What is the significance of the line "I ardently wished to extinguish that life which I had so thoughtlessly bestowed" in Chapter 9 of Frankenstein?It would be helpful if anyone could comment on...

What is the significance of the line "I ardently wished to extinguish that life which I had so thoughtlessly bestowed" in Chapter 9 of Frankenstein?

It would be helpful if anyone could comment on the significance of parent-child relationships in this line and/or chapter. Thanks!

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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In chapter nine, of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Victor has returned home, after hearing of the death of his brother, William, through a letter written by his father. Since his return, Justine, another of Victor's pseudo-siblings, has been found guilty of the death of William and has been hung. Looking back upon what has happened, Victor begins to reflect upon his creature.

My abhorrence of this fiend cannot be conceived. When I thought of him, I gnashed my teeth, my eyes became inflamed, and I ardently wished to extinguish that life which I had so thoughtlessly bestowed. When I reflected on his crimes and malice, my hatred and revenge burst all bounds of moderation.

Here, Victor is finally realizing the consequences of his actions. Without creating the creature, Victor would not be facing the travesties he is facing (the deaths of William and Justine) and those he will face (the deaths of Elizabeth, Clerval, and his father). The actions of the creature have caused Victor to wish he (the creature) had never been "born."

As for what this alludes to regarding parent-child relationships, it speaks to the fact that Victor has come to a place where he cannot accept his "child" any longer. He would rather his "child" be dead than live. Victor, in a sense, is referring to the modern day cliche: "I gave you life and I can take it away."

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