Responsibility in Frankenstein

Introduction to Responsibility

Responsibility is the human ideal of being accountable for something that you either contributed to or created solely by you. Throughout the novel Victor's view on responsibility changes, these changes being a result from the creatures actions against those who Victor loves. We see Victor transform from someone who was irresponsible to someone who takes full responsibility for what he has created. The guilt that Victor has at the end of the novel is eventually what kills him showing how responsible he felt for his actions.

Chapter 5

After Victor sees the monster come to life he decides to run away from the problem he created, he says "I continued walking in this manner for some time, endeavoring by bodily exercise to ease the load that weighed upon my mind. (44)" this shows Victors lack of responsibility and carelessness after creating the monster. I would compare this lack of caring to people in modern day who have children and then leave them. They are upset with what they created similar to Victor and all they can think to do is leave.

Chapter 10

The creature talks about how the entire human race detests him and that Victor is his only hope of a connection with man. The creature says, "I am miserable, and they share my wretchedness. Yet it is in your power to recompense me, and deliver them from an evil which it only remains for you to make so great, that not only you and your family, but thousands of others, shall be swallowed up in the whirlwinds of its rage. (82)" this quote gives Victor a scare and shows what has happened due to his carelessness and lack of responsibility.

Chapter 11

When the creature tells his story he tells Victor about how he learned to live in the wild and teach himself how to talk. This should have been Victors job as his creator yet instead the creature had to do it himself. In this chapter the creature says, "It was about seven in the morning, and I longed to obtain food and shelter, (87)" This quote is an example of the creature taking responsibility and trying to obtain comfort.

Chapter 21

After the creature murders Henry Clerval Victor feels very much to blame for his death and the deaths of others by the hand of the creature. He says, "Have my murderous machinations deprived you also, my dearest Henry, of life? Two I have already destroyed; other victims await their destiny.(155)" Victor's guilt is a consequence of him feeling responsible for the actions of the creature.

Chapter 22

Again Victor talks about his guilt and feeling of being responsible for the deaths of his friends and family. He confesses his guilt to his father on his way back to his home saying, "I murdered her. William, Justine, and Henry - they all died by my hands. (163)" He realizes his father is the only person who will hear him out and is heartbroken in telling his father this.

Chapter 24

The last example of responsibility in the book is finally shown by the creature when he learns what responsibility is. He says, "When I run over the frightful catalog of my sins, I cannot believe that I am the same creature whose thoughts were once filled with sublime and transcendent visions of the beauty and the majesty of goodness. (196)" The creature finally realizes the result of his actions and is questioning why he acted in the way he did. After realizing this he decides to kill himself because he can not stand the guilt he now feels.

Modern Connections

In the modern world responsibility is something that is essential to our everyday lives. Responsibility is what gets you a job, a nice house, and a family that loves and trusts you. Some to the aspects of responsibility found in Frankenstein can also be found in our society today. When Victor first saw the creature move it scared him so much that he ran away, this could be compared to people today who have children and decide that they no longer want to be a parent after the child is born. Some people take responsibility for their actions and have the baby put up for adoption so that their child can have a good life. Others may do what Victor did and ignore their child or treat them poorly because they do not feel responsible for the child. I believe in our modern age we are losing the idea that responsibility is important and should be valued. Too many people in society take no responsibility for their actions and as a result put the burden on the rest of society similar to how Victor allowed the monster to wreak havoc while he was thinking about himself.


"Frankenstein." Havlicek's Classroom. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Mar. 2015.

Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft, Douglas Clegg, and Harold Bloom. Frankenstein, Or, The Modern Prometheus. New York, NY: Signet Classics, 2013. Print.

"Which Is the Monster? The Creature, or the Creator? | Far Flungers | Roger Ebert." All Content. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Mar. 2015.