ethics of creation


Frankenstein shows Victor as a tragic character whose arrogance causes his own downfall. Although Victor initially hesitates to create a human being, "my imagination was too much exalted by my first success [with lower animals] to permit me to doubt of my ability to give life to an animal as complex and wonderful as man" (491). His arrogance blinds his judgment, and this impaired judgment causes him to commit hubris much like the fabled Prometheus. This arrogance escalates into a desire to obtain divine status. Victor speaks lightly of life and death, describing them as "ideal bounds, which I should first break through" (491). He becomes even more heretical when he imagines himself as a new God, whose "new species would bless me as its creator and source; many happy and excellent natures would owe their being to me" (491). Victor thus perceives himself to be above life, death, and humanity itself. Shelley strongly criticizes this attitude in the novel with the eventual deaths of Victor's friends and family; with each death, Victor becomes weaker and feels more powerless.




  approach to knowledge




lack of responsibility

of the educator

of the creator




  other themes