Victor Frankenstein

The life story of Victor Frankenstein is what is really at the heart of the novel. As a young boy growing up in Geneva, Switzerland, Victor reads the works of alchemists. The information he is acquiring is outdated and sometimes nearly ancient, but it fascinates him throughout his entire childhood and into his adult life. Once he goes off to the University of Ingolstadt he discovers the work of modern scientists. It does not take long before he has mastered everything that he has been taught by his professors. He feels there is more to learn, however, and takes a deep interest in the secret to creating and sustaining life. His work pays off and he discovers the secret. That compels him to test his discovery, which results in the creation of a grotesque monster.

The monster goes on to kill Victor’s best friend, wife, and youngest brother. Two other innocent people die as an indirect result of the monster. One of these is Victor's father. Victor is torn apart emotionally by shame, guilt, and remorse, but he refuses to admit what he has done. He sees the situation getting completely out of control but will not talk of the monster to anyone. Throughout the novel the reader can see Victor change from an innocent young man who is deeply fascinated with science to a guilt-ridden individual determined to dispose of the monster he has created. Victor cuts himself off from most of the world, which keeps him from getting the help he needs in order to do something to prevent the monster from killing anyone else. He also seems unconcerned with the monster's suffering. That makes him seem inhumane and keeps the reader from completely sympathizing with him when he starts to struggle with guilt as innocent people are killed.

The novel is unclear regarding Victor's motivation. Does he avoid the standard, public way science is conducted because he does not feel comfortable with it, or is he obsessed with the god-like power he can attain if he is able to create life? Is there some other reason he focuses so strongly on that creation but will not take ownership of...

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Essays About Frankenstein