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What are some quotes in Frankenstein that relate to Victor not being evil? This is for...

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brandih | eNotes Employee

Posted April 1, 2013 at 7:12 PM via web

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What are some quotes in Frankenstein that relate to Victor not being evil? This is for essay help, thanks!

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

Posted April 1, 2013 at 8:37 PM (Answer #1)

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Victor Frankenstein is as complex a character as it is the relationship that he develops with his creature. Circumstances have turned Victor into his own worst enemy, and the folly of an unlikely natural event sealed his fate forever. However, deep inside what we find in Victor is a man more confused than malicious. The first instance of Victor NOT being an evil man comes with his upbringing; by all means, Victor's childhood was happy, healthy, and full of love. This shows that, naturally Victor is more inclined to do good than bad. In chapter 2 he tells of his childhood

No human being could have passed a happier childhood than myself. My parents were possessed by the very spirit of kindness and indulgence. We felt that they were not the tyrants to rule our lot according to their caprice, but the agents and creators of all the many delights which we enjoyed.

However, he also tells us about the rationale behind his behaviors and, ultimately, the real reason why such a passion for discovery later on grew so wildly within: Victor was pre-determined in his nature to seek answers. He did not create the monster because he was in any way trying to defy God; he simply knew that there is something other than physical that co-exists with life. That alone shows a man who is sensitive and even spiritual.

It was the secrets of heaven and earth that I desired to learn; and whether it was the outward substance of things or the inner spirit of nature and the mysterious soul of man that occupied me, still my inquiries were directed to the metaphysical, or in its highest sense, the physical secrets of the world.

Early in the story, chapter 4, we find another incident where Victor, after his tragedy, shows true repentance and goes as far as warning his listeners about not becoming possessed of knowledge to the point that it turns you into an arrogant.

Learn from me, if not by my precepts, at least by my example, how dangerous is the acquirement of knowledge and how much happier that man is who believes his native town to be the world, than he who aspires to become greater than his nature will allow.

In chapter 22 this quote could be used to argue that Victor was more of a disturbed man than an evil man when creating the monster. This is because, as he realizes the consequences of what he had done, he does show deep and remorseful regret. Moreover, he would rather take the weight of the punishment rather than have someone else be a victim. However, he ends up having to witness his most beloved being victimized .

"Great God! If for one instant I had thought what might be the hellish intention of my fiendish adversary, I would rather have banished myself forever from my native country and wandered a friendless outcast over the earth .... the monster had blinded me to his real intentions; and when I thought that I had prepared only my own death, I hastened that of a far dearer victim."

Moreover, if we assess the amount of danger caused by either character, it would be safe to argue that, even though Victor created the creature for all the wrong reasons, he is still the one who ends up being bullied by the creature and rendered as the victim of all the hateful things that the monster does. We can award reasons for the monster to feel like it does, but the fate of both characters is, in true Gothic fashion, inevitable.

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