Frankenstein discussion questions.
Terms in this set (52)
Who is Prometheus and how do you think he relates to the story?
Prometheus stole fire from the gods giving man power that they weren't supposed to have. He was punished and tortured. Victor uses electricity to bring back the dead which is a power man shouldn't have and he is mentally tortured for it. Both gain knowledge they shouldn't have and are punished for it.
Give an example of an element of romanticism in the story. (pg 2)
"I feel a cold northern breeze play upon my cheeks, which braces my nerves and fills me with delight. Do you understand this feeling? This breeze, which has travelled from the regions towards which I am advancing, gives me a foretaste of those icy climes. Inspirited by this wind of promise, my daydreams become more fervent and vivid."
Describe Walton's personality. Where is he going and why? Use a quote to support your answer. (pg 2 & 3)
He is egotistical and determined to go to the North Pole for a passage "I shall confer on all mankind, to the last generation, by discovering a passage near the pole to those countries, to reach which at present so many months are requisite; or by ascertaining the secret of the magnet, which, if at all possible, can only be effected by an undertaking such as mine." & "And now, dear Margaret, do I not deserve to accomplish some great purpose? My life might have been passed in ease and luxury, but I preferred glory to every enticement that wealth placed in my path."
What does Walton want in addition to success on his journey? What does this say about human nature? (pg 4)
He wants a friend. "I have no friend" "I desire the company of a man who could sympathize with me, whose eyes would reply to mine. You may deem me romantic, my dear sister, but I bitterly feel the want of a friend."
What/who does Walton attribute his enthusiasm to? What does this say about human nature? (pg 5)
Romantic poets "I have often attributed my attachment to, my passionate enthusiasm for, the dangerous mysteries of ocean to that production of the most imaginative of modern poets. There is something at work in my soul which I do not understand. I am practically industrious--painstaking, a workman to execute with perseverance and labour--but besides this there is a love for the marvellous, a belief in the marvellous, intertwined in all my projects, which hurries me out of the common pathways of men, even to the wild sea and unvisited regions I am about to explore."
In your opinion, will Walton succeed in his quest to conquer the elements? Why or why not? (Pg 6)
He thinks he will succeed no matter what. Man v nature. "But success SHALL crown my endeavours. Wherefore not? Thus far I have gone, tracing a secure way over the pathless seas, the very stars themselves being witnesses and testimonies of my triumph."
How does Walton treat the stranger and what accounts for how he treats him? Use a quote to support your answer. (Pg 8)
He is curious about the stranger and its friendships and secrets "I never saw a more interesting creature: his eyes have generally an expression of wildness, and even madness, but there are moments when, if anyone performs an act of kindness towards him or does him any the most trifling service, his whole countenance is lighted up, as it were, with a beam of benevolence and sweetness that I never saw equalled."he said, "I have, doubtless, excited your curiosity, as well as that of these good people; but you are too considerate to make inquiries."
Walton tells Victor, "One man's life or death were but a small price to pay for the ac- quirement of the knowledge which I sought, for the dominion I should acquire and trans- mit over the elemental foes of our race." EXPLAIN why you agree or disagree with this statement.
Walton says the ends justify the means, even if it mean people die. I disagree because people should not be collateral damage.
According to Walton and Victor, what is necessary for a man to be fully happy?
Do you think Walton is a reliable narrator? Why or why not?
No because he is too similar to victor and will make victor look better than he actually is
When did Victor's father, Alphonse, marry Victor's mother, Caroline Beaufort? Page 12
Two years after Caroline's dad died "Two years after this event Caroline became his wife."
How does Victor describe Elizabeth Lavenza? How does Victor feel about Elizabeth? Use a quote to support your answer. Page 13
She is angel like "Her brow was clear and ample, her blue eyes cloudless, and her lips and the moulding of her face so expressive of sensibility and sweetness that none could behold her without looking on her as of a distinct species, a being heaven-sent, and bearing a celestial stamp in all her features." He also considers her to be his possession "On the evening previous to her being brought to my home, my mother had said playfully, "I have a pretty present for my Victor--tomorrow he shall have it." And when, on the morrow, she presented Elizabeth to me as her promised gift, I, with childish seriousness, interpreted her words literally and looked upon Elizabeth as mine--mine to protect, love, and cherish. All praises bestowed on her I received as made to a possession of my own."
