In Frankenstein, how does Victor motivate the mutinous crew and what does this show about his sentiments?

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Victor motivates the mutinous crew by appealing passionately to their sense of right-mindedness and fortitude. He urges them,

"Be men, or be more than men. Be steady to your purposes and firm as a rock...Do not return to your families with the stigma of disgrace marked on your brows. Return as heroes who have fought and conquered and who know not what it is to turn their backs on the foe."

Trapped in the waters of the far north by "mountains of ice," and in "imminent danger of being crushed," the men are dying in the brutal cold. Although they had at first set out to find the monster described by Victor Frankenstein with enthusiasm, they have lost heart, and a large number of them wish only to return home if, in fact, they should ever be freed from their icy trap. These men approach Walton with mutinous intent, desiring from him a "solemn promise" that, should the opportunity arise, he will turn back home rather than continue in the quest initiated by Victor Frankenstein. It is at this moment that Victor delivers his heartfelt appeal.

Victor's speech gives evidence of his determination, sense of integrity, and singlemindedness. He is determined to find the monster, and nothing will stand in his way, not even the threat of danger and possible annihilation to himself, the captain, and crew. He has a deep understanding of the essence of integrity, appealing to the potential mutineers' nobler inclinations and challenging them to call forth their courage and fortitude in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds; his words communicate a fierce idealism and are "full of lofty design and heroism." Most of all, Victor shows himself to be unyieldingly singe-minded, which in its extremity, might be seen to go beyond the laws of reason. Victor is focused on his goal of finding the monster, to the point that he is obsessed, and unmindful of any argument that further pursuing his objective might be neither sensible nor wise (Volume 3, Chapter 7).

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