Theme Of Selfishness In Frankenstein

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Selfish Desires
Selfishness has caused the downfall of countless characters throughout a multitude of literary works. This selfishness is also what usually precedes a character’s isolation due to the consequences of their actions. One example of this can be found in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein when Victor Frankenstein defies the natural order to accomplish his personal goals. Likewise, in “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”, by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, the Mariner makes a fatal mistake of performing a selfish action without thinking of the consequences. These works use the character’s actions and the main characters to explore how selfish decisions leads to one’s own isolation and the destruction of those around them.
In Frankenstein and “Rime
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For example, there is one devastating choice that the Mariner makes and that is when he "shot the Albatross" (Coleridge 2). It was this single moment that started the Mariner on his fall from the captain of a ship to the helpless secluded wretch he became. There was no reason for him to kill the bird that has guided them to safety other than the fact that he wanted to. The same way that the Mariner’s decision to kill the albatross led to his isolation, Victor was forced on the path to his destruction with his decision to “tear to pieces the thing on which [he] was engaged” (Shelley 156). When Victor made this decision he was not thinking about how it would affect the ones he loved and was only focused on what he desired to do. It was this selfish action that drove him into seclusion and brought the destruction of…show more content…
For instance, after the Mariners crew was taken from him because of his decision to kill the albatross he was forced to “look upon the rotting deck,” where all of his “dead men lay” (Coleridge 7). The Mariner is tortured by his isolation whenever he looks back at his mistakes. His choice to kill the albatross forced him into isolation which slowly eroded his will to live. Similar to the way the Mariner was tortured by his mistake, Victor is led to his demise after he “swears...to pursue the demon who caused this misery” (Frankenstein 193). Victors isolation corrupted his mind into thinking that the only path left to take was to hunt down his creation until it ended in his own or the creature’s death. This decision would not have had to be made if he still had the ones around him he loved, but his selfish actions ended their lives along with his happiness. While Victor’s journey ended in his death, the Mariner is burdened “with a woeful agony / which forced [him] to begin [his] tale” (Coleridge 14). Although the Mariner’s story did not end with his own, he carries with him a pain that he cannot escape unless he tells his story. This is the effect of the seclusion he had to endure and does not want anyone to meet the same fate that he experienced. The isolation of these characters eroded their minds and ultimately led to their demise.
Throughout these works,
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