Victor Frankenstein: Product Of His Upbringing

2116 words - 9 pages

The psychoanalytical critique of literature is subject to Freud’s hypothesis that authors, readers, and even characters are motivated by unconscious yet controlling desires. These desires are filtered within the unconscious mind, transformed to be as societally acceptable as possible, and then rationalized by their keeper’s mind, all while keeping the original motives secreted away within his or her unconscious. Since the filtering process has disguised the desires, literary criticism is utilized with the intention of finding that which has been elected by the unconscious as acceptable representations for them. The critic then deciphers aspects of the characters, including but not limited ...view middle of the document...

These small upsets, which should occur in childhood, prepare children for the ordeals they will one day face alone. Due to his insular, swaddled upbringing, Victor cannot truly grasp the notions of loneliness, want, sacrifice, or mourning. Accordingly, he does not develop the requisite social skills to meet with those outside his family; he cannot relate to or empathize with anyone. Even Clerval, his best friend, as close to him as a brother, is with him from early childhood and brought to him by his father. Victor, throughout his first seventeen years of life, is raised to be completely reliant upon his parents (whom he admits were “indulgent”), siblings, and Henry for everything he can ever want in the world, even his future wife (Shelley, 52). Bluntly put, because Victor’s parents raise him within the most insular bubble imaginable, he is incapable of coping with the sudden and tragic death of his mother. However, Victor might have recovered, moving forward and living his life on a productive path, had he not been sent away, alone, by his father so soon after, and quite alone at that.
While the average individual would simply have been stripped of their most immediate support system, Victor is stripped of his identity due to his dependency on his relatives. Being uprooted and isolated immediately after such anguish, especially “the first misfortune of [Victor’s] life,” is the worst thing that could occur after such a traumatic and defining life event (Shelley, 58). His whole life is comprised of only six people and not only has one died, lost to him permanently, but the others have seemingly abandoned him. Victor recognizes that there is no pressing need for him to become independent from his father, that he could be given the necessary time to grieve amongst family, not alone at a foreign school where all he meets are devoted to his education, not him as a person. As stated earlier, Victor is dependent upon his parents for any companions in his life; they introduced him to Clerval and Elizabeth, and birthed his brothers. Now however, once he is “in the university, whither [he] was going, [he] must form [his] own friends, and be [his] own protector,” a necessity which he has not even the slightest idea of how to accomplish (Shelley, 60). Beginning his journey with the apprehension that he is not fit to be amongst strangers, Victor bolsters his resolve with the idea that he will soon fulfill his desire to acquire yet more knowledge, “to enter the world, and take [his] station among other human beings.” (Shelley, 61). Thereafter, Victor throws himself into the only beloved part of his childhood he can have with him at university, the study of natural philosophy. He has, for much of his short life, been taken with the idea of “banish[ing] disease from the human frame, and render[ing] man invulnerable to any but a violent death!” (Shelley, 54). When Victor initially comes to be infatuated with the works of long-dead alchemists,...

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