The Qualities of a True Friend

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Friendship is an everlasting bond that demands love, trust, and making sacrifices. It is a mutual union in which people expect selfless support and motivation from their true friends. The bond can, however, only last if friends are there for each other in good and bad times. Friends do not only help each other in overcoming challenges, but they also bring happiness in one’s life. Friends are an essential ingredient to live a prosperous social life. In the novel Frankenstein Shelley expresses the worth of friendship through Henry Clerval’s self-sacrificing support for Victor. Clerval goes beyond his limits to assist Victor in sickness and difficult times. Although Walton longs for Victor to become his true friend, Victor should be the least desirable friend in anyone’s life. It is better to have an enemy than an insidious friend. Victor does not have the capacity to be a true friend because he alienates himself, he is selfish, and he does not trust anyone, even his family.
Victor Frankenstein is not capable of being a true friend because he desires to live in isolation. He chooses the goal of creating life over his family and the society. He deprives himself of “rest and health” and gives total attention to his scientific studies in Ingolstadt (57). Victor chooses to alienate himself as he sets up his laboratory “in a solitary chamber, or rather cell, at the top of the house” (52). This isolated laboratory reveals that Victor prefers to be alone. He does not care about his family or Clerval. He cannot be a true friend because he does not maintain any contact with Clerval throughout his studies until he becomes severely sick after creating the monster.
After William’s death, Victor chooses to live in solitude rather than with his family or Clerval: “I shunned the face of man; all sound of joy or complacency was torture to me; solitude was my only consolation -- deep, dark, deathlike solitude” (90). Victor’s desire to stay alone shows that he is not very attached with his family or Henry. Unlike a true friend, he takes Henry’s support for granted and makes no effort to stay with him. Victor lives in isolation and he is always in need of help. It is certainly better to not have a friend than have someone who always leads to trouble. Victor seeks Henry’s assistance throughout his life and ultimately gets him killed by the monster. Thus, Victor does not have the capacity to be a true friend.
The ambition to discover the secret of life transforms Victor into a selfish person. Victor is selfish because he abandons the creature instantly after his creation. He runs away to overcome the disgust of monster’s appearance: “Unable to endure the aspect of the being I had created, I rushed out of the room, and continued a long time traversing my bed chamber, unable to compose my mind to sleep” (57). Victor’s actions reveal that he thinks about himself before his companions....

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