How to Compare and Contrast Victor and Henry Clerval

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About this sample

About this sample


Words: 813 |

Pages: 2|

5 min read

Published: Jun 13, 2024

Words: 813|Pages: 2|5 min read

Published: Jun 13, 2024

Table of contents

  1. Body
  2. Conclusion
  3. Bibliography

From the pages of Mary Shelley's classic novel Frankenstein, the characters of Victor Frankenstein and Henry Clerval emerge as two distinct individuals with contrasting personalities and attitudes. While Victor is consumed by his ambition and thirst for knowledge, Henry is portrayed as a loyal and caring friend. Throughout the text, Shelley provides several instances where the stark differences between these characters are evident. This essay will explore these differences, analyzing their implications and shedding light on the contrasting natures of Victor and Henry. By examining their actions, motivations, and relationships, we can gain a deeper understanding of their characters and the themes presented in the novel.

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One way to compare and contrast Victor and Henry is by examining their actions. Victor is driven by his obsession with creating life, which leads him to isolate himself and neglect his loved ones. In contrast, Henry is depicted as a supportive and caring friend who constantly seeks to uplift Victor's spirits. For instance, when Victor falls ill after creating the monster, Henry nurses him back to health and provides emotional support. This stark difference in their actions highlights their contrasting priorities and values.

Furthermore, their actions also reflect their attitudes towards responsibility. While Victor abandons his creation and refuses to take responsibility for the consequences of his actions, Henry consistently demonstrates a sense of accountability. He stands by Victor's side through thick and thin, even when it puts his own life in danger. This contrast in their actions emphasizes their differing moral compasses and their approaches to dealing with the aftermath of their choices.

Analysis: Victor's actions reveal his self-centered nature and his obsession with his own goals, even at the cost of his relationships. In contrast, Henry's actions exemplify his loyalty, compassion, and willingness to sacrifice for those he cares about. These differences in their actions underscore the contrasting moral dilemmas they face and contribute to the overall themes of responsibility and accountability within the novel.

Another aspect to consider when comparing and contrasting Victor and Henry is their motivations. Victor is driven by a thirst for knowledge and a desire to push the boundaries of science. His obsession with creating life stems from his ambition to achieve greatness and prove himself as a successful scientist. On the other hand, Henry's motivations are rooted in friendship and genuine affection for Victor. He supports Victor's endeavors out of loyalty and a genuine belief in his friend's abilities.

Victor's motivations, while initially driven by curiosity and ambition, gradually become tainted by his ego and disregard for the consequences of his actions. This contrasts with Henry's pure and selfless motivations, which remain consistent throughout the novel. While Victor's motivations are ultimately detrimental, Henry's unwavering support and genuine concern for Victor's well-being contribute to the stark contrast between the two characters.

Analysis: The differences in Victor and Henry's motivations shed light on their contrasting character traits. Victor's ambition and ego blind him to the potential dangers of his actions, while Henry's loyalty and genuine affection for Victor guide his decisions. These motivations contribute to the development of their characters and further emphasize the contrasting themes of ambition and the pursuit of knowledge versus friendship and genuine human connection.

Examining the relationships between Victor and Henry is another way to highlight their contrasting natures. Victor's relationship with Henry is fraught with neglect and a lack of reciprocity. He frequently overlooks Henry's concerns and fails to appreciate his loyalty and support. In contrast, Henry's relationship with Victor is characterized by unwavering loyalty, compassion, and a genuine desire to see Victor succeed.

Furthermore, their relationships with other characters also reveal their contrasting natures. Victor's relationships with his family and Elizabeth are strained due to his obsession and neglect, while Henry's relationships with other characters, such as his family and his own love interest, demonstrate his capacity for genuine connections.

Analysis: The contrasting relationships between Victor and Henry provide insight into their character development and their overall impact on the narrative. Victor's inability to form meaningful connections and appreciate the relationships he has contrasts with Henry's ability to foster deep and meaningful relationships with others. This emphasizes the importance of human connection and the consequences of neglecting those who care for us.


In conclusion, the characters of Victor Frankenstein and Henry Clerval in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein exhibit stark contrasts in their actions, motivations, and relationships. While Victor is driven by ambition and neglects his loved ones, Henry is portrayed as a loyal and caring friend. Through their actions, motivations, and relationships, Shelley highlights the differing moral dilemmas faced by these characters and the themes of responsibility, ambition, and friendship. Understanding these contrasts allows us to delve deeper into the complexities of the novel and the lessons it imparts. By exploring the contrasting natures of Victor and Henry, readers can reflect on their own choices and relationships, prompting further exploration of human nature and the consequences of our actions.

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Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. Penguin Classics, 2003.

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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

How to Compare and Contrast Victor and Henry Clerval. (2024, Jun 13). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 22, 2024, from
“How to Compare and Contrast Victor and Henry Clerval.” GradesFixer, 13 Jun. 2024,
How to Compare and Contrast Victor and Henry Clerval. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 22 Jul. 2024].
How to Compare and Contrast Victor and Henry Clerval [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Jun 13 [cited 2024 Jul 22]. Available from:
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