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The roles of fate and free will in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

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The roles of fate and free will in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

Introduction

Accountability for one’s actions has always been the subject of debate on whether human actions are founded on choices – free will or forces outside a person’s control – fate. In Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein, both free will and fate play a part in the characters’ actions and the consequences of these actions. There is a limit to how much we can be responsible for our lives and actions. For some actions, we will be responsible, but there will be others purely determined by fate.

Fate and free will.

Victor Frankenstein regularly bemoans that fate contributes to the outcome of his experiences. It is true that fate is responsible for some of his experiences. However, fate is not solely responsible for Victor’s tribulations. Victor is a victim of his monster, a creature that he willingly chose to create. He creates the monster on the belief that in doing so, he would discover the secrets of life and death and would be able to renew life. Up to this point, Victor’s experience is purely by choice. Victor, however, has no control over the life of the creature. The creature does not turn out to be what he expected; thus, he cannot be held accountable for his actions (Boisvert, 10). The creature turns out to be Victor’s tormentor, killing his family and ultimately killing him. The monster’s actions are driven by fate, and Victor has no control over them. When reproached by Walton about Victor’s murder, the monster says that the virtue of happiness and feelings of happiness which overflowed in his whole being had become a shadow to him (Shelley, 164). This shows that his actions were defined by fate despite the existence of contradicting personal desires.

Victor’s inevitable confrontations with his monster also highlight how limited a role free will plays in our lives and actions. Victor makes several attempts to avoid confronting his creation. However, as fate had it, his creation always found a way back to Victor’s life through the murder of his friends, family, and even in one instance, the creature comes to Victor demanding that Victor creates him a female companion (Shelley, 104). Many arguments are made that the monster was Victor’s creation; hence he deserved everything that happened to him, but in a real sense, Victor tried to disassociate the monster after creating it only to be tied to it by fate.

Another episode illustrating the boundaries of free will is the monster’s choice of his victims. Even though it appears that the monster murders his victims by choice, the fact that the monster was born into a life with no guidance made him see this as the only way to live. In William’s killing, for instance, the monster says, “Frankenstein! You belong then to my enemy, to him towards whom I have sworn eternal revenge; you shall be my first victim” (Shelley, 102). The abandonment life that the creature was born into gave him a skewed picture of the world; thus, circumstances controlled his actions more than personal choices did. Additionally, the monster chose victims based on their relationship with Victor. No choice action could therefore save these victims since their death was fated.

Conclusion

Fate limits human choices. It constraints the boundaries within which humans have a choice of action or destiny of their lives. Discussed illustrations from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein put to context to what extent one is responsible for their lives and how fate limits this responsibility. Victor is right in bemoaning fate for his experiences. Throughout, he tries to make choices favorable for his life, but fate constraints these choices. Not every consequence that a person meets is a result of their choices. There is a limit to how much we can be responsible for our lives and actions. This limit is fate.

Works Cited

Boisvert, Raymond. “Mary Shelley, Frankenstein & Moral Philosophy.” Philosophy Now 128 (2018): 10-13.

Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft. Frankenstein, or the modern Prometheus. ARC, Amsterdam University Press, 2018.

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Student’s Name

Instructor’s Name

Course Tittle

Date

The roles of fate and free will in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

Introduction

Accountability for one’s actions has always been the subject of debate on whether human actions are founded on choices – free will or forces outside a person’s control – fate. In Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein, both free will and fate play a part in the characters’ actions and the consequences of these actions. There is a limit to how much we can be responsible for our lives and actions. For some actions, we will be responsible, but there will be others purely determined by fate.

Fate and free will.

Victor Frankenstein regularly bemoans that fate contributes to the outcome of his experiences. It is true that fate is responsible for some of his experiences. However, fate is not solely responsible for Victor’s tribulations. Victor is a victim of his monster, a creature that he willingly chose to create. He creates the monster on the belief that in doing so, he would discover the secrets of life and death and would be able to renew life. Up to this point, Victor’s experience is purely by choice. Victor, however, has no control over the life of the creature. The creature does not turn out to be what he expected; thus, he cannot be held accountable for his actions (Boisvert, 10). The creature turns out to be Victor’s tormentor, killing his family and ultimately killing him. The monster’s actions are driven by fate, and Victor has no control over them. When reproached by Walton about Victor’s murder, the monster says that the virtue of happiness and feelings of happiness which overflowed in his whole being had become a shadow to him (Shelley, 164). This shows that his actions were defined by fate despite the existence of contradicting personal desires.

Victor’s inevitable confrontations with his monster also highlight how limited a role free will plays in our lives and actions. Victor makes several attempts to avoid confronting his creation. However, as fate had it, his creation always found a way back to Victor’s life through the murder of his friends, family, and even in one instance, the creature comes to Victor demanding that Victor creates him a female companion (Shelley, 104). Many arguments are made that the monster was Victor’s creation; hence he deserved everything that happened to him, but in a real sense, Victor tried to disassociate the monster after creating it only to be tied to it by fate.

Another episode illustrating the boundaries of free will is the monster’s choice of his victims. Even though it appears that the monster murders his victims by choice, the fact that the monster was born into a life with no guidance made him see this as the only way to live. In William’s killing, for instance, the monster says, “Frankenstein! You belong then to my enemy, to him towards whom I have sworn eternal revenge; you shall be my first victim” (Shelley, 102). The abandonment life that the creature was born into gave him a skewed picture of the world; thus, circumstances controlled his actions more than personal choices did. Additionally, the monster chose victims based on their relationship with Victor. No choice action could therefore save these victims since their death was fated.

Conclusion

Fate limits human choices. It constraints the boundaries within which humans have a choice of action or destiny of their lives. Discussed illustrations from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein put to context to what extent one is responsible for their lives and how fate limits this responsibility. Victor is right in bemoaning fate for his experiences. Throughout, he tries to make choices favorable for his life, but fate constraints these choices. Not every consequence that a person meets is a result of their choices. There is a limit to how much we can be responsible for our lives and actions. This limit is fate.

Works Cited

Boisvert, Raymond. “Mary Shelley, Frankenstein & Moral Philosophy.” Philosophy Now 128 (2018): 10-13.

Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft. Frankenstein, or the modern Prometheus. ARC, Amsterdam University Press, 2018.

"Get 15% discount on your first 3 orders with us"
Use the following coupon
FIRST15

Order Now

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