What are Victor Frankenstein's weaknesses?

Expert Answers
davmor1973 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Ultimately, Victor is undone by what the ancient Greeks called hubris, or overweening pride. Frankenstein believes himself, quite rightly, to be a man of genius. Unfortunately, he lets his vanity get the better of him, abusing his enormous intellectual gifts to create a monster. His intellectual isolation from just about everyone else makes him rather lonely. In that sense, he intends the monster to be some kind of companion for him. But the relationship that Frankenstein envisages between himself and his creation is one of subordination, of domination and control. He wants more than anything else to create a race of creatures who will worship him as their lord and master. In a word, Victor wants to play God.

Victor is also guilty of astonishing recklessness. He's so dazzled by his genius and by the enormous scientific breakthrough he's made that he's unable to see the potentially dangerous consequences of his creation. In thinking purely as a scientist, he's forgotten his humanity and his sense of responsibility to the wider world. He's unleashed upon his fellow man a dangerous creature capable of leaving death and destruction in its wake.

But Victor hasn't just shown reckless disregard for humanity; he's also shown a disrespect for nature. In creating the monster he's looked upon nature through a microscope, as it were; a thing, an object to be manipulated and controlled for his own benefit. Sadly, this is an all-too-common attitude in our world, and not just among scientists. Instead of acting as custodians of creation, we often exploit it, leading to the wholesale destruction of entire species and their natural habitats. Whether it's building nuclear weapons, creating and breeding man-made viruses, or systematically pumping out co2 emissions into the atmosphere, we too have unleashed our own monsters upon the world. In that sense, Victor Frankenstein's weaknesses are frighteningly close to our own. 

danylyshen eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Victor Frankenstein's weaknesses include:

1. his over-vaulting ambition. In creating his monster and his hideous birth he hurt those around him and isolated him from the ones he loved.

2. Stubbornness. Victor was stubborn and unrelenting when the monster agreed to leave the world of man if only he had a similar mate to share his existence with.

3. His inability to assume responsibility in caring for and nurturing his creation. Things might not have turned out so horribly for Victor if only he had showered some love and attention on his creation. Instead, Victor was responsible for things turning out the way they did. If one was accepted and not abandoned, then the murders of Justine and Victor's brother wouldn't have happened.

Read the study guide:

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question