English 2 Honors
October 27, 2017
Man is the True Monster
Science is a broad field which covers many aspects of everyday life and existence. Some areas of science include the study of the universe, the environment, dinosaurs, animals, and insects. Another popular science is the study of people and how they function. In the novel Frankenstein, Victor Frankenstein is an aspiring scientist who studies the dead. His one goal in life was to be the first man to give life to a dead human being. After working months in isolation, he achieved his goal. However, upon looking at his creation, he abandoned it. The monster, now not having any sort of guidance, aimlessly walks around and tries to learn for himself how to survive. As a result of Victor abandoning his parenting role, the monster was shunned by humanity, and grew a deep hatred for them, especially Victor. Through his selfishness, ambition, and pursuit of knowledge, Victor makes it clear that he is the one responsible for all the bad actions that occur throughout the novel.
Victor is driven by selfish purposes. He does not wish to create the monster in any way to help people, or for the purposes of medical research, but for the purpose of glory and fame. Victor was so driven in his quest for glory, that he thought by bringing someone back from the dead, “…[he]would pioneer a new way, explore unknown powers, and unfold to the world the deepest mysteries of creation” (Shelly 53). However, upon laying eyes on his creation for the first time, Victor felt that his dream of glory “…vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled [his] heart” (Shelly 60). Victor was so obsessed in his quest to become a god amongst men, (foresight) that he completely abandoned his creation, because he felt that his dreams had now been crushed upon its hideousness. Due to his selfish actions on that day, he brought chaos and suffering upon himself and all who he cared about.
Countless times throughout the novel, Victor shows that he is a coward, and does not take responsibility for his actions. A prime example of when this is displayed is the trial of Justine, a friend of Elizabeth who is being framed by the monster for the murder of his brother, William. Victor knows that the monster has committed this crime, but does not speak a word throughout the entire ordeal. Justine gave her defense to the court, but the jury and the judge were not convinced, and when Victor “…heard the popular voice…had already condemned [his] unhappy victim, I rushed out of the court in agony” (Shelly 81). Victor decided to run out of the court, and let Justine suffer rather than tell the court who he really thought was responsible for the murder. He abandoned Justine just as he did his creation that night in November, and because of Victor’s cowardice, the innocent Justine was executed. Victor even acknowledges the fact that he is truly the one responsible, as he even states that “…[he] not in deed but affect was the true murderer…” (Shelly 88). Victor’s silence is just as evil as the monster killing William, because if Victor had the courage to speak up, Justine’s life may have been spared that day.
Perhaps the most recognizable event of Victor’s selfishness is when Victor refuses to make his monster a companion. One of the reasons that he chose to do this was because he did not want to waste months, and even years, in labor again. The monster had promised Victor that “…if [he] consented, neither you nor any other human being shall ever see us again” (Shelly 129). Victor yet again shows that he has little to no sympathy or feelings for anyone but himself. If Victor had consented to the monster’s demands, the monster would have left with his new companion, and never again come into contact with humans ever again. Victor shows doubts about the monster’s word, but the minster swears on his dying breath to not curse his maker. However, if Victor declined or failed to create him his companion, the monster would kill everyone he loved and held close to him. Victor accepts, but later destroys the female companion, enraging the monster. Even after destroying the monster, Victor is still only concerned that “[he] will die under the grasp of the daemon which [he] created” (Shelly 147). He had no care for what the monster would do to anyone who he loved, such as his father, Elizabeth, or Clerval. The monster then would proceed to go on a rage and vengeance filled rampage, killing his best friend Henry Clerval and his beloved wife Elizabeth. Again, because Victor did not care about anything other than his own miseries, by destroying the female companion, he lost everyone he held close to him, and yet again is responsible for the deaths of more people.
Victor Frankenstein shows that he is the true monster of the book because his selfishness, and quest for knowledge causes him to abandon those he loves. Victor is driven to create new life not for the purposes of scientific study or to help anyone, but only for glory and fame. Victor is also a coward, who does not have the courage to speak and save Justine when he is certain the monster is responsible for the murder of William. His act of silence is just as evil as the monster’s murder, because his silence is the reason the innocent Justine was wrongfully put to death. Victor’s pursuit of knowledge put in motion a series of disastrous events that would lead to the demise of all his loved ones, himself, and even the monster. By casually reading the novel through the perspective of Victor, one is inclined to believe the monster is the villain of the story. However, one must read deeper and use reason to truly understand who the real monster is, man or creature? Here, we can clearly see that man is the true monster of Frankenstein.