How does Victor behave as a “father” and in lack of a father, who or what “educates” or “instructs” the Creature in Frankenstein?

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Doug Stuva | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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In Shelley's Frankenstein, Victor isn't much of a father to the monster.  In fact, he's a terrible father/creator to the monster.

He screams and runs away the first time he sees the "monster," and in fact we get the word, monster, from Victor.  The monster disappears and Victor never searches for him, wonders about him, cares what happens to him, etc.  And Victor is revolted by the monster's appearance from the first time he sees him on.

The monster is for the most part educated by the family he spies on, Agatha and Felix, etc.  He learns language from them, including how to speak and interpret, he learns about the world, and he listens while the blind father is read to, learning literature and history.  The monster becomes very fond of this family, but when they, too, are repelled by his appearance, he is doomed to a life of loneliness.  And Victor certainly doesn't help.

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mstultz72 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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In Mary Shelley's novel gothic Frankenstein, Victor Frankenstein behaves like a "dead-beat dad," as he abandons the creature as soon as he is born.  Appalled by the creature's horrible birth, Victor treats it like an abortion, neglecting it and leaving it for dead.

In another light, Victor acts much like God after he creates Adam, leaving him in the world alone, without a father or mate.  This freedom becomes a despondent loneliness, too much for the creature to handle.  So says Enotes:

After he brings the creature to life, Victor is horrified by the creature. The creature only wants to be accepted by Victor; after Frankenstein faints and collapses on his bed, the creature tries to communicate with him, but Victor runs away, leaving the creature hopelessly alone, stranded in a confusing, hostile environment. Victor’s action stands in sharp contrast to the love and support his close friend, Clerval, offers him. Harold Bloom notes that “Frankenstein’s tragedy stems not from his Promethean excess but from his own moral error, his failure to love; he abhorred his creature, became terrified, and fled his responsibilities.” (Bloom, 6)

The creature runs to the forest, where he hides with the animals in the stable belonging to the De Lacey family, with their house attached.  Each day, as the De Lacey children receive their home-schooled lesson, the creature spies through a hole and learns to read and write.  Nature, familly, and--most importantly--language become the keys to his transformation from a hideous creature to a heroic figure.

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