Why does Frankenstein create the Monster?
Frankenstein believes that by creating the Monster, he can discover the secrets of “life and death,” create a “new species,” and learn how to “renew life.” He is motivated to attempt these things by ambition. He wants to achieve something great, even if it comes at great cost. He gives several different accounts of where his ambition comes from, reflecting his ambivalent attitude toward it. Sometimes he sees it as a character flaw, comparing his ambition to Satan’s, “the archangel who aspired to omnipotence.” Often, however, he suggests that he had a moral duty to follow his ambition: “I deemed it criminal to throw away in useless grief those talents that might be useful to my fellow-creatures.” Some readers have suggested that Frankenstein is desperate to “renew life” because he is still grieving for his mother. She dies shortly before he begins to study science. After the Monster’s creation Frankenstein dreams about Elizabeth turning into his mother’s corpse, which could be seen as Frankenstein’s subconscious recognizing that he has failed to create life in a way which could bring his mother back.
Why does the Monster want revenge?
The Monster hates Frankenstein for abandoning him after his creation: “He had abandoned me: and, in the bitterness of my heart, I cursed him.” The Monster is also angry with Frankenstein for making the Monster the only one of his kind: “I was dependent on none and related to none.” The Monster also feels hatred and envy for the whole human race. He feels humans have treated him unfairly because of his appearance. He is especially hurt by the horrified reaction of the DeLacey family, his “protectors,” when he reveals himself to M. DeLacey. The Monster only seeks revenge against Frankenstein, but sometimes he seems to see Frankenstein as the representative of all mankind. He addresses him as “Man!” when he announces that he will kill Frankenstein’s family, suggesting Frankenstein is a stand-in for all humanity.
How does the Monster learn to speak and read?
The Monster learns to speak by spying on the DeLacey family. He lives for over a year in a “hovel,” a small shed attached to the DeLaceys’ cottage. Through a chink in the wall, the Monster can see and hear everything that happens inside the cottage. He learns to speak by listening to the DeLaceys. When Felix DeLacey’s fiancée Safie arrives, the Monster is able to learn more: Safie is Turkish, and the Monster overhears Felix teaching her French as well as the history and politics of Europe. The Monster learns to read when he finds three books abandoned on the ground: Paradise Lost, Plutarch’s Lives and The Sorrows of Werter. These books point to major themes of the novel. Plutarch’s Lives is about the “great men” of history, which reminds us that the Monster exists because of Frankenstein’s ambition to be great. The Sorrows of Werter is a novel about the alienation of a young man, which underlines the alienation of both the Monster and Frankenstein. Paradise Lost, by the English poet John Milton, is the most significant of the three books. It tells the Biblical story of Adam and Eve, focusing on Satan’s ambition and alienation from God. The Monster frequently compares himself to both Satan and Adam.
Why does Frankenstein destroy the Monster’s female companion?
Frankenstein decides that he has a moral duty to destroy the female companion he is making for the Monster. He realizes that even if the Monster is not innately evil, he can’t be sure the female companion won’t turn out to be evil. Frankenstein is also concerned that the female companion might reject the Monster, making the Monster even more miserable and angry. Finally, Frankenstein worries that the Monster and his female companion might have children, and eventually give rise to a new species which might destroy mankind. He concludes that it would be selfish for him to create a companion for the Monster in order to save his own life. This decision shows that Frankenstein is motivated by the desire to do the right thing, but it also shows that he is still driven and ambitious. He is determined to choose the more difficult path, even if that path costs him his life (and the lives of the people he loves). When he makes his decision he is thinking about his future reputation: “I shuddered to think that future ages might curse me as their pest.”
Why does Walton turn the ship around?
Walton turns his ship around because he feels responsible for his crew. Walton is motivated by the same ambition that motivates Frankenstein to create the Monster: “My life might have been passed in ease and luxury; but I preferred glory to every enticement that wealth placed in my path.” Walton doesn’t seem to learn from Frankenstein’s story that ambition is dangerous, even though Frankenstein warns him repeatedly. Nevertheless, Walton decides that he must abandon his goal, because he cannot endanger his crew against their wishes: “I cannot lead them unwillingly to danger.” The most important difference between Frankenstein and Walton is that Frankenstein prioritizes his ambition above his responsibility to other people, while Walton does not. Walton’s concern about others also ensures his own survival. Walton’s final decision therefore confirms the essential importance of companionship and loving relationships in the novel.
Why is Walton trying to reach the North Pole?
Robert Walton is a well-to-do explorer from England. Like Victor Frankenstein, he has a great ambition to be a pioneer in the field of science—in his case, to be the first person to set foot on the North Pole and perhaps discover a northern passage to the Pacific. As he explains to his sister in a letter, anything is possible in “a country of eternal light.” By the end of the novel, Walton’s overwhelming optimism and pursuit to push the boundaries of science begin to appear somewhat naive and even dangerous.
