Frankenstein Questions and Answers
by Mary Shelley

Frankenstein book cover
Start Your Free Trial

Frankenstein Tragic Hero

How is Frankenstein a tragic hero?

Expert Answers info

Mike Walter eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2012

write1,473 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and History

To consider Victor Frankenstein’s status as a tragic hero, we have to look not only at Frankenstein’s character, but also at the intent of the author, Mary Shelley.

Obviously Victor Frankenstein meets a tragic end as a result of a tragic character flaw—he dies pursuing the monster that he created out of his own misguided attempt to manipulate nature by endeavoring to do something man was never meant to do—create life.

However, once Victor has created this life—the grotesque monster that humanity finds so frightening—another character flaw emerges. The monster is not inherently evil; it tries to find human companionship and even bestows kindness on others, but it simply cannot find acceptance, even from its creator. If Victor had been able to engage in an appropriate relationship with his creation he might have still been able to consider the experiment a success. But instead, he cannot...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 461 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

amy cloer, M.A. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseTeacher (K-12)

bookM.A. from University of North Georgia


calendarEducator since 2006

write361 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

check Approved by eNotes Editorial


gsenviro | Student

Victor Frankenstein, the main protagonist of Mary Shelley's cautionary novel Frankenstein, is a tragic hero who had been rewarded with everything a person could desire, but lost it all due to his choices. Born in a wealthy family, loved by all (friends, family) and highly gifted, Victor forgoes his family and friends for his desire to dabble with nature. When he finally succeeds in giving life, he creates a monster - not so much by experimentation, but by the lack of care and affection that he should have given the creature. When the creature begins exacting his revenge by murdering Victor's family members and friend, he cannot even tell anybody who is the real murderer for fear of being labeled mad. Finally when the creature kills Victor's beloved on the night of his wedding, he realizes that he has lost everything that ever mattered to him and leaves in search of the monster to finally destroy him once and for all. He dies in this pursuit. From someone who had everything, choices and desires lead him to become one who had nothing, absolutely nothing - what a tragedy.