Byronic Hero In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

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A common definition of a hero is one who defies the given law and creates their own storyline through his or her actions. However, In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, we see Victor Frankenstein go under a complete mentality change due to his curiosity in science, which leads him to becoming what is known as a byronic hero. Shelley shows Victor’s descent into madness by exploiting certain byronic characteristics such as a destructive passion, self-doubt, and loneliness. Victor’s passion ultimately proves destructive as it only causes him and his surrounding people pain and grief. Knowing he is causing said grief, Victor plummets into a self-loathing and lonely period where he must remain isolated. Victor’s curiosity is what accomplishes Shelley’s…show more content…
When our protagonist has a visit from his friend Henry, he feels as if it has been so long since he has had contact with any of his true friends, and he says “Company was irksome to me; when alone, I could fill my mind with the sights of heaven and earth” (Shelley 293). Shelley effectively makes Victor even more of a Byronic hero by exploiting the quality of loneliness in the way of how Victor seems to be rejecting all social norms. As evidenced by this quote, the self-loathing has evolved to the point that Victor doesn't even want to create societal contact, extending the regret of his former desire. The ideal hero as one might normally describe would be outgoing and not focusing on his problems, or at least know how to work around his or her difficulties.
In conclusion, Mary Shelley does market Victor Frankenstein as a Byronic hero. What separates him from the ideal hero is how unusual his actions and qualities make him. He is a man with a scarred past and this continues to haunt him until his eventual death in the arms of Walton. His destructive desire is what eventually makes him a lonely and self-loathing man walking down a path to his own demise. But what all of these qualities really make isn't an unfortunate protagonist- it makes for an excellent example of the aforementioned Byronic
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