The Quest for Nothing in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein Essay

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A Quest for Nothing in Shelly's Frankenstein


The last chapter of Mary Shelly's Frankenstein concludes Victor Frankenstein's search for the monster. His obsession with finding the wretch leads him into the most desolate territories in the world, led on with clues left by the monster itself. The motive for his quest goes beyond the desire for revenge, but is shaped over the primal need for Victor to become the ideal self. The monster, in which Victor placed his most intense hours of isolated contemplation, represents, if not the unconscious then at least an outlet and a means for the fulfillment of Victor's dark repressed wishes. Victor therefore is bent on achieving "the wholeness that was ravaged instantly and for always in the
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Victor, however, never arrives at such a realization, and the miseries, illnesses and isolation that plague his life, have this as their source. His primal desire to become the Gestalt leads him to pursue the one irrecoverable aspect of himself, the wretched, menacing monster of his darkest wishes.



Even at the age of thirteen Victor's explorative nature was evident. He spent much of his time reading, absorbing knowledge, and many hours in isolation. The thirteenth year marks a new stage in sexual growth, "a new sexual aim appears, and all the component instincts combine to attain it." This time at which the child begin his overthrow of the complexities of the Oedipus complex seems appropriate for the berth of Victor's quest for knowledge, which he uses to achieve a better understanding of the self. Furthermore, there remains the possibility that Victor's quest, for knowledge and self-understanding, is heightened during his stay at Ingolstadt and during the crazed days of the creation…

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