Frankenstein:Innocence and Guilt By Hannah Steiner, Ryan Tat, KeithanDenkinger, and Matt Hergert Munoz pd. 5
What is Guilt? • The fact of having committed a breach of conduct especially violating law and involving a penalty; broadly : guilty conduct • The state of one who has committed an offense especially consciously • Feelings of culpability especially for imagined offenses or from a sense of inadequacy • Dictionary.com
How Guilt relates to Frankenstein. • Guilt has a very prominent place in the novel, as one of the most talked about emotions in the text. It serves as the motive behind many of the characters actions as well.
Guilt and the Creation of it’s Bride • Victor feels that if he were to create another creature, that it would only double the problems that could arise. After seeing the destruction and horror of his first creature, he decides to abandon the bride, before he creates another monster.
The Effect of Guilt on Frankenstein Over Time • Over time, Victor feels as if he has created a terrible monster, which he has. “I was seized by remorse and the sense of guilt, which hurried me away to a hell of intense tortures, such as no language can describe.”(61) Upon Justine’s death, the guilt of his creation took its toll on Victor Frankenstein, who even considered suicide at one point
The Effect of Guilt on the Monster Over Time • Because of his hideousness, the monster feels despised and rejected. “The monster ends up lonely and tormented by remorse”, because everybody who sees him cannot look past his physical appearance. He feels guilty because of all the wrong doing he has committed, even though he had no intentions for them initially.
What is innocence? • the quality or state of being innocent; freedom from sin or moral wrong • Dictionary.com
How it relates to Frankenstein • Victor Frankenstein’s creature turns out to be a monstrosity, even though he had not intended to do so. His seemingly “innocent” behavior sets the foundation for the rest of the novel, where, time after time, innocence is lost.
Death and Innocence, the first incident. • William was the creatures first murder. In doing so, he lost all innocence he might have had. Also, he framed Justine for murdering William, and she later died an innocent woman as a direct result, which shows that the creature, although he originally had good intentions, was becoming more and more corrupt.
Death and Innocence, Cont. • The many deaths in the novel, particularly William, Justin, Elizabeth, and Clerval, were characters portrayed as gentle, kind, and above all, innocent. Victor’s and the monster’s loss of innocence led to their untimely deaths. Their deaths are a representation of innocence as fleeting and that it will be destroyed by the reality of human nature.
Victor Frankenstein’s Loss of Innocence, and it’s effects • The most obvious case of lost innocence involves Victor. He aims to explore “unknown powers” and enlighten all of humanity to the deepest “mysteries of creation,” but his success and his pride brings an end to his innocence. He creates a monster that reflects back to him the many flaws inherent in his own species (an unquenchable thirst for love, a tendency toward violence, and a bloodthirsty need for justice and revenge) and in himself (prejudice based on appearance). And, in turn, Victor’s cruel “un-innocent” behavior also destroys the monster’s innocence.
The effects of the Monster’s Loss of Innocence • The creature is born innocent. Upon being ridiculed and rejected, he becomes angrier at the world. He kills William and Elizabeth, both whose characters represents innocence. The murders represent the creature’s innocence being destroyed. Soon, he loses all innocence and his corrupted life becomes obsessed with destroying Victor’s life and all that he loves.
Sources • http://www.litcharts.com/lit/frankenstein/themes • Dictionary.com