Frankenstein Critical Lens Essay

Aaron Zimmerman
Mrs. Carr
English 10H
“I’m drawn particularly to stories that evolve out of the character of the protagonist.” David McCullough, an American author and two-time winner of the Pulizter Prize, expresses through his words the vitality of a protagonist’s outlook in a novel. In her novel Frankenstein, Mary Shelley utilizes her characters’ perspectives to shape the novel’s plot. Unlike in most novels that have a constant narrator throughout the plot, Mary Shelley displays her novel’s story through multiple narrative perspectives. These perspectives provide the story with filters so that certain characters’ viewpoints and emotions appear more significant, while others’ are viewed as nugatory. Victor Frankenstein, the protagonist of Frankenstein, plays a more major role than the other characters, including his nemesis and creation, the Monster. Growing up in Geneva, Victor enjoys an unperturbed, marvelous upbringing. After Victor leaves his hometown and family behind to pursue a greater education, he develops a desire to create life and “pursue[s] [his] undertaking with unremitting ardour” (55). This compulsion ruins everything; from the moment that Victor gives life to his creation, an enmity develops between Victor and the Monster that torments them both for the remainder of the plot. Though both characters display valid arguments, Victor’s side seems to outweigh the Monster’s. Victor’s perspective contributes to the essence of Frankenstein, demonstrating how a story can be manipulated based on the angle at which it is presented. In her novel Frankenstein, Mary Shelley utilizes narrative filters to elicit favoritism for Victor and to engender sympathy for his character.
Walton’s narrative generates a predilection for Victor by highlighting and praising aspects of his character. For one, Walton approbates Victor’s appreciative mindset in a letter to his sister, illustrating, “if anyone performs, an act of kindness towards him, or does him the...