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How does Mary Shelley deal with the theme of guilt in Volume 1 of Frankenstein?

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Introduction

How does Mary Shelley deal with the theme of guilt in Volume 1 of Frankenstein? Victor Frankenstein's thirst for knowledge endangered many lives and caused chaos and sorrow to the society he lived in.In chapter two,the mood becomes sober as Victor assumes a tone of regret at having gone overboard in his surge for greater knowledge.However,Victor subtly lays the blame on his father and feels that his father's dismissal of such authors as Paracelsus had in fact provoked him to venture further into the old sciences.Victor Frankenstein did not,initially,claim any responsibility for his actions and this eventually leads to the deaths of innocent people. Victor's departure for Ingolstadt is delayed by Elizabeth's illness,which he believed to be an omen of his future misery.Victor is now completely overcome by guilt when he looks back at wanting to pursue his studies in the forbidden field.This sense of guilt is similar to the guilt that 'the ancient mariner' felt after he had shot the albatross.Victor's ambition, however, overcomes guilt as he pursues nature in all her 'hiding places'. ...read more.

Middle

He holds himself responsible for having the potential to lead Elizabeth,his dear cousin, to her death. He is now terribly overcome by guilt ,even though he has realised his mistake. He is aware of the fact that he has overstepped his limits. He is oppressed by the image of his glorious dream turned into a nightmare. Morning dawns but still no hope, only rain from a 'comfortless' sky. The weather seems to embody Victor's sadness and grief.Mary Shelley employs the 'pathetic fallacy' theory where the surroundings seems to show sympathy with the characters.When Victor receives the news of his little brother,William's,murder he is horrified and this is seen as another setback in his life. When he leaves for Geneva, nostalgia captivated his imagination. Victor feels threatened by the nature as the events take on a more dramatic tone with the occurence of storms and lightning. ...read more.

Conclusion

Therefore, he cannot rectify the situation. Mary Shelley focuses on Victor's fear of being labeled a 'madman' if he were to proclaim his feelings publicly. He tries his best not to succumb to his feelings of horror and guilt that keep growing stronger ,especially at the time of Justine's trial.The author also criticizes socitey in general. People who have known Justine to be a good and kind person would have spoken in her favour, but the 'fear and hatred of the crime of which they supposed her guilty rendered them timorous , and unwilling to come forward'.When Justine dies ,Victor feels guilty because he is still alive and she died ora crime that he actually committed. Victor felt responsible for the deaths of William and Justine because if he had not created the monster or shown some form of affection towards the creature, 'the monster ' may not have been so vengeful and the scientist's loved ones may have been saved. Victor's desperate thirst for knowledge lead to his deep guilt of the creation of the grotesque fiend. ...read more.

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