The quest for identity, and therefore individuality, is a central theme of the novel. This is the quest that drives Victor to find “[the] glory [which] would attend the discovery, if I could banish disease from the human frame, and render man invulnerable to any but a violent death” (Shelley, 40). He seeks to define himself as a great man of his age. The Creature’s quest for identity is a more desperate one. The luxury of choice is denied to him: “I am satisfied: miserable wretch! You have determined to live, and I am satisfied” the Creature exclaims to Victor when he finally finds a role for himself as Victor’s nemesis, after all other roles have been denied to him (Shelley, 202-3).
Both Victor and the Creature quest for identity; nevertheless, a close examination reveals that neither character truly qualifies as a hero. According to one model presented by the literary critic Northrop Frye, a romantic hero possesses a power of action “superior in degree to that of other men