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What confession does Victor make to his father and how does he react?  Frankenstein...

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fushi | Valedictorian

Posted February 25, 2011 at 1:00 AM via web

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What confession does Victor make to his father and how does he react?

 

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 25, 2011 at 3:12 AM (Answer #1)

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After being released from prison because evidence is produced that shows that he was on the Orkey Islands at the time of Henry Clerval's murder, Victor is yet ridden with guilt over the deaths of William, Justine, and Henry.  After his loving father delays their departure from Ireland because Victor is so weak, they finally leave by boarding a ship bound for Havre-de-Grace very late one evening. 

With the past hovering about Victor "like a frightful dream," Victor recalls all that has happened and weeps bitterly.  When the voyage ends, Victor objects to his father's desire for him to "seek amusement in society."  But, he finally yields because he believes that Victor is still traumatized by being put in prison. But, when he tries to shake Victor out of his unreasonable pride, Victor confesses,

"...how little do you know me.  Human beings, their feelings and passions, would indeed be degraded if such a wretch as I felt pride. Justine, poor unhappy Justine, was as innocent as I, and she suffered the same charge; she died for it; and I am the cause of this--I murdered her.  William, Justine, and Henry--they all died by my hands."

Having blamed himself for the deaths of his brother and friends, Victor hears his father disputes with wonderment his claims of guilt,

"My dearest Victor, what infatuation is this?  My dear son, I entreat you never to make such as assertion again."

Victor's father believes that his son merely speaks out of his own black melancholy, which makes him feel guilty. 

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

Posted February 25, 2011 at 5:46 AM (Answer #2)

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In volume 3, chapter 5 of the novel Frankenstein, we find Victor and his father heading to Portsmouth in order to leave for Havre. Victor had finally been restored to health after his imprisonment, and after witnessing the deaths that the creature caused to avenge him.

Victor was going through a personal torment. He lived with guilt and was in consistent penitence calling himself a "murderer". After all, it was his creation that destroyed the lives of his young brother and Justine. Hence, he felt directly responsible about the havoc that the creature caused.

Victor's father questioned him as to why Victor insisted on calling himself a murderer. In vain he tried to make Victor feel like a person who deserved peace of mind. In fact, he told Victor that he was mad for even considering that.To this, Victor responded :

I am not mad,' I cried energetically; 'the sun and the heavens, who have viewed my operations, can bear witness of my truth. I am the assassin of those most innocent victims; they died by my machinations. A thousand times would I have shed my own blood, drop by drop, to have saved their lives; but I could not, my father, indeed I could not sacrifice the whole human race.'

This was an indirect confession of what he did, perhaps in hopes that he could partially liberate some of the burden that comes with a guilty conscience. Of course, his father did not understand this statement and Victor continued to keep his secret in pain and guilt.

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