In Frankenstein, is Victor responsible for his fate, or is he a victim of fate?

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, a question regarding Victor's fate can be defined in two very distinctive ways.

One definition of fate, according to, is "the universal principle or ultimate agency by which the order of things is presumably prescribed." In this sense, Victor could not be deemed responsible for his fate. While Victor made the choice to create the creature, toiling to create a being with which he took great care in choosing the parts used to make the creature whole, his fate was predetermined. Therefore, even though Victor created the creature which caused the deaths of those he loved, and eventually Victor's own death, Victor could not be considered responsible for his fate. He is a victim of fate.

Another definition defines fate as "death, destruction, or ruin." Based upon this definition, Victor is responsible for his own fate. It was Victor's choice, or more exactly his obsession, which supported his desire to reanimate life. If he would not have been successful, the creature would not have existed. If the creature would not have existed, the creature would not have been able to kill William, Henry Clerval and Elizabeth and be responsible for the deaths of Justine, Victor's father, and Victor. Therefore, Victor's creation of the creature insured "death, destruction, and ruin."


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