What keeps Victor Frankensein from killing himself in Chapter 9 of Frankenstein?

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Victor is feeling very guilty over Justine's execution, as well he might. He knows that it was the Monster and not Justine who killed his younger brother William. Despite Victor's best efforts to save her, Justine has gone to the gallows for a crime she didn't commit. Frankenstein is...

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Victor is feeling very guilty over Justine's execution, as well he might. He knows that it was the Monster and not Justine who killed his younger brother William. Despite Victor's best efforts to save her, Justine has gone to the gallows for a crime she didn't commit. Frankenstein is plunged into the pit of despair by Justine's death and seriously contemplates committing suicide. But Victor's pulled back from the brink by thinking of his family.

Once again, Shelley highlights the moral complexity of her protagonist, showing us that, in spite of everything he's done, Victor still has admirable character traits with which we can identify. He clearly loves his father, brother, and Elizabeth deeply, and simply cannot contemplate the terrible prospect of leaving them behind to an uncertain fate. Committing suicide may well put an end to Victor's despair, but he also knows that it will cause great suffering to those left behind to pick up the pieces.

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Having endured the death of his younger brother and then the wrongful punishment of Justine which results in her death, Chapter Nine begins by expressing how Victor, feeling incredibly guilty and responsible for these deaths, withdraws from his family and society in general. He is so miserable, in fact, that he contemplates killing himself. However, what stops him from doing so is a feeling of responsibility towards those loved ones whom he would leave behind. He then sees that suicide, though satisfying for himself, would selfishly leave Elizabeth and his father and suriving brother unprotected. Note what he says to justify his reasoning:

Should I by my base desertion leave them exposed and unprotected to the malice of the fiend whom I had let loose among them?

Note how Victor himself sees how selfish suicide would be, calling it a 'base desertion.' He clearly realises that, having given the creature life, he must bear some responsibility towards ensuring that nobody else is hurt as a result of its anger and rage.

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