Frankenstein Essay, Research Paper
How to Take Responsibility for Your Newborn Monster
Throughout Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein we can see the very importance of taking care of one’s newborn monster. Only through a magnificent atrocity, such as Victor Frankenstein’s own murdering and rampaging monster, can Victor himself realize that he owes a huge amount of responsibility towards society. In the beginning of this novel Victor starts off with huge illusions of grandeur, which include his overwhelming desire to bring dead beings back to life. All that he can see is how his discoveries in this new field of science will help mankind. Victor Frankenstein neglects to realize that this monster could be an awesome burden on society as a whole. As the story unravels and the plot thickens, we see that the creator is startled and abhors his own creation. This has immense and overbearing consequences for not just Victor, but many other people as well. Mister Frankenstein shows us an initial lack of responsibility towards the human community, but later Victor shows us that he realizes his mistakes, and that he must take care of them. Towards Walton, our narrator, Victor Frankenstein shows us a great sense of responsibility right from the start. Victor’s own sense of responsibility changes throughout the novel, and he is tested many times. His senses of duty, to the narrator and community, do indeed come into conflict with each other. Victor Frankenstein, after an initial lack of responsibility, shows us that he does indeed owe a great commitment towards the human society.
As this novel starts, Victor Frankenstein is recanting his journeys and deeds to Walton, and Victor has already realized his responsibility towards the human community. He wants to tell Walton this story so he will learn a very important lesson. This is because Victor has seen that he does indeed need to show responsibility towards Walton, our narrator.
“You may easily perceive, Captain Walton, that I have suffered great and unparalleled misfortunes. I had determined at one time that the memory of the evils should die with me, but you have won me to alter my determination.
… I imagine that you may deduce an apt moral from my tale.” (15)
By saying this part, Victor tells us that he did not want to tell his stories to anybody at first, but his decision was swayed by Walton. Frankenstein has indeed seen great folly in his own deeds and wants other people to learn what not to do. Initially, in Victor’s own story, there is no sense of responsibility. The only thing that he can think of is how all of mankind will benefit from his discoveries. Although when telling his story to Walton, he tells Walton when and how he should have taken more responsibility. When the monster is filled with life, Victor finally sees that his monster is a hideous creature. He just runs away frightened, not knowing what to do with this huge ugly monster. Only when the monster talks to him does Victor understand that he is responsible for this being.
“Oh, Frankenstein, be not equitable to every other and trample upon me alone, to whom thy justice, and even thy clemency and affection, is most due. Remember that I am thy creature; I ought to be thy Adam, but I am rather the fallen angel, whom thou drivest from joy for no misdeed.” (84)
The monster clearly has been educated by someone or something, and knows that Victor Frankenstein has indeed neglected him. He gives us the metaphor with Adam and the fallen angel. This is similar to how God made man, and man turned evil after a while. God took responsibility for the creation that was his and his alone, and created the flood. He saved only good men and animals. Victor sees that the creation of the monster was his and his alone, and that, like God, he must be responsible for his actions. By this point the monster has already killed William, and Justine has killed as a result of that. The monster wants Victor to create another one that he may love and share his feelings with. Victor, seeing not only that he has this new burden of society on his shoulders but also that a new one would double that burden and wreak more havoc, decides to not create this other creature.
By deciding not to create a mate for his monster, Victor Frankenstein shows us that he knows of his true responsibility towards society. He begins to create the female version of his monster when in Scotland. He works diligently, day and night, striving to get the job done. Yet, at one point he finally sees that this can lead to only evil, no good at all, and he decides to destroy it.
“Had I right, for my own benefit, to inflict this curse upon everlasting generations? I had before been moved by the sophisms of the being I had created; I had been struck senseless by his fiendish threats; but now, for the first time, the wickedness of my promise burst upon me; I shuddered to think that future ages might curse me as their pest, whose selfishness had not hesitated to buy its own peace at the price, perhaps, of the existence of the whole human race.” (150-151)
Here we see that he has passed his test. Victor finally realizes his true responsibility towards society, and what he must do to uphold it.