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Vol. 2 two views of vengeance

December 1, 2014

On the same page, both Victor and his creature speak words of revenge.  Victor refers to “the fierce vengeance of my [his] arm,” after which the creature promises to “glut the maw of death” (72).  What comments on the nature of revenge does the novel offer so far?  What do you make of this similar language from the two protagonists?

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From → Frankenstein, Theme

12 Comments
  1. What Shelly and the novel express through the nature of vengeance is that every human in one way or another will seek revenge at some point in their life. Victor so far in this novel has wanted revenge for two things. One was the death of his creature for the murder of William, Victor’s younger brother and how Victor wants to revenge on death it’s self for the early departure of his mother. Victor says, “Life and death appeared to me ideal bounds, which I should first break through, and pour torrent of light into our dark world” (34). Victor is enraged by his mother dying of her fever and swears to end dying once and for all. Then obviously the creature who really is not considered human wants vengeance on Victor and all of mankind for being fearful of him and not accepting.

    • Yes, and I notice the extremity of both their responses: end death for all time and seek vengeance on all mankind. Talk about rushing to judgment. There is a either-or element to their approaches. Yet again, these two characters look a lot alike.

  2. Addie Ball permalink

    I agree with Jackson, I believe the novel is portraying a view that revenge is the answer to the anger these characters are experiencing. I feel that many of people in the world also believe in this as well because they can not be the bigger person and overcome the issues they face. People also tend to dwell on the past and blame other people for things that may have been their fault. For example, if Victor would not have created this monster, his younger brother would not have been murdered. “I continued for the remainder of the day in my hovel in a state of utter and stupid despair. My protectors had departed and had broken the only link that held me to the world. For the first time the feelings of revenge and hatred filled my bosom, and I did not strive to control them, but allowing myself to be borne away by the stream, I bent my mind towards injury and death” (105). This shows how the monster was trying to be good but instead he is letting his emotions go and craving revenge to hurt the people living in the cottage.

    • Yes, and why does he move in this direction? The passage suggests that the feelings of “revenge and hatred” surfaced once his ties to the world had broken. Out of a miserable disconnection grows a miserable hatred? Victor created a creature, but someone/something else seems to have turned this creature into a monster of hateful revenge. What do you think?

  3. John Crumpler permalink

    I think the similarity of these comments says a lot about the relationship between the creator and the created. Although the monster has lived most of his life in complete isolation, he has grown to have striking similarities with Victor. Whether this is a comment about our relationship with God or another statement entirely, Shelley makes an interesting point that we strive to be like those who made us, whether that’s a god, a parent, or a mentor. As for the nature of revenge, I don’t know if the novel has offered a lot about that. “Cursed, cursed creator! Why did I live? Why, in that instant, did I not extinguish the spark of existence which you had so wantonly bestowed? I know not; despair had not yet taken possession of me; my feelings were those of rage and revenge. I could with pleasure have destroyed the cottage and its inhabitants and have glutted myself with their shrieks and misery. (103) When the monster discusses his hatred for the creator, it seems that his revenge is toward himself. This is very reminiscent of Victor’s mother’s death when all he feels is despair and self anguish as he virtually takes out his anger stemming from his mother’s death on himself. It seems that the author is making a point that often we look inward with rage before taking it outward. You see this as both the monster and Victor eventually fueled their rage whether that be burning down a cottage or creating a monster.

    • “Could . . . have glutted myself with their shrieks and misery” reminds me of an earlier passage in which the creature declares that unless Victor does his duty towards his creation, the creature will “glut the maw of death” (72). The pairing of these quotes ends up comparing the creature to death itself. HIs maw is linked to the maw of death. Yes on the notion of inner and outer rage. Often the range within works itself out into the open and against others.

  4. Sarah Kate permalink

    I agree with Jackson’s comment about revenge being part of human nature. “When I thought of him, I gnashed my teeth, my eyes became inflamed, and I ardently wished to extinguish that life which I had so thoughtlessly bestowed. When I reflected on his crimes and malice, my hatred and revenge burst all bounds of moderation” (66). I feel that this quote shows how revenge can take over all the will power that one can have. The novel so far really shows how revenge can takes over a person and can be all that one can think about.

    • If the revenge motive festers, yes it can grow to an unwieldy extent. I wonder if this kind of malignant growth supports the idea that revenge is part of our nature. What do you think? We need more context for the passage and more explanation from you, before we know your thoughts on these questions.

  5. Chris Monde permalink

    Both Victor and his monster look towards vengeance all throughout the novel. Victor wanted vengeance against his creature for the death of William and vengeance against death as a whole. It can be inferred that Victor’s creature wants vengeance against him. When Victor and his creature first start talking by the fire in the hut, the creature asks why he was created and shows anger towards Victor for abandoning him. The creature also doesn’t understand why people are so afraid of him, shifting that blame towards Victor for creating him that way. “An old man sat in it, near a fire, over which he was preparing his breakfast. He turned on hearing a noise, and perceiving me, shrieked loudly, and quitting the hut, ran across the fields with a speed of which his debilitated form hardly appeared capable.” Both Victor and his creature have experienced great loss in recent time, which is why they both want vengeance. For Victor it was the death of loved ones that caused it, and for his creature it is both Victor’s abandonment as well as him being hurt by people’s reactions towards him.

    • Well-balanced analysis of this idea. Your comparison makes me think of the creature’s experience as a “loss,” as you say. The abandonment by others, including Victor, is experienced by the creature as a loss. He encounters the beginnings of relationships and companionship, but then sees these possibilities evaporate under the heat of steady prejudice and unconsidered emotions. Thank you for this enlarged sense of how we can experience loss.

  6. Kendall Evans permalink

    The relaxed demeanor of the monster in comparison to Victor in their encounters clearly depicts the more vengeful side of humanity as opposed to that of the monster. The monster essentially makes Victor out to be his plaything not necessarily to enact revenge, but rather to brings suffering because he has the power to do and as a means to achieve his goal of gaining a companion. The monster’s calmness is clearly shown when he says to Victor “Do your duty towards me, and I will do mine towards you and the rest of mankind. If you will comply with my conditions, I will leave them and you at peace;” (68) in the context of Victor’s rage.

    • Good point. The creature does appear more calm, perhaps since he feels he has the upper hand, he is in the position of relative power. At the same time, I wonder about the combination of your statements, explicit or implicit, that the creature is relatively less vengeful while also cooly bringing on suffering. Willing others to suffer seems vengeful to me. How do you reconcile these two interpretations–i.e., less vengeful and wanting to inflict suffering?

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