One’s nature has always influenced his or her actions. Everyone has his or her unique attitude but there are different attributes that make up one’s attitude. Arrogance, overconfidence, greed, selfishness, selflessness, benevolence, and fear are among these attributes. In the novel Frankenstein, Mary Shelley empowers her characters with these attributes. In the gothic novel Frankenstein, the character Victor creates a creature in order to fulfill his ambitions. This creature is abandoned by Victor, which causes the creature to be overwhelmed with loneliness. Everyone judges the creature by his appearance and this causes the creature to disdain his master. The creature murders Victor’s family and later both of them duel each other in order to satiate their need of vengeance. In Frankenstein, Mary Shelley uses the characterizations of Victor and the creature in order to convey the idea that those who are overwhelmed with ignorance and arrogance are bound to experience sorrow.
First, Shelley characterizes Victor as an ignorant man to convey the idea that ignorance leads to sorrow. In the following passage, Victor is informing Walton of how he had worked day and night without sleep; however, all of his hard work was in vain:
I had worked hard for nearly two years, for the sole purpose of infusing life into an inanimate for this I had deprived myself of rest and health. I had desired it with an ardour that far exceeded moderation; but now that I had finished, the beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled my heart. Unable to endure the aspect of the being I had created, I rushed out of the room, continued a long time traversing my bed chamber, unable to compose my mind to sleep. (Shelley 47)
Shelley uses the word “ardour” to emphasize the sorrow that is present within Victor. Shelley mentions that Victor’s heart is filled with “horror and disgust” in order to inform the reader of how Victor is unhappy. Shelley also mentions that Victor has been working for almost two years to create life, which shows that he is hardworking. However, this also reveals that Victor is ignorant because he has been working for such a long time without worrying about the consequences and even more importantly his health. Therefore, Victor’s ignorance has caused him to feel remorse.
Also, Shelley characterizes the creature as an ignorant man in order to emphasize that ignorance causes sorrow. Furthermore the creature is reflecting on his misfortune and he is criticizing knowledge:
Of what a strange nature is knowledge! It clings to the mind, when it has once seized on it, like a lichen on the rock. I wished sometimes to shake off all thought and feeling; but I learned that there was but one means to overcome the sensation of pain, and that was death--a state which I feared yet did not understand....