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Could you help me to find quotes that prove Victor's mental instability when creating...

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moveslikeswagger | Student, Grade 10 | eNoter

Posted January 1, 2013 at 1:29 AM via web

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Could you help me to find quotes that prove Victor's mental instability when creating his creature in Mary Shelly's Frankenstein.

I need quotes that prove Victor's mental instability when he was working on his creature and right before it came to life. 

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Michelle Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted January 2, 2013 at 5:03 PM (Answer #1)

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Chapters IV and V of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, focus on Victor's creation of the monster, as well as on Victor's overall state of mind as a result of his obsession with infusing this body that he has created out of dead body parts, with life. The reader can witness, from Victor's own words, that he was indeed what he calls "a different man" during this avid time where his ambition and obsession seem to have taken the best of him.

First, in chapter IV, Victor explains how his obsession begins by saying that, at first, he absorbed the teachings with the same interest as any other student. However, he also says that slowly his ambition

gained strength as I proceeded, and soon became so ardent and eager that the stars often disappeared in the light of morning whilst I was yet engaged in my laboratory.

This is the first instance of Victor's slowly-growing mental instability. He continues further one stating the fervor that was born out of this desire to give life. Even Victor, who is speaking in past tense in remembrance of this unhappy time, admits that something was indeed very wrong when his hunger for creating life became bigger and more possessive of him.

No one can conceive the variety of feelings which bore me onwards, like a hurricane, in the first enthusiasm of success.[] ... A new species would bless me as its creator and source; many happy and excellent natures would owe their being to me.

Also in chapter IV we find how Victor describes the self-made laboratory where he was working day and night until bringing himself to illness; he talks of body parts laying around, of the massive creature laying in the middle, of objects of labor, blood, and unimaginably gruesome views that even make Victor shriek when looking back. The one thing that is consistent is that Victor is clear in how his mind and body were completely taken over by the task. 

My limbs now tremble and my eyes swim with the remembrance; but then a resistless, and almost frantic, impulse urged me forward; I seemed to have lost all soul or sensation but for this one pursuit.

It is in chapter V, however that Victor, after having isolated himself from friends and family alike, finally gets his wish granted. It is also the moment when Victor realizes exactly the extent of his experiment; it is the wake up call that Victor needed to finally come to realize exactly how gruesome, unethical, and abnormal his actions were.

How can I describe my emotions at this catastrophe, or how delineate the wretch whom with such infinite pains and care I had endeavoured to form?

Victor laments the creation of the monster, realizes the insane strength that moved his actions, and he explains conclusively that he basically wasted his time and health in the endeavour of creating life. This is because, as he sees the horrid looks of the creature, he also realizes that he, and only he, is responsible for it.

For this I had deprived myself of rest and health. 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.

From that moment on, Victor's life becomes nothing but a never-ending race to escape his own creation.

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