Term Paper on Frankenstein1

This essay has a total of 3002 words and 12 pages.



Protagonist: The protagonist in the novel is Victor Frankenstein. He is the main character
who contends with the conflict in the novel. His decision to create life provides a
problem that he attempts to escape but eventually marks his death.

Antagonist: The antagonist in the novel is also the protagonist, Victor Frankenstein.
Victor may have directed all of his hate and blame towards the monster he created, but is
worst enemy lay within himself and his refusal to accept responsibility for his actions.

Conflict: The main conflict in the novel is based on the “monster” Victor
Frankenstein created in his laboratory. He neglects his responsibility to the monster he
created by ignoring its existence, and his cowardice leads to inner feelings of guilt and
unhappiness that ultimately cause his life to unravel and the people he loves to perish.
His refusal to be accountable for his action brings the misery and misfortune that
constitute the foundation of the novel.

Chronology: Robert Walton writes in his first letter to his sister Margaret Saville about
his desire to explore the world. His second letter then tells about his preparations for a
crew and more about how he desires to explore the unexplored. In this letter he also
explains how he wishes he had a friend to share his life with. In his third letter, he
tells how the voyage is underway and going well. His fourth letter tells how the ship
became trapped between floating blocks of ice and, after being freed, the ship encounters
and takes aboard a man who was stranded on floating ice. Walton tells how the man is in
wretched condition and is very melancholy. He tells how he gradually befriends the man
and, after talking for some time, the man agrees to tell Walton the story of his life and
how he came to be where he is now. His name is told to be Victor Frankenstein. Walton,
during the narration, takes notes in the form of a letter for Margaraet.

Victor Frankenstein was born in Geneva, Switzerland, to a family of notoriety. His family
adopted a young girl his age named Elizabeth from a poor family who could not support her.
As a child, Victor was fascinated with alchemy and sciences. At age seventeen,
Victor’s mother died. Soon after, he enrolled in the University of Ingolstadt. He
took classes in natural sciences and began a routine of intense studying in the pursuit of
preventing death and decay. He then unlocked the secret of creation, and after some years
of meticulous work that almost resulted in his death, he was able to create a human being
from dead materials. He abandoned the monster he had created in horror, and tried to leave
the University, but on his departure he came across his friend Henry Clerval, and Clerval
convinced him to stay. Clerval then nursed him back to health and the two men had good
times with each other at the University, so much that Victor came to forget about the
monster he had created. Victor was about to return home to Geneva when he received a
letter from home describing how his younger brother William had been murdered and how
house worker and family friend Justine Moritz was being accused for the murder. Victor
believed without a doubt that the real murderer was his creation, and proclaimed to the
town that he knew the real murderer, but without proof, no one could believe Victor, and
innocent Justine was put to death. Victor slipped into a state of intense grief over the
two deaths because he felt personally responsible for them. He decided to take a trip to
the Alps to try to relieve his conscience and his soul. In the mountains he met the
monster, and he reluctantly agreed to listen to the story the monster had to tell. The
monster told how he had a difficult time adjusting to his new surroundings and how he was
hated by all the people he first came in contact with. He then told how he came across a
cottage with three people living inside, M. De Lacey, Felix De Lacey, and Agatha De Lacey.
He told how he learned all about the human experience from simply observing these people:
how to speak, to read, to write, to be happy, to love. He told how he confronted these
people that he loved in the hope that they could accept him, and how when he introduced
himself, he was met with fear and hate, and how he ran away from the people, and how they
moved away and left him all alone again. He told how after that experience he became
bitter to mankind and lost all the love he used to preserve. He then told how he went to
Geneva, and came across William, and killed him, and then framed Justine for the murder.
He then asked Victor if he would make a deal with him, whereas the monster would leave the
civilized world forever if Victor would only agree to create a female companion for him.
Victor had sympathy for the monster, but felt extreme hatred when told of the two murders
the monster committed. He eventually agreed to help the monster with his request. Victor
went home and set out with Clerval for vacation in England. The two separated after many
months, with Victor settling on an island in Scotland. Victor started his work of creating
another monster on the island in Scotland, but decided he could not complete it due to the
potential disastrous effects on humanity. He destroyed all he had accomplished and then
faced wrath of the monster face-to-face. The monster told Victor that he shall ruin his
life and that he will always be watching, specifically on Victor’s wedding night.
The monster then departed and Victor was left in despair. Victor vacated the island soon
after, but was lost at sea, and eventually landed on the coast of Ireland where he was
arrested and accused of murder. Upon the discovery that the man he was accused of
murdering was his friend Clerval, Victor submerged into a delirious slumber where only the
arrival of his father in Ireland could bring him out. He was inevitably cleared of his
murder charge and released from prison, and returned home to Geneva with his father.
Victor then became engaged to Elizabeth, whom he loved all his life. He still remained
upset about the deaths of his friend Clerval, his brother William, and family friend
Justine, but decided to marry Elizabeth despite his grief. Victor and Elizabeth were
subsequently married, but on their wedding night the monster crept into their room and
strangled Elizabeth. Victor’s father was then overtaken with grief and died. Victor
then had no one left in his life, and consequently dedicated his actions to the pursuit of
the monster. He chased the monster all over the continent until he reached the arctic
where he nearly perished until Walton’s ship picked him up. He had allowed his hate
to encourage him to persevere and to accept all hardships that could be encountered.

Upon the completion of Victor’s narration, Walton describes to Elizabeth how the
story is probable and how much he respects and admires Victor as a person. Victor remains
melancholy. In his next entry, Walton tell Margaret how the ship has again become
surrounded by ice and may not be able to leave for some time. The following entry has the
ship still surrounded by ice, with the crew demanding the voyage to detour from its
present northern course for a more southern course, in which Walton, but not Victor,
agrees. The next entry has Walton agreeing to return, although he maintains that he will
be effectively disappointed. The final entry by Walton tells how the ice has broken and
the ship will be returning home. Victor tries to get out of bed, but realizes he is near
the end of his life, and spends the last minutes telling Walton to avoid too much ambition
and asking him if he will continue the search to kill the monster. Victor then dies. The
monster enters the cabin through the window some time later, and address the body of his
dead creator. He turns to Walton soon after, and the monster explains that he should not
be regarded with hate, for he only requested what every human being already takes for
granted, to be loved and treated with kindness, and this void is what causes him to do the
things he did not have the heart or the desire to do. The monster finishes his speech and
then disappears forever, leaving Walton to just stand and think.

Theme: There are two themes in Frankenstein. This first is related to the role of the
Creator and his relationship with human beings. The message of the novel tells us that
humans cannot rival God, for they do not have the authority over the creation of the life
of another human being. It is not their place to decide who lives and who dies. In the
novel, Victor Frankenstein’s attempt to create another human being brought only
misfortune and misery into his life, as if he was being punished for his attempt on
divinity, thus displaying the message of the inauspicious consequences of striving to
rival the heavens.

The second theme imbedded into the novel is concerned with the acceptance of
responsibility. This message proclaims that one must abide by the effects of his or her
actions. One who flees or denies the results of his or her behavior will surely be plagued
with guilt and despair that will never surrender until accountability is accepted. Victor,
by creating the monster, owed the monster an honest effort to provide for his well-being
and assure his safety. By disowning these obligations and treating the monster with
disgust, Victor violates his responsibility to the monster and begins the journey down the
road of sorrow and ruin that his evasions have set him upon. This theme promotes the
“honesty is the best policy” that can be found in so many other works, such as
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne and The Tell-Tale Heart, by Edgar Allen Poe.
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