Study Guide

Frankenstein Compassion and Forgiveness

By Mary Shelley

Compassion and Forgiveness

(Click the themes infographic to download.)

Most of the characters in Frankenstein seem to lack compassion entirely. The monster alone shows compassion and kindness, attributes that are soon ruined by the world around him. Frankenstein further questions just how goodness is judged. We are left unable to judge which characters are good and which are evil. We are left unsure of whom to forgive, who deserves our compassion.

Questions About Compassion and Forgiveness

  1. Why isn’t Victor compassionate towards the monster he has created? Come on – it’s just that the thing is ugly? There has to be more to the story here. Do you really think everything would have been hunky-dory if the monster looked like Ashton Kutcher?
  2. Is Victor responsible for being compassionate toward the monster?
  3. In Frankenstein, the only person who does a good deed (rescuing a girl from drowning) is shot in the shoulder. What can you infer about Shelley’s view of the world?

Chew on This

The monster is the true protagonist in the novel because he is the only character who feels compassion, and hence, he is the only character the reader can feel compassion for.

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