Ernest

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NOTES

Ernest

In revising her novel Mary Shelley totally changed Ernest's state of health but added nothing that would give him a reason for existing in the novel except to carry on the family name in obscurity. In both texts, however, Ernest serves as a foil to the overly abstract and abstracted mind of his brother Victor. As a farmer (1818) or a mercenary keeper of the peace (1831), Ernest's concern would be with the given order of things rather than with what underlies it conceptually. In both texts (but paradoxically more pronounced in the third edition, many years after Byron provided an immediate context for her writing), Ernest bears a striking similarity to the Chamois Hunter of Manfred, which Byron began after the Shelleys' departure in 1816 and is also set in Switzerland. See Act I, scene ii, and Act II, scene i.