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What is Alphonse's advice to Victor about William and Justine's deaths?Chapter 9 of...

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em11 | Student | (Level 1) Honors

Posted March 18, 2012 at 10:51 AM via web

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What is Alphonse's advice to Victor about William and Justine's deaths?

Chapter 9 of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted March 18, 2012 at 11:23 AM (Answer #1)

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As Victor Frankenstein is ridden with guilt over the untimely deaths of his brother William and poor Justine, whom he could have saved by admitting his creation, Victor's father, Alphonse Frankenstein, observes the "alteration perceptible in [his] disposition and habits," and endeavors to ignite courage and fortitude in Victor, instructing his son, relinquish his moroseness and become occupied with nobler endeavors,

"...is it not a duty to the survivors, that we should refrain from augmenting their unhappiness by an appearance of immoderate grief?  It is also a duty owed to yourself; for excessive sorrow prevents improvement or enjoyment, or even the discharge of daily usefulness, without which no man is fit for society."

However, Victor cannot follow his father's advice since much of his sorrow is remorse over his being the instrument of the death of the two innocent victims of his creature.  Clearly, his father's words contain a bitter irony to Victor Frankenstein, who cannot retrieve peace as easily as his father suggests. He narrates,

Remorse extinguished every hope.  I had been the author of unalterable evils; and I lived in daily fear, lest the monster whom I had created should perpetrate some new wickedness....There was always scope for fear, so long as anything I loved remained behind.

And, even though Victor feels guilt for his being responsbile for the tragic deaths of William and Justine, he yet cannot confess his terrible and ungodly act of having created his "monster."  Instead, he selfishly lives in fear for himself while fearing for those he loves.

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