Sweet Vengeance?

Vengeance is a major theme prominent throughout Frankenstein. “Bill” seeks to destroy his creator, the creator, who instantaneously abandoned him after noticing his hideous appearance. Is it right of the “monster” to kill Victor’s family and friends? Or is it in fact a human trait to make sure that an individual is on an equal platform as their counterpart?

Throughout the novel, while narrating the story to Walton, Victor refers to his creation as the devil, the demon, or the wretch. The “monster,” on the other hand, addressed Victor in a divine manner and looks upon Victor to fulfill his requests and rightfully so, because it is his right to be nurtured by his creator. “Oh!  My creator, make me happy; let me feel gratitude towards you for one benefit! Let me see that I excite the sympathy of some existing thing; do not deny me my request” (Shelley, 157). Victor deprives Bill of this basic human necessity. Bill is neglected by his creator and detested by other beings around him. The only being the “demon” could seek help from was Victor but he wasn’t there for him. “From you only could I hope for succor, although towards you I felt no sentiment but that of hatred. Unfeeling, heartless creator! You had endowed me with perceptions and passions, and then cast be abroad an object for the scorn and horror of mankind” (Shelley, 152). Victor unjustly denies Bill of the fundamental need of any new-born being, a guardian.

Undoubtedly, this act of Victor wasn’t humane. Bill perceives Victors act to be immoral and murders William. By doing so, he commits an act of retributive justice. In Islam, justice is based on the concept of “an eye for an eye”. “In the Torah We prescribed for them a life for a life, an eye for an eye, a nose for a nose, an ear for an ear, a tooth for a tooth, an equal wound for a wound: if anyone forgoes this out of charity, it will serve as atonement for his bad deeds” (Quran, 5:45). Revenge has been classified as a natural human instinct in Islam and in many other religions. It was, and still is, a natural human characteristic to inflict proportionate loss and pain on the aggressor as he has inflicted on him. Although by murdering William, Henry Clerval and Elizabeth, the “monster” commits criminal acts, he is justified in making Victor feel the same way that he feels. If Bill doesn’t get to have a guardian, a friend or a partner, Victor (his creator) doesn’t get to have those relations either. Bill obviously wouldn’t be allowed to enter a supreme court so he has to take steps to make sure he is on an equal platform with Victor. Similarly, after the murder of Elizabeth, Victor develops an obsessive urge for revenge. Neither Victor nor Bill are “monsters” if they take justice into their own hands.

  1. I think you bring up a good point about the concept of eye for an eye. Frankenstein and Bill are engaged in a never ending cycle of vengeance. Frankenstein wronged Bill by neglecting him and depriving him of car and love, so Bill retaliates by taking away the people that Frankenstein loves and cares about. While I agree that Frankenstein is to blame for Bill’s behavior, I still don’t think that Frankenstein’s negligence justifies Bill’s actions.

  2. This is certainly an important theme throughout the novel. The characters are definitely willing to hurt each other for the sake of “feeling better.” They figure that the best way to comfort and console themselves is to make the other feel more miserable. This adds more to the point that both Victor and the monster are very similar people, since they think in a similar manner. I’m sure there are more instances that point to this similarity in character, but their way of thinking is something not to neglect.

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