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Responsibility In Frankenstein

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In the novel Frankenstein, the main character, Victor Frankenstein, functions as an instrument of suffering to many of the other characters in the story. Frankenstein spends two years painstakingly constructing a creature he fully expects to be beautiful and superior to humankind. When he is faced with the reality that what he has created is grotesque and as far from humanlike as possible, he refuses to accept responsibility for his creation. Unable to be nurtured and cared for by his master, the creature is left to fend for himself in a cruel world that judges a person by appearances first. Because of his inability to interact with society and have a female of his own kind to love, Frankenstein’s creature eventually turns to murder as…show more content…
As rain fell hard against the window panes Frankenstein describes his first reaction to his creation, “How can I describe my emotions at this catastrophe…the beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled my heart” (Shelly 1831). He turns and runs in horror from the one being who should have been the most important responsibility in his life. From the very beginning, Frankenstein refuses to take responsibility for his creation. It is much later in the novel, chapter eleven, when the creature is given the opportunity to recount his helpless first days of life. The creature describes himself as “a poor helpless, miserable wretch; I knew and could distinguish nothing; but feeling pain invade me from all sides, I sat down and wept” (Shelly 1831). It is clear from this example how truly innocent the creature was when he was first created. It is obvious that Shelly is starting to paint Victor as the true monster in the reader’s mind. How could he abandon his helpless…show more content…
Unfortunately, one day he passes by a lake and does not recognize his image. The creature’s internal sense of himself (his belief) differs from his external perception of himself (Baldick 1987). Suddenly, he sees himself as other do—as a monster. Still, in hopes of being accepted by humans, the creature saves a young girl from drowning. For his efforts he was shot by the girl’s father. Next, the creature comes upon the De Lacy family where he actually lives for several years learning to speak and read by watching the family. He bravely approaches the blind father of that family praying to be accepted by someone who would see him for who he is on the inside instead of what he looks like. Sadly, the father’s family returns and beats the creature and chases him away. Even young William Frankenstein, whom the creature feels may be too young to judge someone by their appearance calls the creature a monster and an ogre. William becomes the creature’s first murder victim. All this goes to point out Johann Lavater and Johann Spurzhems’s contemporary theories of physiognomy and phrenology—the assumption that the external human form accurately manifests one’s internal moral qualities (Mellor). The creature is no longer innocent. He is becoming what Victor Frankenstein created, a monster. This further goes to show Frankenstein failed in his duties to his
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