Compare and contrast Henry and Victor as children. Page 14 & 15
Henry is the son of a merchant, loves danger, adventurous, and moral Victor is is a selfish curious loner Foils "The world was to me a secret which I desired to divine. Curiosity, earnest research to learn the hidden laws of nature, gladness akin to rapture, as they were unfolded to me, are among the earliest sensations I can remember." " It was my temper to avoid a crowd and to attach myself fervently to a few". "Henry Clerval was the son of a merchant of Geneva. He was a boy of singular talent and fancy. He loved enterprise, hardship, and even danger for its own sake." "My temper was sometimes violent, and my passions vehement" "Clerval occupied himself, so to speak, with the moral relations of things. The busy stage of life, the virtues of heroes, and the actions of men were his theme"
Who and what does Victor blame for his obsession with natural philosophy? Page 16 & 17
His dad, mans desire to be better, and fate "I communicated my discovery to my father. My father looked carelessly at the title page of my book and said, "Ah! Cornelius Agrippa! My dear Victor, do not waste your time upon this; it is sad trash." "I had gazed upon the fortifications and impediments that seemed to keep human beings from entering the citadel of nature, and rashly and ignorantly I had repined." "Natural philosophy is the genius that has regulated my fate"
What initially caused Victor to be depressed at the University of Ingolstadt? Do you feel sorry for him? Why or why not? Page 19-22
Dead mom, sick sister, professor trashes his work, lonely "I was new to sorrow, but it did not the less alarm me." "I threw myself into the chaise that was to convey me away and indulged in the most melancholy reflections. I, who had ever been surrounded by amiable companions, continually engaged in endeavouring to bestow mutual pleasure--I was now alone." "I was required to exchange chimeras of boundless grandeur for realities of little worth."
By what means does Victor discover the causation of life to death and death to life? Are his means justified and humane? Why or why not? Page 23 & 25
He sees dead bodies as materials, doesn't see their humanity "Darkness had no effect upon my fancy, and a churchyard was to me merely the receptacle of bodies deprived of life, which, from being the seat of beauty and strength, had become food for the worm. Now I was led to examine the cause and progress of this decay and forced to spend days and nights in vaults and charnel-houses." "I collected bones from charnel-houses and disturbed, with profane fingers, the tremendous secrets of the human frame. In a solitary chamber, or rather cell, at the top of the house, and separated from all the other apartments by a gallery and staircase, I kept my workshop of filthy creation; my eyeballs were starting from their sockets in attending to the details of my employment. The dissecting room and the slaughter-house furnished many of my materials; and often did my human nature turn with loathing from my occupation, whilst, still urged on by an eagerness which perpetually increased, I brought my work near to a conclusion."
Victor says, "Learn from me, if not by my precepts, at least by my example, how danger- ous is the acquirement of knowledge and how much happier that man is who believes his native town to be the world, than he who aspires to become greater than his nature will allow." Explain what this quote means in your own words.
Man v self he got in too deep and couldn't do or think of anything else, he couldn't enjoy anything, he needs to accept his limitations and can't be more than who he is, warning for Walter to accept his limits
Victory says, "If the study to which you apply yourself has a tendency to weaken your affections and to destroy your taste for those simple pleasures in which no alloy can possibly mix, then that study is certainly unlawful, that is to say, not befitting the human mind." What moral is Victory adamantly conveying?
If what you are doing is giving you tunnel vision and has a negative effect on your life then stop and cut the toxic out
In your own words, describe what the monster looks like. (Page 26)
"His limbs were in proportion, and I had selected his features as beautiful. Beautiful! Great God! His yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath; his hair was of a lustrous black, and flowing; his teeth of a pearly whiteness; but these luxuriances only formed a more horrid contrast with his watery eyes, that seemed almost of the same colour as the dun-white sockets in which
they were set, his shrivelled complexion and straight black lips."
Victor says, "Unable to endure the aspect of the being I created, I rushed out of the room." Why do you think Victor runs away? Does he have a good reason, do you think, to continue pushing the monster out of his mind for months. Support your answer with evidence from the text. Page 27
He was tired and drained. His emotions were high with "No mortal could support the horror of that countenance. A mummy again endued with animation could not be so hideous as that wretch. I had gazed on him while unfinished; he was ugly then, but when those muscles and joints were rendered capable of motion, it became a thing such as even Dante could not have conceived." "Sometimes my pulse beat so quickly and hardly that I felt the palpitation of every artery; at others, I nearly sank to the ground through languor and extreme weakness."
What does Elizabeth's letter say about her character? Is she a round or a flat character and why?
