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Frankenstein Out of Class Essay

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Critic Northrop Frye says, “Tragic heroes tower as the highest points in their human landscape that they seem the inevitable conductors of the power about them, the great trees more likely to be struck by lightning than a clump of grass. Conductors may of course be instruments as well as victims of the divine lightning”. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein greatly exhibits the theme of the consequence of knowledge and irresponsibility among others through its tragic hero, Victor Frankenstein. Northrop Frye’s quote is certainly true when looking at Frankenstein’s situation. Victor is a victim of his divine lightning, and ultimately causes much trouble for himself; however, Victor also serves as the tragic hero in the lives of the monster, his family, and his friends.
As a tragic hero, Victor’s tragedies begin with his overly obsessive thirst for knowledge. Throughout his life, Victor has always been looking for new things to learn in the areas of science and philosophy. He goes so far with his knowledge that he ends up creating a living creature. Victor has extremely high expectations for his creation but is highly disappointed with the outcome. He says, “I had desired it with an ardour that far exceeded moderation; but now that I had finished, the beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled my heart” (Shelley 35). Frankenstein neglects the creature because of his horrifying looks, which spark the beginning of numerous conflicts and tragedies. At this point, the creature becomes a monster because of Victor’s neglect and irresponsibility. The monster is forced to learn to survive on his own, without anyone or anything to guide him along the way. Plus, the monster’s ugly looks cause society to turn against him, ad...

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...ou, Clerval, my friend, my benefactor—’” (Shelley 129). Victor feels guilty for the actions of his creation but is too much of a coward to confess to anyone about what he has done. His selfishness and secrecy cause his friends to suffer and also make him a tragic hero within the novel.
In conclusion, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein shows readers how irresponsibility and the excessive need for knowledge can cause suffering among others as well as oneself. Victor never intends to cause such harm; however, he is not cautious and observant with his actions, which ultimately leads to his classification as a tragic hero. The desire to learn is most definitely a wonderful trait to have, as long as one’s knowledge doesn’t reach the extent that Victor Frankenstein’s unfortunately does.

Works Cited

Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. Mineola: Dover Publications, Inc., 1994. Print.
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