Victor Frankenstein: a Tragic Hero Essay

759 WordsJul 11, 20084 Pages
Critic Northrop Frye once commented that "Tragic heroes are so much the highest points in their human landscapes" (Frye 1). Few characters illustrate this characteristic of a tragic hero better than that of Victors Frankenstein, the protagonist of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. His story is one of a brilliant man whose revolutionary ideas brought suffering to himself, his family and friends, and his creation. Victor is an instrument as well as a victim to this suffering throughout his story. From the early chapters of the novel, Victor narrates a childhood, schooling, and career filled with an unstoppable thirst for learning. He pours over books in youth, and later attends university studying meticulously and eventually coming to a…show more content…
The creature once says, “All men hate the wretched; how then, must I be hated, who am miserable beyond all living things! Yet you, my creator, detest and spurn me, they creature, to whom thou art bound by ties only dissoluble by the annihilation of one of us” (Shelley 83). He wonders himself why, in all of his suffering, he has been created at all. He was not even granted the bride he was promised by Victor. This unfortunate existence led the creation to turn to anger and rage. Blind ambition drove his creator, who could not foresee the level of destruction he would give when the reality of his plans was finally realized. Frankenstein stands as a victim, along with the very people he treasures most, to his own deeds. Victor noted, "For this I had deprived myself of rest and health. I had desired it with an ardour that far exceeded moderation; but now that I had finished, the beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled my heart" (42). The fruit of his experimentation, his monster, murders many of those close to the scientist. He loses his long time friend, Henry Clerval, as well as his wife, Elizabeth, to his creation. His younger brother William and his beloved servant Justine were also brought to their sad ends at the hands of the creation. The monster brings fear and suffering to all those he meets, if not by cold blooded murder, then by the sheer horror of his corpselike appearance. Though not

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