Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Subject: Literature
Type: Analytical Essay
Pages: 3
Word count: 1038
Topics: Book, Crime, Frankenstein, Human Nature

The theme of suffering is an integral part of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and it affects a considerable number of characters. However, the most affected individuals are Victor and the Creature. Suffering comes about in a diverse number of ways ranging from rejection to incidents of loss that lead the various characters to take actions that make their situations even worse. Because suffering is the basis of this story, it encompasses almost every aspect of it to such an extent that it not only leads to the vicious actions of some of the characters, but it also fuels their desire for revenge, which essentially becomes a cycle in the course of the plot. The theme of suffering can be used to describe the events that take place in the lives of the main characters of the story, and it leads to a situation where these individuals come to be completely dominated by it. In this paper, there will be an analysis of suffering that is undergone by two main characters, namely Victor and the Creature.

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Victor and the Creature are two of the characters in the story that suffer considerably because of their antagonistic attitude towards one another. However, the character that suffers the most in the plot is Victor, because in his obsession to replicate a humanoid creature, he ends up creating the Creature, which he finds to be hideous (Shelley 28). A result is that he ends up undertaking actions that would be considered unworthy for a creator because rather than accepting the Creature as it is, he ends up dismissing it. This action seals his fate because rather than completely going away from his life, the Creature begins a campaign to ensure that Victor suffers as much as possible through experiencing the loss of his loved ones. Furthermore, Victor suffers because of the guilt that he feels following his creating the Creature because he comes to the conclusion that it is not in the place of man to attempt to replicate what God has created because man’s attempt is essentially imperfect. Victor’s suffering can also be found in his obsession to bring his creature to life, and this is especially considering that he buries himself in his work in order to deal with his grief following the death of his mother. Therefore, while both Victor and the Creature suffer throughout the story, it is Victor who suffer the most, not only because of the horrible events taking place in his life, but also from his guilt because of the feeling that he is the cause of these events.

Despite Victor being the character that suffers the most in the story, both he and the Creature undergo different types of suffering. The Creature suffers because he is in a situation where he lacks companionship and is essentially lonely. His loneliness comes about because he is a hideous creature in appearance and despite his benign intentions; his looks drive people away from him. This can be seen through his interactions with the poor family that lived in a cottage near where he lived. The Creature secretly collects firewood for them, but when he reveals himself and attempts to make friends, the family is frightened of him and flees (58). A consequence is that the Creature ends up lacking the love and support that comes with being a part of a community or family, and becomes a bitter recluse whose only obsession seems to be revenge. Victor’s suffering, on the other hand, is based on the feelings of loss and remorse that he has following the devastation that the Creature brings to his life. This is especially considering that following its rejection by the poor family, the Creature becomes bitter to such an extent that it ends up killing Victor’s younger brother and framing the latter’s nanny for the murder in revenge (42). The sense of loss that Victor experiences further comes about when the Creature kills his best friend and later his bride in further acts of revenge against him. A consequence is that because of his sense of loss, Victor becomes remorseful and is obsessed with ensuring that he destroys the creature, which he believes has the potential of harming other human beings because of its evil nature.

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Some of the acts that both the Creature and Victor undergo can be justified through their suffering. The Creature’s actions against Victor, such as killing the latter’s loved ones and framing him for the murder of his best friend, come about because the Creature suffers for being created and abandoned by Victor. Furthermore, the Creature’s loneliness and the suffering that comes with it lead it to take such a cynical view of life that it ends up seeking the destruction of its creator (120). The Creature seems to be obsessed with the idea of making its creator suffer as much as possible for his actions against it. Victor, on the other hand, is dominated by his remorse for creating the Creature, which has brought so much devastation to his life and the lives of his loved ones. He comes to the conclusion that the Creature is essentially evil in nature and in the process of creating a mate for it feels that he will essentially be creating a race of evil creatures that will come to plague the whole of mankind. The result is that Victor decides not to allow other people to undergo the same suffering at the hands of the creatures as he has, and decides to destroy the Creature’s mate.

In conclusion, the theme of suffering is an extremely important one when it comes to the development of the plot of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. This is seen in the analysis of the suffering that is undergone by two of the main characters in the story; Victor and the Creature. Both of these individuals become victims of one another’s actions because Victor’s rejection of the Creature is what drives it towards seeking to destroy all that he loves. A consequence is that Victor ends up in a situation where he loses everything, including his life, because of the suffering that he himself imposed on the creature.

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  1. Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. Macmillan, 1994.
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