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English Literature


When the story opens the main character in the narrative [narrative: The sequence of events in a plot; a story. ] appears to be explorer Robert Walton. It is only after he rescues a mysterious and exhausted traveller from an ice floe that the reader is introduced to the real protagonist [protagonist: The chief character in a literary work. ] of the novel, Victor Frankenstein.

Victor Frankenstein

  • Victor Frankenstein comes from a wealthy, supportive family, which he neglects when he becomes overly absorbed in his studies at university.
  • He is both extremely clever and egotistical [egotistical: Self-centred, conceited, selfish. ]. He is a star student, but wants to use his knowledge to obtain the god-like power of creating life.
  • Victor often fails to listen to good advice from his friends, family and teachers. If he had, many deaths, including his own, may have been avoided.
  • He rejects the Monster immediately after its creation, calling it a 'wretch' and leaving it to fend for itself. This shows how irresponsible he is. It is also another example of him neglecting his family, since the Monster sees him as its father.
  • Victor is scared of owning up to what he has done. Even when his little brother, William, is killed by the Monster, he does not admit to knowing who the murderer is. If he had done this, Justine's life would have been saved.
  • He is capable of showing sympathy for the Monster. For example, when it asks him to create a wife for it, so as not to be forever lonely, Victor at first agrees. However, he later destroys the half-built creature before the Monster's eyes. This leads to his own wife's murder on their wedding night.
  • His desire for vengeance is very strong. He chases the Monster from Switzerland to the North Pole, enduring great hardships along the way.
  • Before dying, Victor says his actions are not 'blameable', and that he still believes he was right to create the Monster. This lack of guilt, and his destructive pursuit of scientific knowledge for personal glory, makes us wonder if Victor is in fact the real monster of the story.

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