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The last chapter in the book is very moving. Victor begins his pursuit of the creature, and he is eventually marooned on an ice-craft, and he finally sees Walton’s ship. He asks Walton to swear that, if he should die, Walton should, if the opportunity presented itself, kill the creature. Victor dies whilst persuading Walton to take on his quest. Later, Walton finds the creature lying over Frankenstein’s body; the creature is full of grief, horror and self-reproach. The creature responds to Walton with an explanation of the anguish that he has endured,
‘That is also my victim! In his murder my crimes are consummated: the miserable series of my being is wound to its close! Oh, Frankenstein! Generous and self-devoted being! What does it avail that I now ask thee to pardon me? I, who irretrievably destroyed all thou lovedst. Alas! He is cold, he cannot answer me.’ Rather strangely, considering what Victor had done to the creature, the creature still admires and esteems his creator. The creature shows great remorse for what he has done. This attitude from the creature seems to echo that of Walton’s. The creature’s speech emphasises that his monstrousness is no different from that of society. The way that the creature planned his death in the blazing fire in the ice, is a parody of Walton’s dream of finding a tropical paradise at the pole, and also reflects Victor’s attempt to animate a cold corpse with the fire of life. Shelly is showing the reader that such dreams will only end with destruction.
Shelly’s novel creates great problems with the notions of monstrosity and humanity. If the creature’s appearance is a visible warning, it is a warning of Victor’s personality, as it was he who decided on the appearance. Although the creature’s exterior may be horrific, he is, at least initially, certainly not ‘frighteningly unnatural’; he is far more natural and humane then the ‘father’ who has rejected him, the villagers who stone him, the ungrateful father who shoots him.
The creature only resulted to monstrous action when he himself was a subject to them. It was only when he was exposed the viciousness of human society that he himself began to demonstrate violent behaviour. The creature was not born evil. It was his surroundings that leaded him to do what he did. This links in with the theory of Jean Jacques Rousseau, who said that if a child was born and left in the countryside, with no interference from man, he would have no evil inside him.
One of the themes that Shelley uses in this novel is that of the double, which is a frequent motif used in the Gothic genre. When Victor refers to the creature as ‘my own spirit let loose from the grave… forced to destroy all that was dear to me’ Victor provides a very clear expression of the notion that he and the creature are doubles, with the monster acting out Victor’s own aggressions. The creature has a monstrous appearance, however he on the inside he is clearly humane. He doesn’t start to become evil until he is rejected by society, and isolated from the world. His actions of violence are simply retaliations to his rejection. The fact that he is mistreated, stoned, rejected and shot by the humans actually portrays the human society to be monstrous.
Walton, who is very similar to Victor, in his desire for knowledge, does have monstrous qualities. However, he is saved from falling into the trap of becoming a monster. He is saved because the influence of his crew, that provide him with a sense of realism. Also his meeting with Victor prevented him from becoming monstrous, as he was shown what he may have become. In my opinion Victor is the real monster in this novel. He creates nearly all the suffering and misery in the story. He creates the creature which suffers because of disfigurement; he makes his family suffer misery when he doesn’t acknowledge their constant support and love for him and most of all, he makes himself suffer huge amounts through his own unplanned and unthought-of actions.
Also, by usurping the role of God, he is performing the biggest sin: trying to play God. By creating life himself without a woman is against the rules of nature, this can easily be seen as a monstrous act. This could have only brought pain, misery and destruction for everyone, yet Victor was blind to these possibilities. Victor has all his loved ones taken away from him because of his own actions, simply because he failed to ‘father’ his own creation. Frankenstein had an overwhelming desire to be recognized as a medical genius. This desire to satisfy his own ego grew into something that made him a monster.