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Frankenstein Chapter 4
In this chapter, I find it interesting that years went by without Victor seeing his family, speaks badly of his character. Even though he knows how they longed to see him, he remained consumed by his work. This showed that Victor’s capacity for altruism has been damaged by his obsession. It also tells us that his character is deeply flawed. Victor is fundamentally selfish and his scientific pursuits are in itself the product of a desire to boast about himself. He wants men to worship him as their god. The themes of chance and fate arise once again in this chapter. Frankenstein is on the point of returning to Geneva when an incident happens to change his mind.
This plot device in which an expectation is expressed, only to be dashed a moment later by a seemingly chance occurrence is a common one in the novel. It serves at least two narrative purposes. On the one hand, it fills the reader with alternating currents of hope and despair: while we long for Frankenstein to save himself, we realize that his ruin is inevitable. This inevitability is both narratives, in that the beginning of the book makes it clear that Frankenstein's destruction has already occurred and we see how the elements of Victor's personality can lead only to his own downfall. The plot device of dashed expectation also serves to suggest that the course of destiny is unalterable. One's fate is determined, and there is little or nothing that any of us can due to change it.
Victor develops a consuming interest in the structure of the human frame. He longs to determine what animates it, what constitutes the principle of life. Seized by a supernatural enthusiasm, he begins to explore life by studying its inevitable counterpart death. Victor discovers the secret of how to generate life through a sudden epiphany. He does not, however, share the content of this revelation with Walton and us the...