Reading Frankenstein by Mary Shelley has made me realize that the plot is full of many tragedies and mistakes; some greater than other. The battle seems to mostly fall between the two main characters: Victor Frankenstein and the Creature; but who is guiltier?
Let’s look at Victor Frankenstein’s side of the story first. He’s an innocent little boy who is raised very well and has a great family life growing up, until his mother passes away. Could this have sparked something in his head? Could this have created a need for passion towards something such as making a creature? As Victor gets older the knowledge he gains is put towards the mistake bringing a creature to life. Shortly following that comes another mistake, abandoning this creature. Did Victor know that it would cause horror for the future? Later throughout the novel, Victor’s brother is murdered and he knows that it isn’t the person who is being accused; Justine. He doesn’t say anything or speak up for her, and this leads to tragedy. Would it have changed if he spoke up? After, Victor meets up with the creature and is begged to bring a female version of the creature to life. Victor accepts the mission but then puts it off, knowing how much trouble it could create. Victor says himself, “I thought of Elizabeth, of my father, and of Clerval- all left behind, on whom the monster might satisfy his sanguinary and merciless passions” (Shelley 186). Victor knows the creature is now coming for his friends and family and does nothing about it. This results in the murder of his best friend Henry and his newly wed Elizabeth. Would telling his friends and family change anything? Could he have not protected them better? In anger, Victor makes it his mission to kill his creature. This leads to his last mistake. During his journey, he gets stranded in the cold but is picked up by a ship. Due to his ill conditions, he dies.
I feel that Victor’s mother’s death has a large role in Victor’s cling for knowledge. I believe he discovers something he loves to replace his love for his mother. This possibly influences him to create life. However, Victor should’ve realized the terrible (and biggest) mistake he was making. Abandoning his creature created a whole other disturbance. Victor should have realized the damage he was doing when choosing to run away from his problems. His mistakes cost others and their lives. He could have spoke up for Justine and try to prevent her death. He could have told everyone the truth and prevented many deaths. Unfortunately, Victor chose the selfish route and damaged his life, the creature’s life, his friends lives, his loved one’s lives, and many other innocent lives.
On the other hand, the creature had many mistakes of his own. After being abandoned, he lashes out and murders Victor’s brother William. Is it a reasonable thing to do for revenge? Are his actions sparked by something? He then frames an innocent girl, Justine, for murder; who is later killed for being pronounced guilty. Other mistakes are made when the creature lashes out due to the fact Victor destroyed his one wish: to make another creature so he has a companion. With anger, the creature kills Victor’s best friend Henry and his newly wed Elizabeth. Did he have the right to act out like this? He then leads Victor on a chase for months, which ends up getting Victor killed.
I believe that all of the creature’s mistakes were do to his painful life of misery, abandonment, and loneliness. These factors can make people do indescribable things, however the creature still could have made better choices and found other ways to deal with his problems. The creature says, “Do you think that I was then dead to agony and remorse? My heart was fashioned to be susceptible of love and sympathy, and when wrenched by misery to vice and hatred, it did not endure the violence of change without torture such as you cannot even imagine!” (Shelley 238).
In conclusion, I think they are both equally guilty. No matter how bad of a place you are in life at the moment, the overall decision of your actions is made by you. There are many ways to deal with your problems, and these ways could have prevented both Victor and the creature from creating mistakes and tragedies.
Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft. Frankenstein, or, The modern Prometheus. London: Titan , 2014. Print.