The Central Role of Victor: Protagonist Analysis in Frankenstein

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About this sample


Words: 682 |

Page: 1|

4 min read

Published: Mar 8, 2024

Words: 682|Page: 1|4 min read

Published: Mar 8, 2024

Table of contents

  1. Character of Victor Frankenstein
  2. Ethical Implications and Responsibilities
  3. Conclusion

In the realm of classic literature, "Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus" by Mary Shelley stands as a towering example of early science fiction and Gothic horror. Its enduring appeal stems not just from the thematic depth and the pioneering speculative scientific premise but significantly from the complex character of Victor Frankenstein himself. As the protagonist, Victor's journey encapsulates the dual themes of hubris and the thirst for knowledge, serving as a catalyst for the narrative while embodying the novel's moral and philosophical inquiries.

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Character of Victor Frankenstein

At the core of Victor Frankenstein's character is a tumultuous and relentless pursuit of forbidden knowledge. This pursuit, initially kindled by an insatiable curiosity and ambition, ultimately transgresses the boundaries of natural science. Through Victor, Shelley illustrates the perilous path of overreaching ambition, framing his quest to animate lifeless matter not as a triumph but as a tragic flaw that leads to his downfall and the demise of those he holds dear. Victor's creation of the monster, intended as a manifestation of his genius and a beacon of human achievement, instead becomes a mirror reflecting his own monstrosity—his hubris, neglect, and inability to foresee the consequences of his actions.

The novel intricately navigates through Victor's internal conflicts and moral dilemmas, portraying him not merely as a mad scientist archetype but as a deeply flawed and relatable human being. His initial noble intentions are gradually overshadowed by his obsession, isolating him from society and leading to an irreversible disconnection from his own humanity and the natural world. This internal dissonance is a testament to Victor's role as a protagonist whose tragic journey is rooted in the very essence of human frailty—highlighting the fragility of the human condition when faced with the seductive allure of forbidden knowledge.

Ethical Implications and Responsibilities

Victor Frankenstein's story is a cautionary tale that delves into the moral and ethical implications of scientific discovery and technological advancement, a topic that remains relevant in contemporary discourse. Through his narrative, Shelley interrogates the boundaries of scientific exploration, questioning the ethics of creation without consideration for the creator's responsibilities. Victor's neglect of his creation post-animation underscores a critical failure to anticipate the ethical considerations and responsibilities that accompany the act of creation. This neglect not only results in the monster's descent into vengefulness and sorrow but also underlines the theme of parental neglect and the essential need for compassion and responsibility towards one's creations, be they biological or artificial.

The duality of Victor's character—simultaneously as a creator and destroyer—serves to explore the complex interplay between morality and scientific ambition. His disregard for the welfare of his creation echoes the broader implications of scientific endeavors pursued without ethical forethought, presaging current debates surrounding areas such as genetic engineering, artificial intelligence, and other frontiers of human innovation. Thus, Victor Frankenstein emerges not just as a protagonist of his own tragic narrative but as a symbolic figure whose story prompts critical reflection on the ethical dimensions of scientific discovery and the moral obligations of the creator towards the created.


In conclusion, Victor Frankenstein is more than merely the protagonist of Mary Shelley's seminal work; he is a multifaceted character whose personal odyssey illuminates the dangers of unchecked ambition, the moral quandaries of creation, and the tragic consequences of human isolation and disregard for ethical bounds. Through the character of Victor, Shelley crafts a narrative that reaches beyond the confines of Gothic horror to pose pressing questions about the nature of humanity, the limits of scientific pursuit, and the ethical responsibilities that come with the power to create life.

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Victor's tragic flaw—his hubris—and his failure to assume responsibility for his actions serve as a timeless cautionary tale, reminding the reader of the potential consequences of venturing heedlessly into the unknown. In essence, Victor Frankenstein stands as an enduring symbol of the human condition, embodying the eternal struggle between the desire for knowledge and the necessity for moral and ethical restraint. As such, his role as the protagonist of "Frankenstein" not only drives the narrative forward but also ensures the novel's place as a profound critique of the human impulse to transcend our limitations, no matter the cost.

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Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

The Central Role of Victor: Protagonist Analysis in Frankenstein. (2024, March 07). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 18, 2024, from
“The Central Role of Victor: Protagonist Analysis in Frankenstein.” GradesFixer, 07 Mar. 2024,
The Central Role of Victor: Protagonist Analysis in Frankenstein. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 18 Jul. 2024].
The Central Role of Victor: Protagonist Analysis in Frankenstein [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Mar 07 [cited 2024 Jul 18]. Available from:
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