Alexander Nowak Medfield High School English 1/6/2011 A Dire Flaw In some novels, the main character often possesses a negative trait which ultimately becomes his/her biggest flaw. The manner of how the protagonist responds to his/her troubles impacts the development of the flaw. One character in particular encompasses a trait that even with his self-awareness, is unaware of the selfishness in his veins. In the novel Frankenstein, the protagonist Victor Frankenstein is this particular individual whose conscience consists of much responsibility but no discipline to show for it.
Although he feels responsible for deaths of many others, Victor never confesses when he knows the fault is his. His vengeance almost keeps him away from the people closest to him, and it blinds him from their safety. Throughout the novel Frankenstein, Victor’s dire flaw causes him to care for his own ambitions, safety, needs, and no one else’s. Victor’s selfishness is the cause of his biggest setback of being the creator of a monster rank with distain for anything with a heart that casts it aside.
Early on in the story, Victor’s thirst for knowledge and ambition to create new life is quenched, but not enough for him to be proud of it. Victor’s self-centeredness is portrayed in his reaction to producing his worst nightmare in the form of a new life: (Shelley 35) I had worked hard for nearly two years, for the sole purpose of infusing life into an inanimate body… I had desired it with an ardour that far exceeded moderation; but now that I had finished, the beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled my heart.
Unable to endure the aspect of the being I had created, I rushed out of the room. Horrified by his creation, Victor abandons the monster in an act of selfishness with no care or compassion for the beast. Feeling bitter rejection from its creator, the monster’s mentality becomes skewered and warped by exclusion. From that point on its mindset consists of pure destruction and torture to anyone that rejects it. However, Victor’s conceitedness affects not only the monster, but the lives of others as well.
Victor’s conscience holds the painful achievement of giving life to a beast capable of murder due to selfishness. The first victim that dies at the hands of the creature is William. Victor’s selfishness is reflected when his creation frames Justine for the murder. Victor states, “Thus spoke my prophetic soul, as, torn by remorse, horror, and despair, I beheld those I loved spend vain sorrow upon the graves of William and Justine, the first hapless victims of my unhallowed art” (Shelley 60).
Victor does take responsibility and admits that he is to blame, but he does not express this to others, only to himself. Nor does Victor fess up to the real cause of his monster’s bloodlust and turn himself in like a selfless individual would. Although his selfishness affects the lives of others, the ones near and dear to him receive much affliction too. The heart of Victor doesn’t show much value throughout the novel. His ultimate flaw blinds him from protecting the ones he loves and replaces it with ignorance.
On the wedding night of Victor and his lover Elizabeth, Victor practically epitomizes selfishness. The flaw shows its true colors when Victor instructs Elizabeth to go to the bedroom and hide because he doesn’t want her to see a fight due to his assumption that the monster will confront him and not her: (Shelley 144) I passed an hour in this state of mind, when suddenly I reflected how fearful the combat which I momentarily expected would be to my wife, and I earnestly entreated her to retire, resolving not to join her until I had obtained some knowledge as to the situation of my enemy.
She left me, and I continued some time walking up and down the passages of the house, and inspecting every corner that might afford a retreat to my adversary. But I discovered no trace of him, and was beginning to conjecture that some fortunate chance had intervened to prevent the execution of his menaces, when suddenly I heard a shrill and dreadful scream. It came from the room into which Elizabeth had retired. Victor does not show any attention towards the possibility for the monster to confront Elizabeth. If he had any ounce of a heart Victor would have her stick by his side.
By leaving her and protecting himself, whether directly or indirectly, the conceited mind of Victor murders Elizabeth. In summary, the ultimate flaw of Victor Frankenstein and the root of his problems is selfishness. It keeps him away from all that should mean something to him. Sadly, caring for anything else isn’t really an option for Victor when his very morality is enclosed by a narcissistic mind. Responsibility is something he knows very well, but actually taking the blame for what he knows with a shadow of a doubt is his fault and admitting it is one thing he does not do.
Victor’s conceitedness causes him to reject his own creation. This in turn causes the monster to kill in the terrible name of its creator. Although the love from Victor to Elizabeth is questionable, the label still remains as a reminder of the love they shared. Unfortunately, her passing is due to the mind of Victor only caring for his own safety and not the protection of others. In essence, selfishness has the horrible ability to ruin the lives of others and twist the mind of the one who masters this dire flaw. Work Cited 1. Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. 3rd ed. New York: Dover Publications, Inc, 1831. Print