In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, innocence is destroyed by all that Victor Frankenstein does when he plays God and creates life. Most of the educators at Victor's school believe that he is involving himself in the unethical pursuits of "science." Victor pays no attention to the cautionary advice he is offered: he only listens to Waldman, the professor who tells Victor what he wants to hear.
Victor discovers how to reanimate dead flesh—to give it life—forgetting everything else. Only when the creature wakes does Victor have regrets. He flees from the creature, which, like a newborn child, must try to survive in a world that abhors him because of how he looks. The monster is very lonely, and (unknowingly) meets Victor's younger brother, William. He believes a child would not have had the opportunity to hate that which looks unpleasant—for this is something learned from society. However, William is frightened and threatens him.
‘Hideous monster! let me go. My papa is a Syndic—he is M. Frankenstein— he will punish you. You dare not keep me.’
‘Frankenstein! you belong then to my enemy—to him towards whom I have sworn eternal revenge; you shall be my first victim.’
The creature kills the boy, and the child is the creature's first murder of vengeance—of an innocent child.
The creature plants a miniature portrait on Justine who is out searching for William, as she is sleeping in a barn. When she is found, the miniature is used (as the creature intended) to implicate Justine in the child's murder. Upon her execution, the creature has destroyed yet another innocent victim.
The creature convinces Victor to make a mate for him so that he will no longer be alone. He promises that he and his mate will abandon society and live in the wilderness where they will never see humans again. Victor agrees, feeling remorse: it is, after all, his responsibility for creating the monster and leaving him alone in the world. However, as Victor works, he becomes so disgusted by what he is doing, that he takes all the materials he has gathered and throws them away. Seeing this, the creature strikes again: the next innocent victim is Clerval. After a storm, Victor is found close to an unidentified corpse. Brought in front of the judge, it is seeing the identity of the victim that causes Victor to collapse, senseless:
The examination, the presence of the magistrate and witnesses, passed like a dream from my memory, when I saw the lifeless form of Henry Clerval stretched before me. I gasped for breath; and, throwing myself on the body, I exclaimed, “Have my murderous machinations deprived you also, my dearest Henry, of life?"
Finally, though the monster warns Victor that he will be with him on his wedding night, Victor marries Elizabeth anyway. And as promised, on that night the creature kills Victor's bride. Victor begins his quest to kill the monster at that moment.
Victor loved all of these people. They knew nothing of the creature—they were innocents. However, at one time Victor was an innocent young man also, but pursued forbidden and dangerous knowledge, that robbed him of his innocence. Victor leaves his innocence behind. The others are innocent victims of Victor's work.
It may be noted that Walton, who listens to Victor tell his story, is ready to take innocent lives in his quest to discover new arctic territories. However, Victor's experiences stop Walton: he does not sacrifice the innocent for his personal gain. And he lives.