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Loss Of Innocence In Frankenstein

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Loss of Innocence in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

Innocence, throughout time it is lost, varying from who and how much. Throughout the novel Frankenstein there is a central theme of loss of innocence, cleverly instilled by the author, Mary Shelley. This theme is evident in Frankenstein's monster, Victor Frankenstein himself, and three other minor characters that lose their innocence consequently from the two major characters loss.

Frankenstein's monster is destined to lose all innocence as he spirals downward into evil. When the monster is first "born" he can be compared to a baby, young and unknowledgeable to the ways of the world and in need of a caring parent and mentor. Unfortunately his foolish creator neglects the creation and in doing so sets the foundations for the monster's evil. The monster then flees the city and ends up taking refuge near a cottage where a family is staying. He exhibits gentle and caring feelings for the cottagers; he even came to help them out. "I had been accustomed during the night to steal a part of their share for my own consumption but when I found that in doing this I inflicted pain on the cottagers, I abstained, and satisfied myself with berries, nuts, and roots" (Shelley 78). He knew what he was doing to was hurting the cottagers indirectly so he stopped; he just wanted to help and have friends. Unfortunately his naivety and innocence would soon come to an end. In a brief tussle the owner of the cottage assaults the monster and gathers his family to run away. The monster was left alone wallowing in his feeling of betrayal and anger. His emotions take hold and just like that he gives up his innocence in a rage fueled vow. "I vowed eternal hatred and vengeance to all mankind" (Shelley 81). His new found lust for revenge leads him to Geneva, the one place he knew his creator called home in hopes of quenching his bloodlust. Upon arriving in Geneva he stumbles upon a young boy. He brashly decides to take the boy for a companion so that he may have one friend in his life but the boy throws a fit and in this fit mentions his grandfather's name, Frankenstein. This catapults the monster into a rage and without thought ends the boy's life, "I gazed on my victim and my heart swelled with exultation and hellish triumph" (Shelley 83). With this atrocious act now under his belt the monster, although being alive, has killed his innocence and sealed its coffin. From here on out he only spirals further downward into all things malevolent.

The other main character, the creator of the monster, Victor Frankenstein experiences his loss of innocence through his unrelenting thirst for knowledge. This thirst for knowledge would be his eventual downfall and his loss of innocence. He knew nothing but of good and wholesome thoughts before he decided to attend school where his thirst for knowledge would become unquenchable. When he was you he was to his parents, "their plaything and their idol, and something better their child, the innocent and helpless creature bestowed on them by heaven, whom they should bring up good" (Shelley 22). This is how Victor was as a child and a young man, unfortunately this innocence does not last. Once he fully becomes immersed in his schooling he becomes dangerously obsessed, teetering on the edge of sanity. "From this day natural philosophy, and particularly chemistry, in the most comprehensive sense of the term, became nearly my sole occupation" (Shelley 33). He became truly obsessive over all the possibilities of science and through countless hours of planning and calculating he created the monster. This was the actual turning point for Victor in the story because although he did it unwittingly he had created the monster which irrevocably would lead him to his loss of innocence. As the novel goes on everyone Victor once cared for are decimated in the path of his creation. "I was possessed by a maddening rage when I thought of him and desired and ardently prayed that I might have him within my grasp to wreak a great



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