Who is is Victor Frankenstein in Frankenstein?

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“How weird it is, the way people’s names seem to suit them--how they get a name and grow up to be like it.”

Sir Ralph Richardson, quoted in The New Yorker, 2/21/77

And that was the first time Byron remembered that he had ever thought how a man’s name, which is supposed to be just the sound for who he is, can be somehow an augur of what he will do, if other men can only read the meaning in time.

William Faulkner, Light in August

Mary Shelley hit on a wonderful name for her leading character Victor Frankenstein. When the novel was made into a classic movie starring Boris Karloff in 1931, the name Frankenstein became attached to the monster rather than to the mad scientist who created him. As Sir Ralph Richardson says in the above quote, it is often weird and uncanny the way people's names so often seem to suit them. The name Frankenstein is so perfect for the monster that it is uncanny. There is something awful, something chilling about that name. The monster truly deserves that name, not only because it seems to introduce a powerful, living-dead creature, but because he is, after all, Victor Frankenstein's son. No matter how often it is pointed out that Frankenstein is not the monster's but the scientist's name, the general public will continue to think of the monster whenever the name Frankenstein is mentioned. It is just too perfect. Students are probably intrigued by the novel because when they see the title Frankenstein, they visualize the monster and not the wimpy Victor. It was Mary Shelley, after all, not Victor, who created that monster. She seemed to draw some obscene boogie man from the depths of her unconscious along with a terrible name, which she should have attached to the monster and not to the man. 

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Victor Frankenstein is the protagonist in Mary Shelly's classic novel Frankenstein. He comes from a wealthy family characterized by their loving and generous nature. He is discovered at the beginning of the novel on a slab of ice by an explorer named Walton who seeks a northern sailing passage to the east. Victor, after regaining his health, tells Walton his story. In the style of frame narration, we are then told this tale through Walton's recollections of it. Victor was a brilliant child and grew up into a brilliant scientist. He follows his ambition and creates life through animating dead tissue. This creature then haunts him and tortures him for his abandonment.

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