How and Why Does Victor Frankenstein Die in Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein”?

Updated 28 August, 2023
In "Frankenstein," Victor Frankenstein meets his end while pursuing the Creature in the Arctic. His health deteriorates due to exhaustion and extreme cold. Disregarding his well-being in his obsession to confront the Creature, Victor succumbs to the harsh conditions and dies. His demise serves as a culmination of his reckless ambition and moral neglect, emphasizing the tragic consequences of his scientific experimentation and the boundaries humanity should heed. The Arctic setting highlights the isolation and poetic justice of his end, mirroring the desolation that his unchecked pursuits brought upon his life.
Detailed answer:

In Mary Shelley's novel "Frankenstein," Victor Frankenstein's demise is a pivotal moment that brings closure to the narrative and reflects the tragic consequences of his relentless pursuit of scientific discovery and the creation of the Creature.

Victor's death occurs during his relentless pursuit of the Creature in the Arctic wilderness. The harsh conditions of the Arctic and the physical toll of his pursuit weaken Victor's health. As he gets closer to the Creature, Victor succumbs to exhaustion and severe cold, ultimately leading to his demise. This is depicted in the text when Victor states:

"I had worked hard for nearly two years, for the sole purpose of infusing life into an inanimate body. For this I had deprived myself of rest and health. I had desired it with an ardour that far exceeded moderation; but now that I had finished, the beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled my heart."

Victor's death serves as a culmination of his obsession with creating life and his subsequent guilt and torment over the havoc wreaked by the Creature. His ambition to conquer death and his disregard for the ethical implications of his actions lead to his own downfall. The novel portrays Victor's death as a poetic justice, where his own creation indirectly becomes the agent of his destruction.

The moment of Victor's death is narrated through a letter from Robert Walton, the captain of the ship that rescues Victor in the Arctic. Walton finds Victor on the brink of death and records his final words and confessions. This letter format adds a layer of authenticity to the story and provides insight into Victor's ultimate reckoning.

In conclusion, Victor Frankenstein's death in "Frankenstein" occurs as a result of his relentless pursuit of the Creature in the Arctic, symbolizing the tragic consequences of his ambition and scientific experimentation. His demise is the culmination of his internal conflict, guilt, and obsession, further highlighting the cautionary themes of the novel regarding the boundaries of science and the consequences of unchecked ambition.

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