Life of Victor Frankenstein and That of His Creature


Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is based on a creation of a creature by Doctor Victor. He created, what he called, a “wretch” that looked very different from the rest of society. People thought this creature was ferocious, dangerous, and a threat to society. In this novel, the creature tells the story of his life and how he was an outsider to society. Victor sits and listens quietly as his creation begins to tell the tale of all the stages of his life up until that point in time.


Mary Shelley creates a lot of differentiation between Victor Frankenstein and his creation, but at the same time, she creates similarities. , Victor’s parents have always given him love and fully filled all his desires. While from day one creature is neglected by his creator. In spite of these differences, victor and his creature both face problems, which in the end result in their deaths as well as those close to them. Even though Victor’s apparently peaceful upbringing sharply can be compared to creatures neglected ‘childhood,’ both of these situations may have resulted in mutual destruction. While Victor forces the condition on himself, his creature does no such thing. This makes it extremely hard for the readers to make a decision about who to show their sympathies with.

The creature has killed everyone who was close to Frankenstein and enjoys killing other people. However, Frankenstein has neglected his monster and thus he has become a horrible monster from a caring being.

The creature’s life is mainly based on confusion and fear. He is living and trying to survive in a forest, and is very unfamiliar with his surroundings. He figures out how to start a fire and, thus, keep warm. A fire was left by some beggars and the creature, feeling its warmth and noticing its light, discovers how to prolong the flame to help keep himself alive.

The light from the fire contributed to his attempts to obtain as much food as possible over the time spent in the woods. He gathered berries, nuts, roots, and acorns, already realizing on his own that food is a necessity for survival. Finally, this creature comes across a shepherd’s hut, in hope that his life will soon change. The hut, to him, is a new discovery and he notices how it keeps out rain and snow and provides protection from the cold forest; this intrigues him. However, the creature is chased away just as fast as he entered and, while escaping the villagers, comes across a small “hovel” in the country. It is here he discovers the people in the cottage, which adjoins his hovel. The creature is immediately interested in them and begins to watch and observe them…I felt sensations of a peculiar and overpowering nature: they were a mixture of pain and pleasure such as I had never before experienced (Shelley p96), “At this particular point in his journey, the creature is extremely at a loss as to who these folks are and why they behave the particular way that they do. However, this perplexity and wonderment lead to interest and thus the creature’s months of observance begin.

As Victor’s creation moves in his story, his life is filled with knowledge and understanding of his surroundings begins to develop and, in a way, he feels he has found his home. The creature, still unknown to Agatha, Felix, and De Lacy becomes a part of their lives. He watches Felix and Agatha perform their daily chores, such as gathering wood for the fireplace, pulling out roots and plants from their garden for food, milking the cows, and keeping the cottage in good condition. He observes and listens to De Lacy play an instrument and finds comfort and pleasure in doing so

In Volume II, Chapter IV, the creature first refers to this peasant family as his friends, and, later, “protectors”, and that, to him, is what they are. By observing these people, he starts to learn their language, beginning with simple and basic words, such as fire milk, bread, and wood. As the season’s change, Frankenstein’s creature’s spirits are very high. He is finally beginning to feel like he fits in somewhere and is anxious to continue to learn from this family.

The creature is extremely content and more satisfied with his life. The fourth and final stage in the creature’s life is one of grief and sorrow. He finally builds up enough courage to confront the old man and ask him for acceptance. He has come to trust these people to act and respond to him differently than the people he had previously encountered and this was a huge step for the creature. After talking for a while with De Lacy, the creature starts to think that he has a chance for acceptance and, maybe, eventual love. However, his hopes and trust were quickly shot down. The creature said to the old man, “Now is the time – save and protect me! You and your family are the friends whom I seek. Do not you desert me in the hour of trial?”(Shelley p123) Felix, unaware of his conversation with De Lacy, and his situation, jumped the creature, beat him, and chased him away.

The creature thought for sure that the cottagers would accept him and treat him as they treated each other-with kindness and love. But he was wrong and that killed him inside. That family was the creature’s last bit of hope and now, he said, “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”. These feelings of anger, hatred, and revenge later led to the death of William, Victor’s brother. Not only had the creature given up on all humankind, but he felt a specific urge and need to gain retribution towards the one who had created him and caused all his pain and misery-this one being Victor Frankenstein.


Victor Frankenstein’s creation lived a life of misery and despair. Everyone he encountered judged him, believing he was a hideous monster, and no one gave him a chance to prove them wrong. He faced many hardships and as soon as things seemed to be improving (when he came across the cottagers, got to know them, and began to trust them), everything blew up in his face and he was right back where he started. He killed Victor’s brother, William, best friend, Henry, family friend, Justine (indirectly), and lover, Elizabeth. He ruined Victor’s life but only because Victor had ultimately ruined his. It would be very interesting to see how things would have turned out if Victor raised his creation, taught him good values, and, basically, fathered him. There most likely would have been a lot less despair and a lot more delight.


Shelley Mary; Frankenstein; Penguin Books 1992, pp. 96-123

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