What is Victor Frankenstein's personality and how does it reflect in the monster?

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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Victor Frankenstein in Frankenstein by Mary Shelley is often seen as a partial portrait of Percy Bysshe Shelley, the novelist's husband. What he shares in common with the poet is twofold. First he possesses a great deal of intellectual arrogance, refusing to admit the limits of human reason and thus many of his problems have to do with his having intelligence but not the wisdom to understand when he is over-reaching. While Victor is intelligent and cultured, he lacks what we would call emotional intelligence.

The monster is initially innocent, a sort of tabula rasa. The monster argues that had Victor been a better father, understanding that the monster needed empathy, that the monster would not have turned out monstrous in anything but appearance. In a sense, it is Victor's singlemindedness and disregard of humanity that results both in the harm done by the monster and the monster's monstrousness. 


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