real insanity possessed me
It is easy to overlook the weight of this statement, but "real" should be given its due meaning. Following the accounts of Victor's attempted suicide (III:4:46
) and his father's questioning earlier in this chapter whether his son was not actually mad, (III:5:5
) these symptoms, an alteration between violent rage and withdrawn lethargy, point to a serious manic-depressive condition. For Elizabeth this has to be extraordinarily trying: the depressed state Victor was in when he had left her, both upon undertaking the excursion to Chamounix (II:1:10
) and in the aftermath of his encounter with the Creature (III:1:1
), had been serious enough, but the extremity into which it has developed hardly bodes well for her future with him. Even so, Elizabeth reverts to her characteristic vocation of nurse.