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Two quests: one of the monster seeking friendship/love, and another by Victor seeking...

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nellyb | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 15, 2009 at 4:32 PM via web

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Two quests: one of the monster seeking friendship/love, and another by Victor seeking revenge on the monster. What do quests show in the novel?

--- if all quests are indeed for the quester's learning or 'self knowledge' how does this fit in with the stated goal?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted July 15, 2009 at 9:07 PM (Answer #1)

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Sometimes, the person who undertakes a quest gains knowledge that does not always result in a better understanding of consciousness.  For example, Oedipus learns much of himself on his quest, but this does not always directly benefit him.  This is the same for King Lear.  Knowledge of self is simply that:  Knowledge and greater awareness.  Such a quest does not guarantee results, but only understanding.  Victor seeking revenge on the monster is one such quest.  Victor engages, through reflection in solitude and social perception, the understanding that he wishes to absolve himself of any and all responsibility for creating the monster.  His desire to seek revenge on the monster enhances his own sense of identity by seeing himself as separate from the monster.  Victor is a man of science, and for him, the monster's destruction was not part of the calculus or equation.  Since Victor did not intend for the results of the Monster to happen, he feels that he is not responsible for its actions.  His desire to destroy the monster, then is a realization of his hatred for what the monster did.  We do get the impression at the end of the novel, it does dawn on him that there is a personalized aspect to his quest to kill the monster/ seek revenge.  Perhaps, his desire to do so reflects his own sense of understanding of personal responsibility.  No matter what he does or what he says, Victor bears ethical and moral culpability for his "hideous progeny."   Victor possesses the understanding or the knowledge that he has a right to live his life however he wishes to do so.  He believes that the monster, whose actions were not intended, should not limit his freedom.  The monster seeking friendship or companionship is the direct result of his self awareness that he will never be accepted by society.  He comes this realization in his isolation, and understands quite openly that he is cursed and will be rejected by the social and natural order of collective society.  He seeks some type of acknowledgement because of the horror at being alone and cut off from all human interaction.  For the monster, this quest is a direct result of his knowledge that he is "different" and in a world of increasing mechanism (Industrial Revolution), differences are not accepted.  His desire for companionship is motivated out of the horror of having to live his life alone.  Pay attention to what the monster says to Victor as to why he is "owed" the creation of a companion.

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