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FrankensteinAnnotated for Scientists, Engineers, and Creators of All Kinds$
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Mary Shelley, David H. Guston, Ed Finn, and Jason Scott Robert

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780262533287

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262533287.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM MIT PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.mitpress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright The MIT Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MITSO for personal use.date: 03 July 2022

Traumatic Responsibility

Traumatic Responsibility

Victor Frankenstein as Creator and Casualty

(p.201) Traumatic Responsibility

Josephine Johnston

The MIT Press

A rich theme running through Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is responsibility. The novel explores the responsibility that Victor Frankenstein has for the destruction caused by his scientific curiosity, as well as the responsibility that he owes to his creation. Victor Frankenstein’s creature has emotions, desires and dreams that cannot be satisfied by humans. So the creature comes to Victor, first pleading—and then demanding—that he create a female companion with whom he can experience peace and love. While Victor grapples intellectually and practically with the implications of being responsible both for and to the creature, he also experiences responsibility as a devastating physical and emotional state. In this way, Mary Shelley raises a third kind of responsibility—to the self.

Keywords:   Moral responsibility, Legal responsibility, Social responsibility, Consequences, Obligations

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