Saturday, December 12, 2015

Frankenstein's Vow of Revenge

I love this scene as Victor kneels before the Frankenstein family tomb mourning his dead family, the victims of his creature as they lie in eternal rest, and he swears to avenge their deaths:

By the sacred earth on which I kneel, by the shades that wander near me, by the deep and eternal grief that I feel, I swear; and by thee, O Night, and the spirits that preside over thee, to pursue the demon who caused this misery, until he or I shall perish in mortal conflict. For this purpose I will preserve my life; to execute this dear revenge will I again behold the sun and tread the green herbage of earth, which otherwise should vanish from my eyes forever. And I call on you spirits of the dead, and on you, wandering ministers of vengeance, to aid and conduct me in my work. Let the cursed and hellish monster drink deep of agony; let him feel the despair that now torments me. (Mary Shelley)

He feels powerful as he summons spirits of the dead and ministers of vengeance as he kneels at dusk in a graveyard feeling the presence of the dead around him. He's like a warlock or a sorcerer conjuring an army of spirits to help him in his quest. The imagery in this scene and Shelley's prose makes this my favorite scene in the novel.

Shelley gives Victor some real and rare passion here. He has a purpose and a reason to live like during the time that he was studying and creating his creature. Other than these two events, Victor's life is pretty much a depressing void where his greatest pleasure is found in solitary pursuits hiking and rowing and enjoying nature. He's happiest when he's escaped society and his family. Perhaps because these two episodes of Victor's life are the only times he truly feels alive with passion and a sense of purpose, it explains why he didn't attempt to pursue and destroy his monster after the initial murder of William and the subsequent execution of Justine, falsely convicted of William's murder. Then he allows his best friend to be murdered, then his bride. Maybe deep down he wanted the creature to do his evil deeds for him and rid himself of the society that constricted his life with the restrictions that caused him, by duty to his beloved father, to remain in his empty depressing existence with his family.

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