Why does Frankenstein run away from his Monster?
Immediately after bringing the Monster to life, Frankenstein feels overwhelmed by the Monster’s ugliness, so he attempts to find relief by going to sleep in the next room, where his sleep is plagued by nightmares. When he awakes to find the Monster standing over him, smiling, Frankenstein rushes from the room, terrified, ashamed, and regretful for creating the Monster. Frankenstein reflects, “Mingled with this horror, I felt the bitterness of disappointment; dreams that had been my food and pleasant rest for so long a space were now become a hell to me; and the change was so rapid, the overthrow so complete!”
Why does the Monster kill William?
At first, the Monster wants to befriend William, a small child the Monster calls “beautiful.” However, when William screams in horror upon seeing the Monster and then unwittingly reveals that he is a member of the Frankenstein family, the Monster becomes seized with rage and chokes William to death. William’s murder stems from a culmination of the Monster’s rage at Frankenstein for abandoning him and hatred of humankind for not accepting him.
How does Frankenstein figure out that the Monster killed William?
After receiving a shocking letter from his father telling him that William has been murdered, Frankenstein departs home to Geneva. When he arrives, it is nighttime, and the gates of Geneva are shut, so he decides to explore the woods where William was killed. As Frankenstein walks in the woods near the spot where William’s body was found, he spies the Monster lurking in the background, and he realizes that the Monster is the most likely culprit.
Why does Frankenstein remain quiet during Justine’s trial?
Justine is on trial for William’s murder because William’s locket containing a picture of Caroline Frankenstein was found in a pocket of Justine’s clothing. Unbeknownst to Justine, the Monster planted the locket in her pocket to frame her for the murder. Frankenstein realizes that Justine is not the killer and that the Monster is, but he is afraid to testify in court on her behalf for fear that he will be labeled “insane” and that no one will believe that such a monster could exist anyway.
Why does Frankenstein first agree to make his Monster a companion?
After listening to the Monster’s tale of survival, Frankenstein is moved to give in to the Monster’s request and create for him a companion. The Monster’s tale makes Frankenstein realize the magnitude of his error in creating a being that had now “proved . . . to be a creature of fine sensation,” or a being that was capable of the same emotional needs like comfort and friendship as any other human. Further, Frankenstein reasons that, as the Monster’s maker, he owes him “all the portion of happiness that it was in my power to bestow.” In this moment, however, Frankenstein finds himself caught in a moral conflict between doing what’s right by his creation and potentially unleashing more havoc upon the world (and, arguably more so, upon himself).
Why do the townspeople accuse Frankenstein of murdering Clerval?
The townspeople confront Frankenstein about Clerval’s murder because eyewitnesses claim that when they found Clerval’s body along the beach, they saw a boat in the water that matched Frankenstein’s. In reality, the Monster killed Clerval. The night before the murder, the Monster took Frankenstein’s boat, and after seeing Frankenstein destroy the companion he was making for him, the Monster killed Clerval in a fit of rage.
Why does Frankenstein leave Elizabeth alone on their wedding night?
Frankenstein wants to protect Elizabeth. With the Monster’s threat “I shall be with you on your wedding-night” reverberating in his mind, Frankenstein sends Elizabeth to retire to their room without him so that he can fight the Monster outside and avoid terrifying her with the sight of their imminent battle. What Frankenstein doesn’t realize is that he has just made a fatal mistake: The Monster is heading for their room, and Elizabeth is now vulnerable to the Monster’s attack.
Does the Monster die?
At the end of the novel, the Monster tells Walton that he plans to kill himself, explaining that he “shall ascend [his] funeral pile triumphantly, and exult in the agony of the torturing flames.” As the Monster feels he is “[p]olluted by crimes,” he can no longer find peace alive. Although there are no witnesses, and Shelley does not include an account of the Monster’s death, it is assumed he goes through with his plan. However, the Monster is clever and may have told Walton he was going to kill himself only so Walton would not pursue him.
Does Frankenstein learn from his mistake in creating the Monster?
In the days leading up to his death, Frankenstein regrets that he will die before destroying the Monster, revealing that he understands that creating the Monster was a mistake. However, it’s unclear if Frankenstein merely regrets making the Monster or if he truly understands the dangers of blind, reckless ambition. He even urges Walton to “[s]eek happiness in tranquillity and avid ambition, even if it be only the apparently innocent one of distinguishing yourself in science and discoveries.” These words seem contradictory; Frankenstein seems to regret pushing the limits of science too far in creating the Monster, and at the same time he seems to encourage Walton to continue on his mission. Frankenstein adds, “I have myself been blasted in these hopes, yet another may succeed,” hinting that he may not quite understand the dangers of ambition as suggested by the novel and only truly regrets the results of his achievement.
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