Who is Responsible for my Irresponsibility?

Victor Frankenstein believes that through the creation of the Monster, he could rid mankind of disease and death after the passing of his own mother. The idea of familial responsibility a mother innately has for her child connects Victor to his own actions and ultimate failure towards his creation. Was the death is of his mother reason for his lack of nurturing or was it something else? Nonetheless, Victor not only lacked the responsibility needed to nurture and care for his creation like he should have, but he also lacked the fortitude to carry through with the actions that needed to be taken to teach the Monster and ultimately save many lives.

Shelley constantly threads the theme of obligation to one’s own creation throughout. When Victor’s lack of judgment leads him to create a misshapen being, his self-loathing for the results of his act quickly becomes hatred for the monster. After the creature’s birth, “I issued into the streets, pacing them with quick steps, as if I sought to avoid the wretch whom I feared every turning of the street would present to my view. I did not dare return to the apartment which I inhabited” (Chapter 4 pg 85). Shelley uses Victor to show that avoiding the responsibilities of a creator will destroy himself and others as seen most directly in the deaths of William and Justine.

One might wonder exactly what responsibility he had to this creature. Think of a woman’s initial reaction to her newborn baby. They lavish affectionate care on their baby driven by the concern of complete healthiness. It only took Victor one look to turn and flee in disgust, “how can I describe my emotions at this catastrophe” (Chapter 4 pg 83). How horrible and uncertain it must have felt, for the Monster, to be abandoned in his first moments of life and thus destined for a lonely life of rage. It is the responsibility of each parent/Victor to ensure they raise their children/his creation to contribute positively to society. It is unfortunate that Victor may have felt neglected by his own mother but that doesn’t give him reason to abandon his creation. He had every obligation to do his best to ensure that his creation could thrive among mankind, as opposed to making him feel like an outcast from the beginning. Could the murders have been avoided if he had at least known kindness and caring from his creator? It is unlikely the Monster would have ever felt a truly fulfilling life, but if Victor had taken responsibility for his creation, the murders of Justine and William along with Victor’s other loved ones could have been prevented.

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