She is flat character because all she does is care for others
Who is Justine? Why does Elizabeth feel that it is important to mention her? Page 31
Justine is a servant. Elizabeth feels that it is important to mention her because Justine was deeply saddened by Caroline's death and was called back home & had just returned
Why does Victor keep silent and not confide in Henry? Use a quote to support your answer. Page 33
Victor is in denial "I could never persuade myself to confide in him that event which was so often present to my recollection, but which I feared the detail to another would only impress more deeply."
After six years at university, Victor arrives home because his brother has been murdered. He then captures a glimpse of the monster in the woods. What gothic elements do you notice? Use a quote to support your answer
Nature is almost a character, emotional isolation ""I quitted my seat, and walked on, although the darkness and storm increased every minute, and the thunder burst with a terrific crash over my head. It was echoed from Saleve, the Juras, and the Alps of Savoy; vivid flashes of lightning dazzled my eyes, illuminating the lake, making it appear like a vast sheet of fire; then for an instant every thing seemed of a pitchy darkness, until the eye recovered itself from the preceding flash. The storm, as is often the case in Switzerland, appeared at once in various parts of the heavens. The most violent storm hung exactly north of the town, over the part of the lake which lies between the promontory of Belrive and the village of Copet. Another storm enlightened Jura with faint flashes; and another darkened and sometimes disclosed the Mole, a peaked mountain to the east of the lake." "The figure passed me quickly, and I lost it in the gloom.
Nothing in human shape could have destroyed the fair child. HE was the murderer! I could not doubt it. The mere presence of the idea was an irresistible proof of the fact. I thought of pursuing the devil; but it would have been in vain, for another flash discovered him to me hanging among the rocks of the nearly perpendicular ascent of Mont Saleve, a hill that bounds Plainpalais on the south. He soon reached the summit, and disappeared."
Why does Victor continue to stay silent in regards to who the murderer is? Page 39
Victor would be responsible "I remembered also the nervous fever with which I had been seized just at the time that I dated my creation, and which would give an air of delirium to a tale otherwise so utterly improbable. I well knew that if any other had communicated such a relation to me, I should have looked upon it as the ravings of insanity. Besides, the strange nature of the animal would elude all pursuit, even if I were so far credited as to persuade my relatives to commence it. And then of what use would be pursuit?"
Projecting further: What do you think the monster has been up to since Victor ran away two years ago? What does he think about Victor? Can he even think at all? Is he capable of being human-like?
He relearns everything a baby would have to learn and doesn't think much about victor because he doesn't know victor exists. He watches people's and reads and learns from that.
Based on the facts of the case (42), do you think that Justine is guilty? Why or why not? Are her accusers justified in their apprehension and response?
She acts strange "her own behaviour has been so confused" "the morning on which the murder of poor William had been discovered, Justine had been taken ill, and confined to her bed for several days. During this interval, one of the servants, happening to examine the apparel she had worn on the night of the murder, had discovered in her pocket the picture of my mother, which had been judged to be the temptation of the murderer" "Several strange facts combined against her, which might have staggered anyone who had not such proof of her innocence as I had. She had been out the whole of the night on which the murder had been committed and towards morning had been perceived by a market-woman not far from the spot where the body of the murdered child had been afterwards found. The woman asked her what she did there, but she looked very strangely and only returned a confused and unintelligible answer. She returned to the house about eight o'clock, and when one inquired where she had passed the night, she replied that she had been looking for the child and demanded earnestly if anything had been heard concerning him. When shown the body, she fell into violent hysterics and kept her bed for several days. The picture was then produced which the servant had found in her pocket"
Justine calls several character witnesses forward, but they refuse to speak. Why do they refuse to speak? What does this say about humanity?
No one wants to be associated with a murderer even if falsely accused. People want to look good and protect their reputations more than save an innocent person's life.
Why does Justine confess to the murder of William? What does this say about her character?
They made her feel crazy and guilty. They threatened her until she gave up and confessed.
Compare and contrast how Elizabeth and Victor react to William and Justine's death
They are both heartbroken but victor blames the monster and is scared that the monster will attack again
Is it possible for Victor to be happy ever again? Why or why not?
The monster will always be in his head reminding him that he created the thing that killed his son.
