Describe how Frankenstein is dealing with his guilt. He wanted knowledge, and now he has it.  What are the consequences of his knowledge and its effects?

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favoritethings eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Victor never really finds a good way to deal with his guilt.  In fact, he vacillates between feeling that he has done everything wrong and feeling that he has actually done nothing wrong. He comes to think of his knowledge as something that he would have been much happier without.  He tells Captain Walton,

"Learn from me [...] 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."

He comes to think of the acquisition of knowledge as harmful to one's happiness; a person who stays at home and knows only his/her home is ultimately much more content that someone who seeks knowledge outside of it.  

Victor once thought that he would "pour a torrent of light into our dark world," but now he feels that to "pursue nature to her hiding places" was a terrible mistake.  It made him forget what was truly important in his life -- namely, his family -- and he began to focus on unnatural things that forced his "human nature [to] turn [away] with loathing" from his occupations. He refers to his knowledge and creation as a "catastrophe," and "disgust filled [his] heart" as a result.  He also tells Walton,

"If the study to which you apply yourself has a tendency to weaken your affections, and to destroy your taste for those simple pleasures in which no alloy can possibly mix, then that study is certainly unlawful, that is to say, not befitting the human mind."

Thus, he feels that his knowledge has reduced his ability to benefit from "simple pleasures"; he knows things that he should not know, and now he can never un-know them.

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Frankenstein

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