In Frankenstein, how is Victor's remorse personified?

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gpane | College Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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The first terrible event to befall Victor – the murder of his little brother William and Justine’s conviction for the murder – causes him to be quite overcome with anguish. He himself is convinced (quite rightly, as it turns out) that his creature killed William, but this is not something he can confess in court as it will simply not be credited. There is no way to help the hapless Justine, who is convicted on circumstantial evidence. When the guilty verdict is passed, Victor simply cannot bear it and rushes out of the court:

The tortures of the accused did not equal mine; she was sustained by innocence, but the fangs of remorse tore my bosom and would not forgo their hold. (chapter 8)

Victor’s remorse is here personified as a wild, savage animal with ‘fangs’ to unceasingly gnaw at his heart. This image helps to illustrate the intensity of his emotions. He will never again be free from such feelings, as he bitterly repents of having ever created the monster at all, which from the first he imagines as a terrible fiend that he has let loose upon the world.

However, while it is true that the monster did indeed kill William and goes on to commit further wicked acts, Frankenstein is also to blame, not just for creating the monster, but for refusing to take some measure of responsibility for him as his creator. In fact the monster, we learn, was originally innocent and inclined to do good, but, being shunned by one and all, and especially by his creator, he became malevolent.

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