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Loss of Innocence - Frakenstein

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Humans are born with a certain innocence that throughout time and circumstance becomes tainted and eventually loss. Mary Shelley implements this idea throughout “Frankenstein” by illustrating the path tragic hero Victor Frankenstein travels. She showcases a journey that ultimately leads to the loss of his innocence. Shelley also uses her main characters’ struggles with innocence to portray how one's loss of innocence can also be the root for the destruction of others’.

Main character Victor Frankenstein encounters the pathway to a loss of innocence through his unquenched thirst for knowledge. A famous quote by American actress Mary Astor states that, “Once you start asking questions, innocence is gone.” This was exactly the case for Frankenstein. Once he began to inquire about science, life, and the process of death he slowly started to lose his purity. Frankenstein’s yearning for knowledge leads him into his downfall.Victor Frankenstein was born as a, “innocent and helpless creature” (Shelley 16). He knew nothing but peace, happiness, and charity. His childhood was filled with lessons of “...patience, of charity, and self control,... guided by a silken cord that all seemed but one train of enjoyment ,” (Shelley 16). One could infer that the childhood of Frankenstein was amazing. It wasn’t until he attended school and sparked the desire to learn did he begin to lose his innocence. Once he began school his obsession formed. He began thinking that, “Natural philosophy is the genius that has regulated my fate” (Shelly 20). This one thought alone consumed him and struck his madness. He began to unravel the science world and notice that it had no limits. Frankenstein conducted his experiment for two years trying to bring this human-like creature to life. The ominous imagery describing the moment the creature emphasized the scary, gothic, and mysterious mood. After seeing the “approach of the demoniacal corpse to which… so miserably given life,” Frankenstein fled and left the monster by himself (Shelley 36). Frankenstein in this case is like a mother. By leaving his "child" behind, he forced him to fend for himself. Victor sparked the erasing of the creature's innocence making him partially responsible for the creature's doings. Similar to human reaction, the creature became upset and sought out revenge.

As we learn through Frankenstein's creature, innocence can be destroyed or extremely affected by feelings of anger and sadness. The monster can be compared to a newborn baby. He was left to fend for himself which encouraged him to turn to evil. The evil that possessed the monster promoted its loss of innocence. Shelley uses a biblical allusion to the story of Adam and to Milton's Paradise Lost to reinforces the feeling of the monster. The monster compares himself to Adam, the first human created in the Bible. He also considers himself as a “fallen angel” similar to Satan in Paradise Lost (Shelley 69). In the Biblical story, Adam goes against God’s wishes by eating an apple off from the garden; however, rather than speaking down or harshly in regards to Adam he simply bans him. In “Frankenstein”, the creature feels as though he has been sinned against, as though Victor hates him, and society fears him. The creature expresses that if, “Mankind knew of my existence they would… arm themselves for my destruction” (Shelley 69). These feelings of abandonment, isolation, and confinement increasingly motivated his immoral state. With his loss of innocence and feelings of anger and depression, the creature begins to murder Victor Frankenstein's family. Although some may say because the creature received no guidance he was still innocence, the monster knew what he was doing was wrong and evil thus further removing the strands of innocence he was created with. The monster was enraged and threatened Victor that if he did his, “duty towards me…. I will leave them and you at peace; but if you refuse, I will glut the maw of death, until it be satiated with the blood of your remaining friends” (Shelley 68). The monster is presenting an ultimatum to Victor; therefore, he knows exactly what he is doing. Due to the threats made, the argument that he still holds a sense of innocence because he was abandoned is completely invalid and false. The anger and depression instilled in the creature led to the deaths of William,



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