what confession does Victor make to his father ?

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M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Chapter 22 of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is set in Ireland after Victor is falsely accuse of the murder of his best friend Henry Clerval. The creature, who is the actual murderer, kills Clerval out of revenge after Victor had agreed to create a female companion for the creature only to change his mind later when he realizes that he may actually create an entire race of creatures like the monster.

As a result, the creature strangles Clerval. Victor is then taken to the magistrate where he is also imprisoned. In there, he has bouts of insanity where he calls himself a killer and where he summons for help to catch the monster. All of this is completely ignored by those around him as the ramblings of a crazy man. However, Victor receives the visit of his father, and he is quite serious in his desire of confessing to what he had done: That, in his ambitious quest for giving life to non-living things, he succeeds in a creating a killer monster. For this reason, Victor takes the blame for the fates of William, Justine and Henry as he is the creator of the monster and, by default, blames himself as if he were their killer.

“Alas! my father,” said I, “how little do you know me. Human beings, their feelings and passions, would indeed be degraded if such a wretch as I felt pride. Justine, poor unhappy Justine, was as innocent as I, and she suffered the same charge; she died for it; and I am the cause of this—I murdered her. William, Justine, and Henry—they all died by my hands.”

Mary Shelley adds depth to the confession by including the Gothic attributes of fate and inevitability to the dialogue between the Senior and younger Frankensteins. Not only does Victor blame himself, but his circumstances as a man of science who seems to have been cursed with a hunger for knowledge that surpasses that of any other typical individual. That, for this reason, he is the man singled out by the gods to carry on the horrid task of creating such a vile creature. The consequences of his desire for imitating God is that death is around all of his loved ones. This, he sees as divine punishment.

Upon this occasion my father said, with an expression of unbounded wonder, “My dearest Victor, what infatuation is this? My dear son, I entreat you never to make such an assertion again.”

“I am not mad,” I cried energetically; “the sun and the heavens, who have viewed my operations, can bear witness of my truth. I am the assassin of those most innocent victims; they died by my machinations. A thousand times would I have shed my own blood, drop by drop, to have saved their lives; but I could not, my father, indeed I could not sacrifice the whole human race.”

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