by Mary Shelley
Frankenstein Sacrifice Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (chapter.paragraph)
Had I right, for my own benefit, to inflict this curse upon everlasting generations? I had before been moved by the sophisms of the being I had created; I had been struck senseless by his fiendish threats; but now, for the first time, the wickedness of my promise burst upon me; I shuddered to think that future ages might curse me as their pest, whose selfishness had not hesitated to buy its own peace at the price, perhaps, of the existence of the whole human race. (20.1)
We're not Frankenstein's biggest fans, but we have to admit that, from his perspective, this is a major sacrifice. Too bad we're not sure if it was (1) necessary, or (2) worth it.
"Shall each man," cried he, "find a wife for his bosom, and each beast have his mate, and I be alone? I had feelings of affection, and they were requited by detestation and scorn. Man! You may hate, but beware! Your hours will pass in dread and misery, and soon the bolt will fall which must ravish from you your happiness forever. Are you to be happy while I grovel in the intensity of my wretchedness? You can blast my other passions, but revenge remains -- revenge, henceforth dearer than light or food! I may die, but first you, my tyrant and tormentor, shall curse the sun that gazes on your misery. Beware, for I am fearless and therefore powerful. I will watch with the wiliness of a snake, that I may sting with its venom. Man, you shall repent of the injuries you inflict." (20.11)
The monster expresses to Victor that he could lose everything if he goes against the monster’s wishes. But Victor remains steadfastly self-sacrificing, realizing that the danger to the world is larger than the danger to himself. He is forced to self-sacrifice to account for his hasty rush into scientific inquiry.
I was easily led by the sympathy which he evinced to use the language of my heart, to give utterance to the burning ardour of my soul and to say, with all the fervour that warmed me, how gladly I would sacrifice my fortune, my existence, my every hope, to the furtherance of my enterprise. (Letter 4.21)
Here's our first clue that "sacrifice" might not be all its cracked up to be: when you think about someone giving up everything to get to the North Pole, it sounds a lot more like insanity than a noble pursuit.