Victor Frankenstein and Responsibility

Victor Frankenstein, who is obsessed with biology and life itself, is the sole person who is responsible for the creature that he created.  When Victor finally completes his goal of creating life, he does not celebrate.  Rather, he “rushed out of the room” when he realized the monstrosity that he had put into the world (84).  He is plagued with disturbing nightmares that night and has one more encounter with his creation before running away once more.  He immediately refuses his responsibility as creator of the creature because he cannot mentally cope with the thought of what he had done.  However, he is still seen as the creator in the novel and therefore should have the sole responsibility of the creature and its actions. 

Victor is right in thinking that he should take the blame for the deaths of William and Justine.  After he realizes that it was his own creation that could have possibly murdered William, and will indirectly kill Justine, he states that, “the tortures of the accused did not equal [his]; she was sustained by innocence, but the fangs of remorse tore [his] bosom” (106).  He, at the very least, assumes part of the blame in this statement because he realizes that he has indirectly caused this tragedy by attempting to create life.  While he is reveling in the fact that Justine will die because of his mistakes, he fails to do anything to save her.  This shows the reader that not only does Victor realize his guilt, but he refuses to tell the truth in order to save Justine because he is too selfish.  He ran away from this situation, quite like he ran away from his creation on its first night of life.  However, just because Victor does not immediately take on the responsibility, does not mean that the creature is not still his sole responsibility, much like a father is to his child.   

Mary Shelley criticizes the false security that is given to Justine and the Frankenstein family during the trial by letting everyone assume that because Justine was “guiltless of this murder”, that she will not be tried guilty and executed (102).  Victor and his father discuss how Justine will be freed simply because she must be innocent, which Shelley proves to be incorrect later in the story.  Victor seems to be calmed by his father’s statement that Justine will be okay because he did not realize at this point that his own creation had committed the murder.  Once he realizes this, he is filled with obvious guilt because he states that she is his “unhappy victim” that he has condemned (106).  The reader can readily assume that Victor not only has, but should have the full responsibility of his creation, even though he may not want that responsibility.  

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