An Unfortunate Misconception: The Life Of Victor Frankenstein

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At the heart of Mary Shelly’s novel, Frankenstein, lies the life story of protagonist Victor Frankenstein. One gets an insightful glimpse into his moral character through his evolution from an innocent young man enthralled with the exciting world of science into a cynical, guilt-ridden individual determined to annihilate the fruits of his scientific experiments. Though the lasting impression of his morality might make it easy to admit that Frankenstein certainly had a few minor character flaws, based on his motives, intentions, and actions, it is almost impossible to claim that he was evil. One can imagine that unfortunate events in life such as perhaps poverty and abuse at a young age could lead to an individual taking a very grim perspective of the harsh realities of life and resorting to evil. Frankenstein was neither poor nor was his childhood one full of misery and suffering. In his own words, “No human being could have passed a happier childhood than myself. My parents were possessed by the very spirit of kindness and indulgence. We felt that they were not the tyrants to rule our lot according to their caprice, but the agents and creators of all the many delights which we enjoyed. When I mingled with families, I distinctly discerned how peculiarly fortunate was, and gratitude assisted the development of filial love” (Shelley 35). There is little from the initial description of Frankenstein’s early years that would make us think that he may turn to evil. Neither did any tragic life-changing event take place in his early years that could influence him or make him seek power. If Mary Shelley had intended to portray Frankenstein as an evil character, would she not have given him a reason to be angry with the world and lash out at it by creating a monster? In fact, Frankenstein never created his monster with the intention to harm anyone or cause destruction.

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