Victor Frankenstein: Key Quotes


Frankenstein is the novel’s protagonist, so it stands to reason you will use at least one quote about him no matter what essay you write. You need to have a clear and detailed understanding of Frankenstein and how Shelley has characterised him.

‘engaged, heart and soul, in the pursuit of some discoveries’

(Chapter 4)

Here, Frankenstein talks of his love of science. The verb ‘engaged’ reveals his desire to discover new things, which would have been very fitting for many scientists during the 19th century. The phrase ‘heart and soul’ gives the impression that Frankenstein will stop at nothing to get what he wants, which is interesting because he is so consumed with creating life out of dead matter, that he doesn’t stop to consider what will happen when he creates life. This is, of course, shown in his reaction to the Monster when he is created, which ultimately causes all the bad things to happen as the novel continues.

‘I had desired it with an ardour that far exceeded moderation’ (Chapter 5)

  1. What might Frankenstein ‘desire’ based on this section of the novel?
  2. What word class is ‘ardour’ and what does it mean?
  3. What could the phrase ‘far exceeded moderation’ suggest about Frankenstein’s passions?
  4. What could Shelley be warning her readers?

‘These sublime and magnificent scenes afforded me the greatest consolation that I was capable of receiving’  (Chapter 10)

  1. This quote is taken from the point in the novel where Frankenstein goes to the Alps alone to heal. What contextual link could you make here?
  2. What atmosphere do the adjectives ‘sublime’ and ‘magnificent’ create?
  3. What is Shelley highlighting with the phrase ‘greatest consolation that I was capable of receiving’?
  4. ‘Greatest’ is a superlative. What effect does this have?

‘no creature had ever been so miserable as I was’ (Chapter 23)

  1. Is Frankenstein characterised as a victim or hero here? Why?
  2. Why could this quote be considered ironic?
  3. What word class is ‘miserable’ and what does it suggest about Frankenstein?
  4. How would the reader react to Frankenstein at this point in the novel?

‘misled by passion’ (Chapter 24)

  1. What word class is ‘misled’ and what does it suggest?
  2. What has Frankenstein finally realised about his obsession with creation?
  3. What is Shelley warning her readers here?
  4. Could any other characters be considered as being ‘misled by passion’? Who and why?