Rational Mind vs. Passions

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Alyssa Hewson
Mr. Evans
English 12
18 October 2012
Rational Mind vs. Passions
Have you ever acted on an impulse without even thinking of potential consequences of your actions? Victor Frankenstein certainly has. He is a passionate human being that let his love for science and need to impress his father drive him to attempt to bring the dead back to life. Was it a good choice? Through the use of hyperbole and conflict, the author of Frankenstein, Mary Shelley, uses the motif of “rational mind versus passions” in her work to illustrate the negative effects of guilt on one’s conscience.

Shelley uses hyperbole to exemplify the motif of “rational mind versus passions” and how guilt can negatively affect one’s conscious mind. In the beginning of the novel, Victor Frankenstein becomes obsessed with the idea of bringing the dead back to life. During this period of time, he goes off to a secluded place away from his family so he can dedicate all of his time to his work. When his work is completed, he begins to develop an overwhelming feeling of disgust. “I had desired it with an ardour that far exceeded moderation; but now…the beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled my heart” (35). It is at this moment that Victor feels guilty. His passions outweighed every rational thought of his mind during the creation period, and now he is responsible for the creation of a monster. He became overcome with guilt, which made him become depressed. He even claims that he “slept, indeed, but [he] was disturbed by the wildest dreams” (35). His powerfully dramatic diction shows how upset he is at himself for creating the monster. The feeling of guilt prevails while he is losing sleep and becoming so emotional that he is numb. This is the first moment in which he experiences the deep feeling of guilt due how passionate he was about bringing the dead back to life.

The negative effects of guilt on a human’s conscience can be shown in Shelley’s work...
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