Book Review: Victor is the Real Monster in Frankenstein

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley is an unique novel that focuses on the gray area between right and wrong. It has stood the test of time and will continue to do so.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley is an unique novel that focuses on the gray area between right and wrong. It has stood the test of time and will continue to do so.

Frankenstein is an indisputable classic, but I have many problems with the main character. Victor Frankenstein is a horrible character with no redeemable qualities. While reading it for my 10th-grade English class, there have been times when I needed to take a minute and process the questionable choices he always seems to be making. His life went from great to complete mess in a matter of weeks and he kept making things worse. Everyone who interacted with him got hurt and all Victor cared about was himself.  


A recurring theme in Frankenstein is that personalities are impacted by life events. The creature that Victor brought to life had so much potential to show compassion but turned bitter due to not being accepted in society. Keeping the theme in mind, during Victor’s childhood, he might have been too accepted. Coming from a privileged background made Frankenstein entitled with little care for consequences. He surrounded himself with people whom he deemed “worthy” like his best friend Henry Clerval who “was a boy of singular talent and fancy” or his sister/ girlfriend Elizabeth.  


One of the most disturbing things in the entire book is how he came to know Elizabeth. His parents took her away from the people who were looking after her and adopted her (leaving behind the other impoverished children whom they didn’t deem pretty enough) and “gifted” Elizabeth to Victor. Their entire relationship is based on her looks and his power over her. She is living in a house that his parents own and living off his money. If she ever upset him, she could be kicked out onto the streets. Elizabeth is entirely dependent on him and that is not a good foundation for any relationship. After dealing with the death of her brother and best friend, Victor offered very little support and ran away to his childhood vacation spot. In the end, she pays the price for her relationship with Victor when the monster strangled her during their honeymoon.  


Frankenstein has a habit of running away and feeling sorry for himself. He spent months chasing after his “passions” and ignoring everyone in his life. Only after he brought the monster to life did he realize that was an incredibly bad choice. Instead of trying to fix the mess, he ran away to his bedroom and complained about how the experiment didn’t turn out like he wanted it to. There was not a single thought in his mind about how scared the creature might be or how horribly this would affect his friends and loved ones.  


I sympathize more with the creature Frankenstein created despite the fact that it murdered 6 people. He was insecure about his looks and not fitting in with society (which many people can relate to) and had absolutely no preparation for the world he was so rudely shoved into. There is no excuse for the evil crimes he committed, but the blame should rest heavily on Victor. Abandoning the creature simply because it looked monstrous shows a cowardness that is not usually characterized in the main protagonists of books. The creature actually has multiple facets to its personality with its insecurities. If it didn’t face so many hardships, it could have been compassionate and loving. Victor on the other hand is selfish and that’s the only personality he has.  


For the most part, the main characters are likable. They usually are brave, kind, and put others before themselves. Mary Shelley is an incredibly good author, and she wrote about the creature in a compelling way. That said, I cannot stand Victor Frankenstein and the only sadness I felt at the end was for all the people who befriended him and paid the price. I also wish the monster got the love it so desperately wanted. To sum up, Frankenstein is a unique book that had me rooting for the so-called villain more than the main character.