What are Victor's strengths in Frankenstein by Mary Shelly?

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lusie0520 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

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Victor’s strengths are that he is intelligent, open-minded, and persistent. We know that he is intelligent because he can put together a creature from body parts and make it come alive. However, that is not the first time we see Victor’s intelligence. From a young age, he has an active, inquisitive mind that helps him accomplish his goals. “While my companion contemplated with a serious and satisfied spirit the magnificent appearances of things, I delighted in investigating their causes. (Chapter 2). His intelligence leads to persevere until he figures out how to make the creature. “I became acquainted with the science of anatomy, but this was not sufficient; I must also observe the decay and corruption of the human body” (Chapter 4).

Victor is open-minded in the sense that he sees or reads about an idea and he does not instantly reject it. “I read and studied the wild fancies of these authors with delight” (Chapter 2). He admires the ideas put forth by the authors he reads, even though these authors do not meet the approval of his father. “My dear Victor, do not waste your time upon this; it is sad trash” (Chapter 2). Later, when Victor attends college, he is discouraged by M. Krempe from studying the very same authors. Victor takes this as more of a challenge.

Victor is also persistent. Once he decides to pursue his idea, he works at it tirelessly until he makes it a reality. “So much has been done – exclaimed the soul of Frankenstein –more, far more, will I achieve, treading in the steps already marked. (Chapter 3). He works night and day to achieve his dream of making and animating the creature. His persistence is also obvious later in the novel when he chases the creature to the ends of the earth to destroy it. When Walton decides to give up and return, Victor says, “You may give up your purpose, but mine is assigned to me by heaven, and I dare not” (Chapter 24).

Victor Frankenstein is by no means a perfect man, but he is a man with redeeming qualities. It is only through these qualities that he is able to achieve the ultimate goal of actually creating and reanimating a human being.

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