Victor Frankenstein's Journey into Hopelessness and Despair

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The story of Frankenstein follows Victor Frankenstein’s journey into hopelessness and despair. What began as a life full of promise and joy leads to a sad, bitter end. The story is not meant to have a satisfying, feel-good resolution – in fact, the entire story is filled with injustice and punishment to those who do not deserve it. Even within the first ten chapters, before Frankenstein has had much interaction with his creation at all, he suffers from the consequences of his innovation.

Victor Frankenstein appears to have experienced nothing but happiness early on according to his account of childhood. He clearly possessed a great love and respect for his mother and father, and appears to have missed the common stage of life in which one does not get along with his or her parents. He knew his soul mate from a very young age and from that moment on never once strayed from his passionate love for Elizabeth. Honestly, reading this I thought his description of childhood, although very idyllic and interesting, seemed overly glorified. However, I think it provides for a more dramatic contrast once Victor’s life finally does go to ruin, and therefore makes for a better story.

The first real misfortune that falls upon Victor does not occur until he is seventeen, when his mother dies. Victor and the rest of his family are obviously grief-stricken, but even in the midst of that he must come to terms with her death quickly in order to leave for the university soon after. However, he describes the death as “an omen” signifying the misery that is to come. This, I think, is one strength of Shelley’s style of writing the story as a narrative within a narrative – by writing the events that occur through the eyes of Walton hearing the events from Victor, everything in the story is accountable to the misery that overtook Victor and led him to icy, desolate Antarctica. Negative occurrences are described as “omens” and in this way we see clearly what kind of a story...
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