Guilt In Frankenstein

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There are very few people that would question the dark and horrific nature of Mary Shelley’s writing in her novel Frankenstein. However, Mary also manages to connect the reader to the characters through the use of an emotion that is not commonly found in the horror genre. Guilt is one of the major over-arching themes of Frankenstein and can entirely change how a reader may view a given character, and Shelley uses this to show how each character changes over the course of the story. In the novel, nearly every character goes through their own stage of guilt of varying intensities. Elizabeth, Victor, and even the monster feel guilt for their actions or lack thereof. Victor is arguably the character that experiences the most powerful and frequent…show more content…
Victor claims that, despite all of his hard work, even at the time, he “always came from [his] studies discontented and unsatisfied,” but he continued to study simply because he thought this was the only way for him to quench…show more content…
Elizabeth only shows guilt a small number of times, with the most notable of these instances being over the death of William and the condemnation of Justine for William’s murder. It is rather obvious that Elizabeth blames herself for the murder of William, as she states, “O God! I have murdered my darling child” (Shelley 137). While it is understandable for her to believe that she played a role in the murder since she thinks the fact that she allowed William to wear the valuable locket is what resulted in his death, she would be entirely without blame even if this was the case. The next prominent occurrence of Elizabeth’s self-reproach is once Justine tells her and Victor that she had not committed the murder she confessed to. Once Justine had informed Elizabeth that the confession was untruthful, Elizabeth immediately goes into a stage of regret for ever even questioning Justine’s innocence and begs her for forgiveness by saying, “forgive me for having for on moment distrusted you,” although she had no way of knowing otherwise (Shelley 172). However, Elizabeth is not the only character in the novel that felt guilt over an issue they had no control
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