The theme of revenge in the novel “Frankenstein”
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1) Victor’s revenge in defying his father
“But the cursory glance my father had taken of my volume by no means assured me that he was acquainted with its contents, and I continued to read with the greatest avidity.” (page 25)
Victor continued to read the books of natural philosophy by Cornelius Agrippa, in defiance of his father’s wishes.
2) Victor’s revenge in pursuing math and science
“…I at once gave up my former occupations, set down natural history and all its progeny as a deformed and abortive creation, and entertained the greatest disdain for a would-be science which could never even step within the threshold of real knowledge.” (page 27)
After witnessing the tree destroyed by lightning, Victor begins to study math and science obsessively as a sort of revenge on “wasting” so much time studying natural history.
In the middle of the novel…
1) The monster’s revenge on the cottagers
“But again when I reflected that they had spurned and deserted me, anger returned, a rage of anger, and unable to injure anything human, I turned my fury towards inanimate objects.” (page 127)
The burning of the De Lacey cottage is the monster’s first major act of revenge; the reader begins to see the evil side of the monster developing.
2) The murder of William
“‘Frankenstein! You belong then to my enemy – to him towards whom I have sworn eternal revenge; you shall be my first victim.'” (page 131)
This is the monster’s first murder; it becomes evident at this point that revenge has become the monster’s obsession.
3) The monster’s request for a companion
“‘My companion must be of the same species and have the same defects. This being you must create.'” (page 133)
This request is the monster’s first plan for revenge on Frankenstein, as he knows this task will make him miserable. We are also not sure if the monster’s promise to live in isolation with this creature is honest.
At the end of the novel…
1) Victor destroys the monster’s companion
“The wretch saw me destroy the creature whose future existence he depended for happiness, and with a howl of devilish despair and revenge, withdrew.” (page 156)
Victor makes sure that the monster is never able to become happy and, at this point, the monster’s sole purpose of existence becomes his revenge on Victor.
2) The murder of Henry Clerval and Elizabeth
“‘Have my murderous machinations deprived you also, my dearest Henry, of life? Two I have already destroyed; others victims await their destiny; but you, Clerval, my friend…'” (page 167)
These murders are the peak of the monster’s revenge against Victor. Victor then swears revenge in promising to track the monster until one of the, was dead.
3) The death of Frankenstein
“‘Blasted as thou wert, my agony was still superior to thine, for the bitter sting of remorse will not cease to rankle in my wounds until death shall close them forever.'” (page 213)
The monster believed that he could make Victor more miserable than himself until death. At this point he realizes that in the end his misery still existed and revenge truly never paid off.