Robert Walton writes numerous letters to his sister, who is presently in England about his endeavors at the North Pole. He is currently stuck as the water has since been overridden by ice, making it impossible for him and his crew to continue his dangerous mission. Although his progress was positive at the beginning, he is now unable to move forward because of the ice. It is during this period that the captain meets with Victor, who has been weakened by the ice and is almost dead of cold.
Walton the nurses Victor back to health, and hears the tale about the monster that victor has created. Victor, who is a brilliant man, has discovered the secret of life itself and had consequently created his own monster, but as a result of his actions, he fears that the monster will ruin the lives of the people he cares about as well as his.
Character Development, Victor, his Father and the Monster
At the beginning, Victor is an innocent loving boy who is full of life and surrounded by loved ones.
As a young boy, he lives with his father, plays with his brother and friend and also loves his future wife Elizabeth. The turn of events occurs when victor’s brilliance in chemistry and his curiosity about life forces him to reanimate a dead body. Throughout the novel, victor changes step by step and the grief he encounters due to the loss of loved ones fuel his heart with hate and remorse.
From a young scientist filled with prospects of great future to a guilt-ridden man filled with anger and revenge.
As a young boy, victor spent his youth in Geneva. His life as a young person was fulfilling with the loving accompany of his loving sister Elizabeth and his best friend Henry. Upon being of age, Victor enrolls at the University of Ingolstadt, where he studies chemistry and natural philosophy. Being a curios and brilliant person, he is overwhelmed by the unknown knowledge of life and, therefore, revolts his life to finding the true origin of life. Victor then spends his whole time in research with the hope to discover the secret of life. After many years of research, he is able to discover the basics of life. According to (Janowitz and William 938), Victor’s ambition to create life blinds the moral obligations that he should have felt about creating a monster without human emotion and characteristics.
Notable, Victor does not evaluate the consequences that might arise as a result of his action. He just spends time creating a creature with the knowledge that he has gained. He uses dead parts of a human body to put together the creature and reanimates him later. The creature, however, does not look as appealing as he expected. The sight of him fills Victor with horror and disgust. Victor is disappointed with his work and becomes contemptuous of the creature. With the creature trying to understand the meaning of the behavior being exhibited by his creator, victor becomes more afraid and runs from him scared and remorseful. According to Vargo (417) the use of dead parts to create a living thing sheds message that the expected creation would not behavior like a normal person. Victor should have recognized that his endeavor would only lead to more death.
After creation of the monster, he feels remorseful and decides to return home. Woolley (46) observes that his wish to return home would maybe reconnect him after losing touch with humanity. So, he decides that since the monster has disappeared, he should also return to his family to nurse his remorse and poor health back to normal. However, victor receives an unexpected letter from his father explaining that his brother has been murdered. Victor now rushes home, remorseful as ever to support his family at this moment of grief. As he is about to arrive, he sees the monster he created looming the woods where is brother was killed. With this knowledge, Victor believes that the monster must have killed him. To make matters worse, Victor arrives to find that his adopted sister, a gentle and kind person, is being accused of the crime that his monster dis. She is consequently executed although Victor knows the real murderer. Victor now grows more remorseful and guilty for his actions because he knows that his actions have led t the death of two of his beloved ones. According to 5865, this is the point where Victor begins to get sense of the consequences of his actions. He created death, so death follows him.
Levine (490) notes that people tend to run away from their actions’ outcomes after they see that they are not desirable. Instead of dealing with the situation, Victor grief overpowers him and he is unable to withstand the sorrow at his home at Geneva. He decides that it is best to stay away from home by taking a vacation in the mountains; since he knows that the monster is probably tracking him; he knows that by staying away from home the monster would also follow him, and leave the family alone. While at the mountains, the monster approaches Victor and tries to beg for attention. It is evident that the monster is disappointed by the fact that Victor left it after creation. He admits to killing Victor’s brother, and asks that Victor understand his reasons. He says that the death of Victor’s brother William was a payback for leaving him to rot. With this, he asks victor to create another one like him so that he can be happy around someone who understood him, and who would not abandon him like Victor did. He says;
“‘I am alone and miserable: man will not associate with me; but one as deformed and horrible as myself would not deny herself to me. My companion must be of the same species and have the same defects. This being you must create'” (Shelley and Maurice 129).
His action of acting god, which is pure inhumanness, haunts him from the moment he creates the monster. His obsession to act as a creator finally ruins his life as well as the lives of the people that he cares about. Eventually, Victor changes from a human with feelings to become a person without feelings just as the creature that he created. The basics of human feeling are family and friends. The monster, seeing that victor does not care about him, sought to make him like he is, in an effort to make Victor understand the situation of being in solitude.
With this, Victor falls for the monsters please and weighs the odds of creating a second monster, and refuses to grant the creature his wish to have a companion. However, the monster pleads and persuades him until he agrees to make the second, female monster to act as a companion to the first monster. He takes his friend Henry and return to England to prepare the necessary materials and information required for the creation of the female monster. Victor starts the work at a secluded island in company of the monster and is almost done when he feels that his actions are against moral expectations. He, therefore, destroys his progress attracting an outrage from the monster who in turn vows to destroy everything he loves. He even swears to kill Victor’s lover during his wedding night. In this, it is evident that Victor realized and regained his moral ground way too late. At this point, he will have to endure consequences for his actions (Vargo 419).
