Frankenstein As A Hero In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

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In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, the main character, Victor Frankenstein, may not exactly qualify as a “hero,” but is still a fitting figure for a piece of literary advice. Thomas Foster advises to “never stand next to the hero,” well in this case, the characters in Frankenstein should, “never stand next to the main character.” In Victor Frankenstein’s story, he is shaped from an early age by the people that surround him. He then in turn desires to shape and create another life all on his own. Soon after realizing his mistake in giving life, however, he is forced to deal with the calamitous consequences of the figure that has charged into the natural world. To keep Frankenstein concerned with the actions of this creature however, Shelley …show more content…
Thomas Foster in How to Read Literature Like a Professor gives insight into the relationship between types of characters: “Round characters are what we would call three dimensional, full of traits and strengths and weaknesses and contradictions, capable of change and growth...Flat characters not so much. They lack full development” (Foster 84). The main attributes to the development of Frankenstein’s adolescence, Elizabeth, Henry Clerval, and his mother, are prime examples of these flat characters. They are in the story primarily to shape Frankenstein and provide plot action when needed, plot action to be discussed later. Elizabeth is key to developing the nurturing and loving side of young Frankenstein; when his mother gives him “possession” of Elizabeth, he takes it quite literally. It is his duty in life to care for and protect this bright eyed little creature. Henry Clerval, the best friend, is used as any young friendship should be used, to develop the social skills necessary for human companionship. Frankenstein recounts that “It was my temper to avoid a crowd, and to attach myself fervently to a few...but I united myself in the closest bonds of friendship to one among them;” adapting this skill of bonding is what makes him able to develop relationships with other students …show more content…
He quickly learns the fault in his thinking that he has the right to toy with life when the most prominent people in his life are being killed off one by one. After the death of Henry he exclaims “Have my murderous machinations deprived you also, my dearest Henry, of life? Two I have already destroyed; other victims await their destiny,” thus realizing he is the true reason his friends are dead. (Shelley 135). He furthermore changes, or more specifically matures, by the fact that he has gained a sense of responsibility. Once his father dies and he is left with no one else to care for he makes it his life 's mission to track down the creature. After failing to muster the resources of the magistrate he explains to him “ My rage in unspeakable when I reflect that the murderer, whom I have turned loose upon society, still exists. You refuse my just demand: I have but one resource; and I devote myself, either in my life or death, to his destruction” (Shelley 153). He knows that he has made a life altering mistake when he created this monster, and that it is now his duty to make sure he no longer has the capability to endanger anyone else.
Whether or not Frankenstein is classified as a hero in his story, the characters usage and situations surrounding him still fit the bill of Foster’s “Never Stand

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