What is said in Chapter 9 of Frankenstein about "immoderate grief?"

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Victor Frankenstein's father tries to counsel his son when he sees the extremity of his son's reaction to the deaths of William and Justine.  The elder Frankenstein says,

"Is it not a duty to the survivors that we should refrain from augmenting their unhappiness by an appearance of immoderate grief?  It is also a duty owed to yourself, for excessive sorrow prevents improvement or enjoyment, or even the discharge of daily usefulness, without which no man is fit for society".

Victor in actuality longs to be able to follow his father's advice to temper his grief for the benefit of himself and those around him, but he feels that it is "totally inapplicable to (his) case".  Unbeknownst to anyone else, Victor carries with him the burdens of "remorse" and "terror" along with his grief, because he alone knows that, with the creation of the monster, he has played a significant if inadvertent part in the circumstances behind William's and Justine's deaths.  With the awareness that he is "not in deed, but in effect...the true murderer" of the two, Victor is overwhelmed by

"a weight of despair and remorse...which nothing (can) remove...sleep (flees) from (his) eyes...(he) wander(s) like an evil spirit, for (he has) committed deeds of mischief beyond description horrible...(Victor is) seized by remorse and the sense of guilt, which hurrie(s) (him) away to a hell of intense tortures such as no language can describe" (Chapter 9).

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Frankenstein

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