Loss of Innocence in Frankenstein

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Loss of Innocence in Frankenstein

In the novel "Frankenstein," Victor Frankenstein is the creator of a "monster." Because of his thirst for knowledge, he goes too far and creates a huge monster, which he immediately rejects. This rejection plays a major part in the monster's hatred for humans. The author, Mary Shelley, supports the theme, loss of innocence, through plot, setting and characterization. This paper will explain the many ways that the characters lost their innocence throughout the novel.

The plot deals with the conflict that is inside Victor Frankenstein, who produces a monstrous creature. Victor is disgusted at the site of the creature he has created. "I had gazed on him while unfinished; he was ugly then, but when those muscles and joints were rendered capable of motion, it became a thing such as even Dante could not have conceived"(43). After Victor rejects the monster, he meets a family that brings out his sensitive side. When these people reject him, the creature destroys everything in sight. "I was like a wild beast that had broken the toils, destroying the objects that obstructed me and ranging through the wood with a staglike swiftness"(121). The innocent Justine is accused of a murder, committed by the creature, and dies, therefore increasing Victor's feelings of guilt and his need for revenge. Victor makes it his mission to destroy the monster, who has been ruining his life. The monster threatens to be there with Victor on his wedding night. Victor interprets this as a threat against his own life, but instead finds his wife, Elizabeth, murdered. "She was there, lifeless and inanimate, thrown across the bed, her head hanging down and her pale and distorted features half covered by her hair"(179). The next paragraph discusses how loss of innocence was portrayed through setting.

When Victor is seventeen, he leaves for the University of Ingolstadt, where he spends six years. He creates the monster in an old deserted house in this city. It is when he rejects the monster that he begins to lose innocence. "I did not dare return to the apartment which I inhabited, but felt impelled to hurry on, although drenched by the rain which poured from a black and comfortless sky"(44).
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