In Chapter 5 of Frankenstein, why does Victor work so hard to bring the Creature to life only then for it to become abhorrent to him?

1 Answer | Add Yours

accessteacher's profile pic

accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

The way in which this text is so bound up with the idea of there being limits to our knowledge or achievements as humans is crucial to this answer. Both Frankenstein and Walton are shown to have embarked on quests to delve beyond what, the author suggests, are God-given limits to our understanding and achievements. The frenzy and diligence with which Frankenstein embarks on his quest to create life is therefore matched with his realisation at the profound wrongness of what he has done when he achieves success. Note how Chapter Five describes this:

I had worked hard for nearly two years, for the sole purpose of infusing life into an inanimate body. For this I had deprived myself of rest and health. I had desired it with an ardour that far exceeded moderation; but now that I had finished, the beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled my heart.

The author of this great novel thus uses Frankenstein's gut reaction of disgust to suggest that what he has actually achieved is profoundly wrong in terms of trespassing beyond the limits given to us as humans. The kind of dedication and sacrifice that Frankenstein makes in order to pursue this discovery is also shown to be questionable through the way that he becomes so focused and obsessed on this experiment that he forgets even his own needs, and ignores his family. The abhorrence he feels thus indicates the way that he recognises he has gone too far.

We’ve answered 318,983 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question