structured such that the reader is presented with a telling of the story from the point of view of several characters, including Victor Frankenstein, the Creature himself, and Walton, as retold to his sister through letters. This structure allows the reader to understand many different interpretations of the actions of the novel, specifically concerning the nature of the Creature. However, at the same time that this structure offers several distinct and opinionated voices, it also makes the events of the narrative less plausible.