Victor Frankenstein Essay
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In the beginning we find Victor growing up in a wealthy family, where he is encouraged to seek a greater understanding of the world around him through science. He is surrounded by loving family and friends and appears to grow up a normal boy with the exception of his obsession of studying outdated theories of science that focused on the natural wonders. Inspired by his youthful obsession, Victor leaves for the University of Ingolstadt to pursue his passions; however, tragedy strikes a few days before with the passing of his mother from scarlet fever.
We can only imagine the distraught Frankenstein traveling to school with the sadness that must have plagued him during this time, and how when he arrived may have unconsciously lead him down the road to the construction of the creature. Victor attacks his studies with enthusiasm and, ignoring his social life and his family far away in Geneva, makes rapid progress. Fascinated by the mystery of the creation of life, he begins to study how the human body is built and how it falls apart.
After several years of tireless work, he masters all that his professors have to teach him, and he goes one step further: discovering the secret of life. Privately, hidden away in his apartment where no one can see him work, he decides to begin the construction of an animate creature, zealously devoting himself to this labor, he neglects everything else—family, friends, studies, and social life—and grows increasingly pale, lonely, and obsessed.
One stormy night, after months of labor, Victor completes his creation, but when he brings it to life, its awful appearance horrifies him. While the construction of the monster is left somewhat ambiguous we know that the creature, which he dreamed would be beautiful, was instead a hideous creature as told to us by Victor himself: “How can I describe my emotions at this catastrophe, or how delineate the wretch whom with such infinite pains and care I had endeavored to form?
His limbs were in proportion, and I had selected his features as beautiful. Beautiful! —Great God! His yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath; his hair was of a lustrous black, and flowing; his teeth of pearly whiteness; but these luxuriance’s only formed a more horrid contrast with his watery eyes, that seemed almost of the same color as the dun white sockets in which they were set, his shriveled complexion, and straight black lips. ” Victor is horrified and repulsed by this creature and flees the room in a panic.
Victor has ignored all the warnings against natural law and now he and his family will pay the ultimate price for the violation of those laws. Appearing in Ingolstadt at just the right moment to nurse Victor back to health, Henry serves as the line of communication between Victor and his family, presenting him with a avenue back to the warmth of society. Soon after Victor’s recovery he receives a letter from his father telling him to return home immediately because his brother William has been murdered.
This is the turning point for Victors realization that the monster was a real presence and a threat not only to him but to his family, because up till now the monster has been pushed to the back of Victor’s mind and now he is asserting himself into Victors’ life as a child might when they are tired of being ignored. The monster is not only responsible for the death of Victor’s brother but for the death of the Frankenstein’s beloved servant Justine, who is accused of the murder. Victor is now suffering for the consequences of his actions as are those around him.
Haunted by the thoughts of how he ruined so many lives, he sinks into a deep depression. He tries to escape to the Swiss mountains but the monster finds him. During his encounter with the monster Victor is persuaded, out of fear for his remaining family, to make a companion for the monster so he might be happy and un-alone in this miserable world. Victor is plagued by premonitions of what his work might wreak upon the world and ends up destroying the unfinished female to the dismay of the monster, who vows to make Victor pay for this betrayal. The monster does take his revenge by taking the life of Elizabeth on her wedding night to Victor.
Victor’s grief over the death of Elizabeth leads Victor to pursue the monster to the ends of the earth, the North Pole, where he ends up dying, but not before he tells the Captain of the ship his tale, without having ended the creature’s life; although, he tries to convince the ship’s captain to take over this quest. The reanimation of man from the dead is an abomination to God, but here in the novel Frankenstein we see it through the eyes of a man whose overreaching ambition is an unsurpassed feat of scientific discovery, that only brings sorrow, terror, and devastation to himself and the world around him.
This ambition of Frankenstein’s appears to be beyond the range of information available to mortals, infringing upon the knowledge meant only to be held by God. Victor’s overindulgence in science takes away his humanity, and he is left with the consequences without having reasoned out the reality that his experiment may not have the desired effects he was looking for, or how it would impact the world around him. Thus, we (the audience) are left with the question at the end: How far can we go in exploring the natural sciences before we, like Frankenstein, bring forth an abomination that will destroy us and those around us.