What are some quotations from the book Frankenstein which display Victor's guilt?

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favoritethings eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Victor tells Captain Walton,

"You seek for knowledge and wisdom, as I once did; and I ardently hope that the gratification of your wishes may not be a serpent to sting you, as mine has been." (Vol I, Letter IV)

In comparing his knowledge to a serpent, Victor seems to allude to something like guilt. Serpents are often allusions to the snake or the Devil in the Garden of Eden, which has become a symbol of temptation in Western literature, and religious allusions abound in this novel, making the connection feel quite appropriate. If Victor thinks of himself as someone who succumbed to temptation in trying to be or know more than he should, then this would imply some guilt on his part.

He later tells Walton,

"My limbs now tremble, and my eyes swim with the remembrance; but then a resistless, and almost frantic impulse, urged me forward; I seemed to have lost all soul or sensation but for this one pursuit." (Vol I, Chapter III)

In characterizing his desire to create human life in this way, with words that have such negative connotations as "resistless" and "frantic," Victor seems to imply that he feels remorse for his actions. In addition, to say that he lost his soul in the pursuit of his goal seems to be a further admission of guilt. If he lost his soul, then he lost his moral compass, his guiding star, and he knows that he behaved wrongly.

In this same section, he says, 

"If the study to which you apply yourself has a tendency to weaken your affections, and to destroy your taste for those simple pleasures in which no alloy can possibly mix, then that study is certainly unlawful, that is to say, not befitting the human mind."

Again, this indicates that Victor knows he acted badly. He says now that he knows his actions were "not befitting the human mind," or completely inappropriate for a human being to take. He knows that his pursuit of his goal hurt his relationships and changed him from someone who could appreciate what he had to someone who only wanted to achieve that one goal, and it ruined his character and spirit. His conscience is burdened by his guilt over this.

kiwi eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that Victor Frankenstein’s reactions to his creation as it comes to life epitomize his instant regrets at his attempts to play God. These quotations come from Chapter 5.                                                                                                      

How can I describe my emotions at this catastrophe, or how delineate the wretch whom with such infinite pains and care I had endeavoured to form?

 Here Victor reveals his emotion on the act of being able to imbue life as a ‘catastrophe’ – a disaster, and his creation is at first indescribable in its ugliness. He goes on-

 but now that I had finished, the beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled my heart.

 Victor explains that in the instant the creature’s life begins, the drive he had for the previous two years to celebrate his genius evaporates into revulsion. Victor flees from the creature, which follows him in search of company. As it peers into his bedchamber, Victor says –

 I beheld the wretch -- the miserable monster whom I had created.

 He has no affection for his creation, and cannot even show civility to its confused form. His disgust at its appearance is palpable-

 Oh! no mortal could support the horror of that countenance. A mummy again endued with animation could not be so hideous as that wretch. I had gazed on him while unfinished; he was ugly then; but when those muscles and joints were rendered capable of motion, it became a thing such as even Dante could not have conceived.