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To What Extent Is Victor Frankenstein a Tragic Hero Essay Sample

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To What Extent Is Victor Frankenstein a Tragic Hero Essay Sample

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein presents the downfall of Victor Frankenstein, the tragic hero, as a result of his fatal flaw. Victor Frankenstein’s complex character, fits the guidelines of an Aristotelian Tragic Hero, which states that the hero must occupy a high status, epitomising nobility however, is not perfect – he possesses a tragic flaw, that is, an error of judgement, also known as harmatia. The hero also undergoes a process of self – realisation, where he becomes of aware of his circumstances and how it is brought about. Victor Frankenstein acquires all of these characteristics, making him an example of an Aristotelian Tragic Hero

Aristotle’s Tragic Hero is of a high status, representing greatness, as evident in Victor Frankenstein. The responder is introduced to Frankenstein, retelling the tale of his life and how his lowered situation has been brought about to Captain Walton, who has rescued him. His conversations with Walton reveal in him a knowledgeable man of high stature, able to draw parallels between himself and his companion, You seek for knowledge and wisdom, as I once did; and I ardently hope the…to sting you, as mine has been. This portrays his desire to gain knowledge, and his open and attentive nature which has allowed him to interpret Walton’s character. His intricate language also conveys a sense of quality education and background. Walton’s perception of Frankenstein, full-toned voice swells in my ears…lineaments of his face are lit up by the soul within, indicate Frankenstein’s noble nature. Frankenstein’s elevated position in society is conveyed through his meticulous diction and conversations with Walton, as well as Walton’s perception of this stranger.

However, Frankenstein isn’t perfect, as he possess tragic flaws, which ultimately lead to his imminent downfall. His desire for the acquirement of knowledge, combined with the ignorance of morals proves to be fatal. His blinding ambition leads him to live the life of a recluse, while unknowingly creating the monster who is to be the destroyer of all his loved ones. His rejection of his flawed creation causes the monster to seek revenge on him, and all of mankind. Frankenstein’s imperfections allow the responder to understand and relate to him, thus making him an ideal Tragic Hero.

Shelley conveys Frankenstein’s tragic character by allowing him to gain self-knowledge and awareness of the reasons of his situation, as stated in Aristotle’s definition of a Tragic Hero. His realisation is depicted immediately through the retrospective narrative form, allowing the older and wiser Frankenstein to identify his mistakes and errors. His words to Walton, …how dangerous is the acquirement of knowledge, and how…than he who aspires to become greater than nature will allow, captures the essence of Shelley’s novel, and her message to society. Thus, it can be said that his understanding and acknowledgement of his errors, characterise him as an Aristotelian Tragic Hero.

Victor Frankenstein can be portrayed as an Aristotelian Tragic Hero due to his personality and the effects of it on his actions. His elevated upbringing, as seen in his language and manner of speech, make him typical of a Tragic Hero. As well as this, his blinding ambition and strong desire to gain knowledge lead to the creation of an imperfect monster, whom he rejects, causing fatal results.

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