Responsibility in Frankenstein

Text by Mary Shelley

Throughout the book, responsibility is shown in many ways. Both the creature as well as Victor show how responsibility or lack thereof can impact one's life greatly.
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This is a photo of Victor Frankenstein.

Responsibility Today

Responsibility plays a huge role in one's life. This is especially true for people in their final year of high school, as it is around the time when people start having a lot of responsibility in their lives. More people are going to college each year, and that number will continue to rise. 21 million students attended American universities in 2014, which is an increase of 5.7 million since the Fall of 2000 (Back To School Statistics.) Although the type of responsibility shown in 'Frankenstein' is very different from the example of going to college, both have similar qualities. For example, when a student goes to college, there are many new things that they have to do that they may not have previously done before (i.e. doing laundry, buying groceries, etc.) While Victor did not have to do these things in the novel, he did present himself with many tasks, such as protecting his family and himself from the creature, and even creating a female companion. Responsibility is a very important skill to learn in today's world, and 'Frankenstein' can show the dangers of not taking responsibility for one's actions.
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This graph shows that as the years have gone on, more and more people have been obtaining degrees of all levels. This illustrates the need for personal responsibility, as we are living in a world that is constantly getting more competitive.


The first quote I have chosen is taken from when the creature and Victor meet for the first time since his creation in chapter 10: "...Yet you, my creator, detest and spurn me, thy creature, to whom thou art bound by ties only dissoluble by the annihilation of one of us." This quote is essentially showing the creature calling out Victor on his lack of responsibility. He is saying that he is not surprised Victor referred to him as "Devil". However, the creature does not think of himself as such a bad person, and places the blame on Victor, as he is the creature's creator. The creature is saying it is Victor's fault for his lack of responsibility after his creation.

The second quote I have found in regards to responsibility is also found in chapter 10, and is again the creature questioning Frankenstein's reasoning for hostility: "How dare you sport thus with life." This quote also shows the creature indirectly calling Victor irresponsible and hypocritical.

The next quote is found in chapter 16 and shows the creature talking to Victor: "I am alone and miserable: man will not associate with me; but one as deformed and horrible as myself would not deny herself to me. My companion must be of the same species and have the same defects. This being you must create." This is the creature telling Victor he must make a companion for him because it is his responsibility to do so. This shows responsibility through the creature's eyes, as he believes it is Victor's job to do this.

Another quote I found that relates to responsibility is found in chapter 5: "Unable to endure the aspect of the being I had created, I rushed out of the room, continued a long time traversing my bed chamber, unable to compose my mind to sleep." This quote is said by Victor after he had constructed the creature. It shows responsibility because he mentions that he keeps walking around his bedroom unaware of what to do. He can't even take responsibility for his actions.

The next quote I found is also from chapter 5: "I stepped fearfully in: the apartment was empty; and my bedroom was also freed from its hideous guest. I could hardly believe that so great a good fortune could have befallen me; but when I became assured that my enemy had indeed fled, I clapped my hands for joy, and ran down to Clerval." This quote is found once Victor returns to his house to find that the creature is no longer there. He is very pleased to see this, as he no longer has to deal with it, or feel responsible for nay of its actions. He is so happy that he celebrates.

My final quote is from chapter 9: "I thought also of my father and surviving brother: should I by my base desertion leave them exposed and unprotected to the malice of the fiend whom I had let loose among them?" This quote shows responsibility in that Victor is debating with himself about how to handle the situation. Because he is responsible for creating the monster, he is worried he will feel guilty if it harms his family at all.

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This is a photo of Elizabeth
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This is a more traditional representation of what the monster looked like.

Works Cited

"Back to School Statistics." Institute of Education Sciences. Department of Education, n.d.

Web. 23 Mar. 2015.

Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. N.p.: New American Library, n.d. Print.