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Who is is Victor Frankenstein in Frankenstein?

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educatedwoman | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 30, 2013 at 11:57 PM via web

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Who is is Victor Frankenstein in Frankenstein?

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michuraisin | Student, College Junior | Salutatorian

Posted October 1, 2013 at 1:43 AM (Answer #1)

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Victor Frankenstein is the main character in Mary Shelley's novel, Frankenstein. There tends to be a misconception that Frankenstein is the monster of the novel, but he is fact, the creator of the monster. He is first mentioned in the book as having been found on a sheet of ice by explorer Robert Walton and the crew of his ship. Once recovered, Frankenstein is able to tell his story.

Frankenstein is a young Swiss scientist from a wealthy family. He attended the University of Ingolstadt and developed an interest in creating life. Eventually, using organs of animals and humans, he is able to bring to life a creature, but it is not what he expected it to be. Due to the monstrosity of it (The Monster), Frankenstein becomes sick.

The Monster ends up killings members of Frankenstein's family, causing Frankenstein to search for his creation. When they encounter, The Monster says that if Frankenstein will create another creature, he would go away and not bother anyone. Frankenstein originally agrees, but then out of fear of having two monsters, he changes his mind. This angers The Monster, who goes on to kill Frankenstein's best friend and his wife.

Frankenstein devotes his time to finding and destroying The Monster, leading him to Walton's ship. However, he ends up dying before he could complete his mission.

When talking about Frankenstein, people ask who is the real monster? Is it the being that Frankenstein created, or is it Frankenstein himself? After all, it was Frankenstein who gave the monster life, and he could have prevented future deaths if he had made a fellow creature for The Monster.

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mattbuckley | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

Posted October 9, 2013 at 10:35 PM (Answer #2)

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Victor Frankenstein is the protagonist in Mary Shelly's classic novel Frankenstein. He comes from a wealthy family characterized by their loving and generous nature. He is discovered at the beginning of the novel on a slab of ice by an explorer named Walton who seeks a northern sailing passage to the east. Victor, after regaining his health, tells Walton his story. In the style of frame narration, we are then told this tale through Walton's recollections of it. Victor was a brilliant child and grew up into a brilliant scientist. He follows his ambition and creates life through animating dead tissue. This creature then haunts him and tortures him for his abandonment.

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William Delaney | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted May 17, 2014 at 11:06 PM (Answer #3)

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“How weird it is, the way people’s names seem to suit them--how they get a name and grow up to be like it.”

Sir Ralph Richardson, quoted in The New Yorker, 2/21/77

And that was the first time Byron remembered that he had ever thought how a man’s name, which is supposed to be just the sound for who he is, can be somehow an augur of what he will do, if other men can only read the meaning in time.

William Faulkner, Light in August

Mary Shelley hit on a wonderful name for her leading character Victor Frankenstein. When the novel was made into a classic movie starring Boris Karloff in 1931, the name Frankenstein became attached to the monster rather than to the mad scientist who created him. As Sir Ralph Richardson says in the above quote, it is often weird and uncanny the way people's names so often seem to suit them. The name Frankenstein is so perfect for the monster that it is uncanny. There is something awful, something chilling about that name. The monster truly deserves that name, not only because it seems to introduce a powerful, living-dead creature, but because he is, after all, Victor Frankenstein's son. No matter how often it is pointed out that Frankenstein is not the monster's but the scientist's name, the general public will continue to think of the monster whenever the name Frankenstein is mentioned. It is just too perfect. Students are probably intrigued by the novel because when they see the title Frankenstein, they visualize the monster and not the wimpy Victor. It was Mary Shelley, after all, not Victor, who created that monster. She seemed to draw some obscene boogie man from the depths of her unconscious along with a terrible name, which she should have attached to the monster and not to the man. 

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