Frankenstein is a novel written by Mary Shelly. The author seems to have used her novel to question a number of moral issues that would be of concern to any society. The novel is authored during the time when people cherished every kind of discoveries in the scientific world. Though the period was majorly characterized by the societal desire for knowledge, the society had the readiness to reject anything that they either could not easily understand or that which they believed could be dangerous to their lives. The author thus uses Victor who seems to have assumed the position of God or a monster. This write up argues that Victor, and not his creation, was the monster.
Whether or not Victor Frankenstein is the monster in the novel is debatable. Mary Shelly (2008) portrays Victor as a negligence God. She uses him to bring out a unique being with an ambition to create life. Victor’s creation seems to have gone against the societal moral values as he commits murder and watch the innocent being killed for the offence that he committed. However, because of his secretive and selfish nature, his illegal acts go unnoticed. As a scientist, Victor’s main goal becomes giving life to a body which is considered inanimate. However, what makes it confusing is that after creating his monster, Victor becomes alienated by his characters of secrecy and selfishness which together elevate him to the position of a societal monster. The question which has remained controversial is there for whether Victor or his creator is the monster. In this write up, I will argue that Victor is the monster for his unique capabilities including that of creation.
First, Victor has a strong ambition of creating life. This makes him a monster as such a character is exhibited uniquely by him. This is seen through his determination to join Ingolstadt University to pursue a study in philosophy and science which would enable him achieve his goal of discovering the various secretes concerning life; the knowledge he later used in creating his monster. He thus sacrifices a number of years to seclude himself from those who were known to him. The write confesses that Victor had to go through the scenes that though were familiar; he had not had a chance of seeing six years before then.
As a creator, Victor was driven by the need to be famous which he achieved after all. According to Shelley (2008), Victor was pre-occupied by his ambition to create life and never minded the consequences thereafter. This took him close to two years. In addition, his plans upon succeeding also make him a monster. In reporting his plans, Shelley (2008) reports that, “…Nor could I consider the magnitude and complexity of my plans any argument of its impracticability.” He thus shows irrationality in his reaction on seeing his creation’s product.
Equally, Victor’s reactions, in a number of instances in the novel, demonstrated his selfishness and over-ambitiousness in life which also sets him as a monster in the society. For instance, he demonstrated selfishness when he claimed that he was not able to withstand the various aspects he had created. Shelley (2008) states that “… I rushed out of the room”. This is a clear proof the he is selfish as he abandoned the outcome of his monster simply because he never liked it.
Victor also appears as a monster through the happenings that follow after his brother’s death. He takes a number of years away before coming home to have time together with his family. However, he was not to stay for a long time even after being late. He soon solely left to the valleys of Alpine in the hope that this would help him ease the grief that had befallen him. He never cared about his family and friends whom he left behind. Shelley (2008) narrates that “it was during an access of this kind that I suddenly left home, and being my steps towards the near Alpine valleys….” His main reason for leaving home was, “to forget myself and my ephemeral because human, sorrows.”
However, of all the selfishness acts, the largest was portrayed in the threatening by the monster that he would accompany victor during the night he (Victor) would be having his wedding. This would have stooped a mere person from continuing with his plan. However, as a monster as he was, Victor did not mind of the possibility of him dying the very night of his wedding. He instead went ahead to marry Elizabeth. He also acknowledges the he would have done the opposite if he was a mere man. Shelley (2008) confesses that “…I should almost regard him as invincible, and that when he had pronounced the words ‘…I shall be with you on your wedding night’ he ought to have regarded ‘… the fate as unavoidable”. This clearly gives Victor a character which is unusual with the other members of the society making him a monster.
A part from this act of selfishness, Victor exhibited various acts of secrecy which also portrays him as a monster. This is because such acts make him alienated from the rest of the society. For instant, his strong determination to study philosophy and science in the University of Ingolstadt made him forsake his own family for a good number of years. Even during the time he is away from his family at the University, Victor secludes himself in what saw him create his monster. This never took him a short time either. Shelley (2008) notes that “winter, spring, and summer passed…so deeply was I engrossed in my occupation”. Unlike the other members of the society, Victor was ever in a lonely place.
Victor’s secrecy is also evidenced during the determination of the case surrounding the death of his brother William which saw Justine being accused of having committed the murder and sentenced to death. Here, Victor’s knowledge that it is what he had created which had committed the murder of his own brother is revealed. However, he is quite and not ready to let this issue be known. It his thus his secretive act that show Justine, who was innocent, being murdered, at the expense of the real criminal. This is a great lose to the members of the since they cannot discern the cause of their suffering because; they are caused by a “monster.” The writer says “Justine also was a girl of merit and possessed qualities which promised to render her life happy…” and regrets that all these were definitely going to be lost in her grave. Equally, Victor personally regretted that “now all was to be obliterated in an ignominious grave, and I was the cause.” He was however, not ready to reveal the cause of this death (Shelley, 2008).
The last incidence of secrecy is revealed to have occurred after Justine had died. At this point, Victor leaves home together with Henry for Scotland because he feels that he needs to have sometime far from home. Even after their arrival in Scotland, Victor again abandons Henry here and head to Orkneys for the major reason that he wanted to have time for the creation of the monster which he considered the best companion. This is revealed by Shelley (2008) when she reports Victor confessing that “with this resolution, I travelled the north highlands and fixed on one of the remotes of the Orkneys as the scene of my labors.” His secretiveness thus makes him a monster. That is, the strong urge to always be a lone in a secrete place doing what is not normal with the rest of the members of the society makes him be a monster.
In conclusion, though as a scientist Victor had the ambition of making life, he subjected others to bad painful experiences because of his secretiveness and selfishness. Victor was however not exempted as he also reveals his suffering from the grief he caused especially that which resulted from the death of his brother. It is because Victor lives most of his life in seclusion from the rest of the society, his ambition to make something that had never been made by anyone else, and his strong urge to relate to his monster instead of the friends and relatives that makes him more of a monster than his creation.