Paraphrase the following quote as said by Victor: "Why does man boast of sensibilities superior to those apparent in the brute; it only renders them more necessary beings. If our impulses were confined to hunger, thirst, and desire, we might nearly be free" (51)
He wants to be an animal so that he can enjoy life and not think about all the bad things in life
The monster confronts and speaks to Victor in the mountains near the village of Chamounix. He tells Victor, "I ought to be thy Adam, but I am rather the fallen angel, whom thou drivest from joy for no misdeed. Everywhere I see bliss, from which I alone am irrevocably excluded. I was benevolent and good; misery made ma a fiend. Make me happy and I shall again be virtuous. . . . I will keep no terms with my enemies. I am miserable, and they shall share my wretchedness" (53). What does the monster think he is naturally like? Does he have morals? What does he think about life/living in general? What does the monster think about Victor?
He believes that he was born pure and good and wants to be that way but he is miserable like Adam because they are both locked out of paradise for trying to get knowledge and power that humans are not supposed to have
The monster offers an ultimatum at the end of Chapter 10. If Victor doesn't do what, what will happen?
He forces victor to listen to his story or he will kill everyone.
What is the monster's initial reaction to the DeLacey family's abandonment of the cottage? Is his reaction justified? Why or why not? (Page 75 and 76)
He was so angry that he wanted to destroy their home which isn't justified because he scared them and they thought they were being
attacked. "I know not; despair had not yet taken possession of me; my feelings were those of rage and revenge. I could with pleasure have
destroyed the cottage and its inhabitants and have glutted myself with their shrieks and misery. " "My protectors had departed and had broken the only link that held me to the world. For the first time the feelings of revenge and hatred filled my bosom, and I did not strive to control them, but allowing myself to be borne away by the stream, I bent my mind towards injury and death."
"All, save I, were at rest or in enjoyment; I, like the arch-fiend, bore a hell within me, and finding myself unsympathized with, wished to tear up the trees, spread havoc and destruction around me, and then to have sat down and enjoyed the ruin." "and unable to injure anything human"
What does the man do to the monster after the monster rescues the little girl? Is the man's reaction justified? Why or why not?
The man takes the girl from the monster and shoots him when the monster follows. It was in self defense "She continued her course along the precipitous sides of the river, when suddenly her foot slipped, and she fell into the rapid stream. I rushed from my hiding-place and with extreme labour, from the force of the current, saved her and dragged her to shore. She was senseless, and I endeavoured by every means in my power to restore animation, when I was suddenly interrupted by the approach of a rustic, who was probably the person from whom she had playfully fled. On seeing me, he darted towards me, and tearing the girl from my arms, hastened towards the deeper parts of the wood. I followed speedily, I hardly knew why; but when the man saw me draw near, he aimed a gun, which he carried, at my body and fired. I sank to the ground, and my injurer, with increased swiftness, escaped into the wood." "Inflamed by pain, I vowed eternal hatred and vengeance to all mankind. But the agony of my wound overcame me; my pulses paused, and I fainted."
The monster sees William Frankenstein and says, "Suddenly, I gazed on him, an idea seized me that this little creature was unprejudiced and had lived too short a time to have imbibed a horror of deformity" (78). Do you agree with the monster that what is considered ugly is learned? Why or why not?
Nature v nurture All forms of hate is taught and each culture has a different beauty standard
Does the monster feel remorse for killing William? Use a quote to support your answer.
No not really because he wants revenges. He doesn't like killing but he likes revenge "Hideous monster! Let me go. My papa is a syndic--he is M. Frankenstein--he will punish you. You dare not keep me.'
"'Frankenstein! you belong then to my enemy--to him towards whom I have sworn eternal revenge; you shall be my first victim.'
"The child still struggled and loaded me with epithets which carried despair to my heart; I grasped his throat to silence him, and in a moment he lay dead at my feet." "I gazed on my victim, and my heart swelled with exultation and hellish triumph; clapping my hands, I exclaimed, 'I too can create desolation; my enemy is not invulnerable; this death will carry despair to him, and a thousand other miseries shall torment and destroy him.'
Why does the monster frame Justine? Use a quote to support your answer
He is jealous of her beauty and that 1) he will never look good like her and 2) will never a friend or partner like her "The sleeper stirred; a thrill of terror ran through me. Should she indeed awake, and see me, and curse me, and denounce the murderer? Thus
would she assuredly act if her darkened eyes opened and she beheld me. The thought was madness; it stirred the fiend within me--not I, but she, shall suffer; the murder I have committed because I am forever robbed of all that she could give me, she shall atone. The crime had its source in her; be hers the punishment!"
What arguments does the creature use to persuade Victor to make the female? Is the creature's demand for a female a valid request?
