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Victor Frankenstein may be the leading character in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, but a hero he is not. He is self-centered and loveless, and there is nothing heroic about him. There is a scene in Chapter twenty-four where Captain Walton is confronted by his crew to turn southwards and return home should the ice break apart and allow them the way. Frankenstein rouses himself and finds the strength to argue to the Captain that they should continue northwards, or suffer returning home "with the stigma of disgrace marked on your brows." He quite obviously has alterior motives and if he were not the eloquent, manipulative creature he so egotistically accuses his creature of being, he might not have moved the Captain and the men so much that they are blind to the true source of his passion. Unfortunately for Frankenstein, the crew, (however "moved") stand firm in their position. Yet the things he says in his motivational speech are prime examples of the extent to which Frankenstein is blind to his own faults and yet will jump at the chance to harangue others. He is so self-centered that his lack of interaction and love for others after his experiment has been completed, would barely qualify him as a person, if the difference between being human and being a person lies in the ability to have relationships with others.
One week later Frankenstein, maybe in an attempt to strum Walton's heartstrings by seeming the virtuous sufferer his melodramatic presence might falsely suggest him to be, declares, "When actuated by selfish and vicious motives, I asked you to underatake my unfinished work...," and then, "Yet I cannot ask you to renounce your country and friends to fulfil this task." It is as if he is some sort of premature proponent of reverse psychology. It seems a bit of a stretch to interpret his indecisive nature at this moment as an illumination of the conflict brewing deep within, when you consider that he has never truly demonstrated genuine concern for anyone close to him, let alone a man he only just met and befriended to further his cause. He says, "...and I renew this request now, when I am only induced by reason and virtue," and then almost in the same dying breath, "I dare not ask you to do what I think right, for I may still be misled by passion.
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