Do you feel sorry for Victor in ‘Frankenstein’?
Victor Frankenstein is the main voice in the novel ‘Frankenstein’ by Pat Barker, and is a complex character. On the one hand, I feel sorry for Victor as he spent two lonely years dedicating his hours to making this monster, even becoming ill because he became so focused on his project that he didnt look after himself properly. Therefore, its clear he had high expectations of the monster from the line “No father could claim the gratitude of his child so completely as I should deserve theirs”. Thus giving the impression that by giving life to the monster, Frankenstein beleives once its alive it should and will worship him as a master.
However these high expectations prove to be a stark contrast to what utter disappointment and fear he feels when faced with the reality of the monster coming alive, and this makes me feel sorry for him as he must feel as though he wasted so much time and effort for nothing. His dreams for so long had been focused on the monster being beautiful once completed, and when actually the monster opens its eyes for the first time it is so ugly and terrifying that even he its creator runs from it. I also feel sorry for Victor when he finds out that Frankenstein killed his brother. As he single handedly created Frankenstein and then tried to forget that he had once it had ran away, he would feel fully responsible for Williams death.
This guilt was then magnified once Justine was convicted of the murder, when Victor knew that it was the monster who had really done it. As the situation gets worse for Victor we sympathise with him as he must also feel responsible for Justine’s death and her being executed for something she didnt do. He could not admit that she didnt do it unless he admits he created a monster who killed his own brother, and he felt that no one would beleive him anyway. Effectively, Frankenstein has unintentionally been a huge factor in causing two murders of people close to him, who he dearly loved. This guilt weighs down on him hugely, and I can tell this from the line “I was encompassed by a cloud which no beneficial influence could penetrate”.
However, on the other hand, victor has brought every consequence of his actions on himself. The murder of William his brother, and execution of Justine would not have happened if he hadnt been so intent on creating the monster. When thinking of Victors overall character, some elements to his personality make it difficult to like him as much, for example the way he created the monster was by ‘gathering resources’, effectively graberobbing. His reasons for creating the monster were warped and self-absorbed and he did not think of the monsters wellbeing or treating it as an equal, but had the expectation it would serve and worship him. These selfish hopes make it harder for us to sympathise for Victor as a character, when he is the cause of his misfortune and does not face up to the consequences of what he has done.
A particular time in the book which emphasises Victors selfishness and perhaps cowardice is when he does not confess to knowing Justine didnt commit the murder of his brother William. We know that he is a coward from the way he runs away immediately once the monster opens its eyes, but now he is shown to be too fearful to speak the truth, despite knowing Justine is innocent. His excuse for not speaking up is that no one would believe him, and they’d think he was ‘mad’. However he could have spoken up and at least admitted to seeing someone suspicious hanging around the area of the murder that night, which he did see.
The fact Justine is described as ‘ amiable’ and ‘fond of all the family’ shows Victor in an even worse light, as he wont speak up at all even though she is almost family to him. Overall, Victor is portrayed in many ways in the novel and I do feel sorry for him when he dedicated so much time to his dream; giving life to an inanimate being. However its difficult to truly feel sorry for him when he feels more sorry for himself, he does not face the consequences of what he has done, and it has caused two deaths of people close to him.