The fist revenge the monster has on victor is killing of his best friend, Henry. When Victor travels to dump the remains of the second monster, He returns in the morning only to be arrested and accused of murdering his own friend. This occurrence finally drives victor to the edge. Losing his humanity is the only thing preventing Victor from becoming the monster he has created (Choice Reviews Online 32). He realizes that Henry was killed by the monster after the fallout they had the previous day. Although he denies having killed his friend, Victor is imprisoned for the time being as investigations are conducted. Overcome by grief of losing the people that he loved the most due to the consequences of his actions, Victor falls sick in the prisons where he is nursed back to health and acquitted.
At this point, Victor returns with his father to Geneva, and marries the woman he loves, Elizabeth. (Woolley 50) notes that Elizabeth and Victor’s father are the only things holding him from truly becoming a monster. The monster knows that killing Victor wife would bring them closer. However, although he still remembers the words of the monster about visiting him on his wedding night and sends his bride away to avoid a confrontation. Despite this, the monster catches up with Elizabeth and kills her. At this point, Victor’s father, who has lost many people as well is unable to overcome his grief and dies shortly after the death of Elizabeth. Having lost his wife, his brother, his sister, his father and also his friend to the monster, he vows that it is time to exact revenge. Victor’s father, who was his source of comfort, is now dead, and so are his advices and encouragement.
The hunter becomes the hunted as he runs from Victor, who is now murderous after losing his family and friends to the monster. Victor has not undergone a complete metamorphosis and turned into a monster. With no family, friends or siblings, Victor is now as lonely as the monster. The grief, anger, pain and remorse have now exhausted his feeling and behavior of a human being. At one point he almost gets to him but the monster is saved by the sea as the ice cracks and separates them with a gap. At this point, Victor is found by the captain Walton, as he travels through the ice and is almost dead of cold.
This story, as the writer intends, enables the reader to have multiple interpretations of the actions of Victor. With these, the reader can decide either to think that Victor was a mad scientist, who crossed human boundaries without concern or an adventurer who lack responsibility of his actions. Either way, the reader can related to the process of Victor turning into his own creation. When Walton meets Victor, he is weak and almost dead of cold for travelling many days in the ice. Unlike the monster, he is human and unable to endure the cold. Walton tries his best to nurse Victor but later he succumbs to death. Walton, having heard the stories of the monster’s cruel acts is astonished to find him weeping over Victor’s body. He tells Walton that now that Victor is dead, he has no one else in this world. He recounts is suffering, remorse, solitude and hatred and concludes that he can now die as his creator has. At this point, he departs to the northernmost cold region to die. It is at this point that the reader finally experiences the solitude of the creature.
The creature is Victor’s creation, gathered from old body parts and weird chemicals, energized by a puzzling flash. He enters life as a grown up and immensely strong yet with the psyche of an infant. Relinquished by his maker and befuddled, he tries to bond himself into society, just to be disregarded by everyone. Looking in the mirror, he understands his physical bizarreness, a part of his being that blinds world to his delicate, innocent nature. He mentions that; “‘When I looked around I saw and heard of none like me. Was I, the, a monster, a blot upon the earth from which all men fled and whom all men disowned?'” (Shelley and Maurice 105
Looking for reprisal on his maker, he executes Victor’s youthful sibling. After Victor wrecks his work on the female beast intended to facilitate the creature’s acceptance to the society, the beast murders Victor’s closest companion and afterward his wife Elizabeth.
While Victor feels great disdain for his creation, the beast demonstrates that he is not a malicious being. The creature’s articulate portrayal of occasions (as given by Victor) uncovers his surprising affection and kindheartedness. He helps a gathering of poor laborers and saves a young lady from drowning, but since of his outward appearance, he is remunerated just with beatings and disdain; torn in the middle of vindictiveness and empathy, the beast winds up forlorn and tormented by regret. Indeed the demise of his inventor turned-would-be-destroyer offers just ambivalent alleviation: delight on the grounds that Victor has created him so much enduring, trouble on the grounds that Victor is the main individual with whom he has had any kind of relationship.
In conclusion, the characters of Victor and his father are different from that of the monster, which has no family and friends. The only person who understood his existence, his creator Victor turned his back on him after he created him. Victor realized that his actions were immoral and that he was not supposed to create a monster. The plot develops the character of both Victor and his father to align with that of the monster. With time, the monster ruins the life of Victor just as his suspected by killing his family and best friend. In the end, Victor is filled with hate, remorse and anger just like the monster and dies a bitter man.
Coats, Karen. “Gris Grimly’s Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.” Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books: 113-14. Print.
Janowitz, Anne F., and William Veeder. “Mary Shelley and Frankenstein: The Fate of Androgyny.” The Modern Language Review: 938. Print.
Levine, George. “Mary Shelley: Collected Tales and Stories. Charles E. Robinson Mary Shelley’s Monster: The Story of “Frankenstein.” Martin Tropp.” Nineteenth-Century Fiction: 486-91. Print.
Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft, and Maurice Hindle. Frankenstein, Or, The Modern Prometheus. Rev. ed. London: Penguin, 2003. Print.
“The Other Mary Shelley: Beyond Frankenstein.” Choice Reviews Online (1994): 31-36. Print.
Vargo, Lisa. “Mary Shelley Studies: From “Author of Frankenstein” To “the Great Work Of Life”” Literature Compass: 417-28. Print.
Woolley, Rachel. “Syndy M. Conger, Frederick S. Frank, and Gregory O’Dea, Eds., Iconoclastic Departures: Mary Shelley After ‘Frankenstein’ – Essays in Honor of the Bicentenary of Mary Shelley’s Birth. Madison and London: Associated University Presses, 1997. ISBN: 0-8386-36.” Romanticism on the Net. Print.
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