No one will ever accept the monster but if victor makes him a partner monster then he will leave people alone "You must create a female for me with whom I can live in the interchange of those sympathies necessary for my being. This you alone can do, and I demand it of you as a right which you must not refuse to concede." "Shall I create another like yourself, whose joint wickedness might desolate the world." I am malicious because I am miserable. Am I not shunned and hated by all mankind? You, my creator, would tear me to pieces and triumph; remember that, and tell me why I should pity man more than he pities me?" "I will revenge my injuries; if I cannot inspire love, I will cause fear, and chiefly towards you my arch-enemy," ""If you consent, neither you nor any other human being shall ever see us again; I will go to the vast wilds of South America." "the love of another will destroy the cause of my crimes,"
Examine the pros and cons of Victor's compliance with the monster's request to create a female companion. Consider evidence provided by both Victor and the monster.
Pros: the monster will leave everyone alone, the monster will be happy, no more death
Cons: the new girl monster might not like the monster, they might team up to kill everyone
Why does Victor agree to create the female monster? Use a quote to support your answer.
"the justice due both to him and my fellow creatures demanded of me that I should comply with his request." "After a long pause of reflection I concluded that the justice due both to him and my fellow creatures demanded of me that I should comply with his request. Turning to him, therefore, I said,
"I consent to your demand, on your solemn oath to quit Europe forever, and every other place in the neighbourhood of man, as soon as I shall deliver into your hands a female who will accompany you in your exile."
What does Victor's father seem to think is the cause of Victor's depression? Does Victor respond appropriately? Why or why not?
He thinks victor loves someone else victor goes to England and plans on marrying Elizabeth when he gets back "You, perhaps, regard her as your sister, without any wish that she might become your wife. Nay, you may have met with another whom you may love" "To England, therefore, I was bound, and it was understood that my union with Elizabeth should take place immediately on my return"
What is Victor's greatest fear as he leaves for England? How does this add to or change his character?
He is scared to leave his family unprotected with the monster able to attack them "but one feeling haunted me which filled me with fear and agitation. During my absence I should leave my friends unconscious of the existence of their enemy and unprotected from his attacks"
Victor speaks of Henry in very glowing terms: "His wild and enthusiastic imagination was chastened by the sensibility of his heart. His soul overflowed with ardent affections, and his friendship was of that devoted and wondrous nature that the world-minded teach us to look for only in the imagination" (87). Do you think this is an accurate description of Henry? Why or why not?
Idolized version of Henry "Henry can do no long" unreliable narrator eulogy vibe "And where does he now exist? Is this gentle and lovely being lost forever? Has this mind, so replete with ideas, imaginations fanciful and magnificent, which formed a world, whose existence depended on the
life of its creator;--has this mind perished? Does it now only exist in my memory? No, it is not thus; your form so divinely wrought, and beaming with beauty, has decayed, but your spirit still visits and consoles your unhappy friend.
Pardon this gush of sorrow; these ineffectual words are but a slight tribute to the unexampled worth of Henry, but they soothe my heart, overflowing with the anguish which his remembrance creates. I will proceed with my tale."
Victor constantly worries about where the monster is and what the monster might do to his family. Do you think this worry is justified? Why or why not?
Victor is selfish and focuses on his own misery and doesn't take any blame
Victory says, "Nothing in human shape could have destroyed a fair child. HE was the murderer! I could not doubt it. The mere presence of the idea was an irresistible proof of the fact." Do you agree with this statement that only a non-human could commit murder? Why or why not?
Human is like humane or showing compassion which teaches that humans are inheritly good, we want to think that people aren't capable of terror, we want to dehumanize murderers and put them into boxes as monsters
Compare and contrast Victor's state of mind when he creates the first monster and when he is creating the second monster. What does this say about his character development?
With the first monster victor has a lot of pride and he does think of consequences while with the second he is nervous and is worried about the consequences and what future people will think of him.
Who holds the most power in their relationship: Victor or the monster? Use a quote to support your answer.
The monster has nothing to lose and can ruin victors life by killing everyone in his family. Victor has the power to give the monster the girl he wants. They both hold the keys to each others happiness but the monster believes he has more power and owns his power
What is the monster's threat after Victor refuses to build the female?
The monster threatens to kill Elizabeth on their wedding night but due to victors selfishness he thinks the monster is going to kill him
Does Victor feel regret for destroying the female character? Use a quote to support your answer.
He try's to push it out of his mind and doesn't like about it but he doesn't regret it because it could have been really bad
Victor arrives in Ireland. How do the people treat him and why?
They r being rude because they think he killed a man that died the night before