How is ambition presented throughout Frankenstein?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, ambition is presented as all-consuming and dangerous.

Ambition is Victor’s tragic flaw, and it leads to the unraveling of his health and life. He is so preoccupied with accomplishing his goal of creating life, he becomes obsessed and does not care about anything or anyone else. His health begins to deteriorate, and he isolates himself from his loved ones. He has tunnel vision and is only concerned with realizing his ambitious dream.

The creature represents the consequence of Victor’s ambition and hubris. He becomes enraged when Victor abandons him and further enraged when Victor fails to create a female companion for him. The creature’s existence and demand for a companion put a physical and psychological strain on Victor.

By the conclusion of the story, the creature has killed many of the people closest to Victor, including his best friend, brother, and wife. Victor spends much of the rest of his life fleeing from his creation. His dying regret is not being able to destroy the creature before his passing.

In the end, Victor loses everything, including his health, sanity, loved ones, and life, because of his ambition. Frankenstein is a cautionary tale that warns us of the dangers of ambition and seeking forbidden knowledge.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on