is the true villain in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein because of his selfishness,
his disregard for humanity, and his obsession with playing God. Victor devalued
his creation’s life for personal gain, which led inevitably to his own great
personal suffering and the suffering of those close to him. The tragedy of
Victor Frankenstein and the tragedy of his creature is the same – it is the
tragedy of loneliness and confronting the world. The creature would have never
become a monster if it got the love it strived for. Victor Frankenstein would
have never converted his creature into a monster if he knew how to love and
take responsibility for the ones we bring to this world.
“My sister’s in pain, and I’m relieved. What does that
say about me?” (Picoult 61).
It is often argued that rather than Victor being the
monster, the creature is the real monster. Of course, this is true when the
creature ruthlessly murders William and inevitably pins the blame on Justine. However,
the creature only acts out of violence because of the way society has rejected
him. The creature wishes nothing but pain and destruction upon his creator throughout
the novel all with good reason. Victor took
the first step into turning the creature less human by running away. If Victor
had not of abandoned his creature at first sight, maybe the creature would never
have had to act the way he did. Since Victor created the creature, he is
indirectly the cause of everything that has happened.
Victor is only concerned for his own
life that he completely forgets about his newly bride, Elizabeth. He is flabbergasted
that his creature murders Elizabeth and not him; even though that is precisely what
Victor did when he demolished his female creature who would have been the
creature’s companion. Throughout the novel Victor tries to hide the creature
from Elizabeth’s knowledge, not once thinking of her safety and only caring about
her not loving him as much. Due to Victor’s
selfishness, it is not hard to feel sorry for his creature.
“She was there,
lifeless and inanimate, thrown across the bed, her head hanging down, and her
pale and distorted features half covered by her hair. Everywhere I turn I see
the same figure – her bloodless arms and relaxed form flung by the murderer on
its bridal bier. Could I behold this and live?” (Shelley 193).
“Justine also was a girl of merit and
possessed qualities which promised to render her life happy; now all was to be
obliterated in an ignominious grave, and I was the cause!” (Shelley 66). Victor admits to himself that he is culpable for Justine’s
death. However, he thinks he was responsible because he created the creature,
not that he withheld crucial information. Even
after he learns that it was his creature who has committed all the awful acts
in town, Victor cowardly allows Justine to take the blame for William’s murder.
is also to blame for Elizabeth’s, his wife’s, death. Victor describes the scene
when he founds her body as:
Victor is naturally a very selfish
most selfish act stems from the murder of his brother William. Victor is fully
aware that it is his creation that has murdered William, yet he does not
confess. He withholds knowledge that could have spared Justine’s, the servant,
Unfortunately, Victor is
revolted by his creation and, unlike God, cannot handle the repercussions. Victor defies the power of God
with his obsession of controlling life and death.
Once the creature discovers that even his own creator is
horrified by his existence, he increasingly despairs about his position in the
world. He faces the tragedy of his existence –
that he was made human on the inside, but without the capacity for fellowship
“Accursed creator! Why did you form a
monster so hideous that even you turned
from me in disgust? God, in pity, made man beautiful and alluring, after his
own image, but my form is a filthy type of yours, more horrid even from the very
resemblance” (Shelley 130).
Since an early age, Victor had always been curious with life and
death; and as he matured it invested into obsession. Victor
believes that “a new species would bless me as its
creator and source; many happy and excellent natures would owe their being to
me” (Shelley 52). One can see from this how Victor sees himself and his
creation. Not only does he build up his own ego
thinking his creature will worship him, but he also makes himself out to be a human
god. He reveled in creating new life
that would look to him as a creator.
Victor’s complete disregard for humankind
is the reason behind everything that goes wrong in the novel. From
the start Victor does not once think about the creature as a human being, only
a piece in his game. Victor does not regard the consequences that may come in
the future when creating his creature: “Nor could I
consider the magnitude and complexity of my plan as any argument of its
impracticability. It was with these feelings that I began the creation of a
human being” (Shelley 51). Victor’s decision
to create this creature even after thinking carefully of all that could go
wrong shows how immoral and corrupt he is becoming. Not once while he was gathering
body parts for his creature did he think of the souls’ whose remains he perverted.
Victor states: “I could hardly believe that so
great a good fortune could have befallen me; but when I became assured that my
enemy had indeed fled, I clapped my hands for joy, and ran down to Clerval”
(Shelley 59). When the creature had
disappeared, Victor did not care what had happened. Once the creature
is created, Victor abandons it, and he leaves it to fend for himself. Victor’s
disinclination to accept that what he did will have consequences not only for
him, but for others too, demonstrates his disrespect for humanity. Victor does not
consider the consequences when it comes to his actions, nor does he think of others.
“Life isn’t nearly as stable as we want
it to be” (Picoult 380).
Although Victor Frankenstein said to be
creating his creature for the advancement of humankind, it’s more probable that
he did so out of egotism, and his desire to become godlike. Since a young
age, Victor’s interests fall into the category of chemistry; mainly that of the
balance between life and death. While at the University of Ingolstadt in Germany, Victor becomes obsessed with
the idea of reanimating life out of inanimate objects. Victor seemed to think
that by creating this “new human” he would be doing humanity a service. However,
this is not the case. In Jodi Picoult’s My Sister’s Keeper, a young girl is
suing her parents for the rights of her body.
Victor’s creation in this
novel is not a monster. He is a being that has been misguided and rejected by
society. The creature is not a real monster. It is just a victim. The creature did not begin its life as a
monster but became one after Victor Frankenstein rejected it and refused to
realize that he must take care of this creature from now and forever and be responsible.
The creature was born defenseless in this world. Victor ran away for the
Creature was ugly, but the Creature did not have any cruel intentions for being
as a newborn it was evil-free. The Creature did not do anything bad. The
creature did not come into this world on its own accord. The first feeling the
creature was met with was rejection. His complete disregard for
humankind, obsession with playing God, and his selfishness throughout the novel
are all evidence as to why Victor Frankenstein is the true villain in the