When, how and why did Victor Frankenstein fail his creature in the novel Frankenstein?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Victor fails his creation by recoiling from it in horror and being unable to love it once it comes to life. He realizes too late that in his pride, his desire to emulate the divine, he has made a mistake.

Yet his mistake lives. As a living creature, a species of a human, the monster craves the love of his creator and the love of other human beings. Nevertheless, the horrified Victor abandons his creation. 

Victor compounds that first wrong by agreeing to make a female companion for his monster, and then destroying that female creation, fearing it will be more evil than the first monster and that a race of monsters will be born. At this point, betrayed and abandoned, the monster vows revenge, wanting to hurt his creator the way he has been hurt. 

Escaping to the solitude of the Arctic, the monster, discovered by Frankenstein, speaks to him in poignant terms.  It is difficult not to sympathize with his lonely plight:

Believe me, Frankenstein: I was benevolent; my soul glowed with love and humanity: but am I not alone, miserably alone? You, my creator, abhor me; what hope can I gather from your fellow-creatures, who owe me nothing? They spurn and hate me. The desert mountains and dreary glaciers are my refuge.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Much of Frankenstein criticism focuses on Victor Frankenstein and his abandonment of his creation, the Creature. Victor abandoned the Creature once he saw it. In volume one, chapter 5, Victor states, "Unable to endure the aspect of the being I created, I rushed out of the room." As the text continues, the Creature finds Victor, and mumbling, Victor runs away again. Victor's hostile and negative reaction toward the Creature was simply because the Creature did not look like or turn out as Victor had imagined. This abandonment of the Creature can be compared to a parent giving birth to a child, then abandoning it, which is essentially what Victor did. Why did Victor do it? Was it ego? fear? Most likely both and more. Victor's desire for power and control overtook him, and as the story continues, one could argue that the Creature's demise was because Victor had abandoned him at his most vulnerable time.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial