Frankenstein: The Enlightened Lover and Martyr (Peer Response Edition Only)

Victor's demise is not a condemnation of rationalism.  Though Victor Frankenstein did start to follow the tenets of rationalism, he could not escape the romanticism in his human nature. For his tragedy to represent the downfall of rationalism, he had to perform as a rationalist. Instead Victor Frankenstein rather would characterize the downfall of Romanticism. It is human nature to greed for more power, to become more than what they are, to make judgments off of emotion and conceit rather than logic. If Frankenstein had been Enlightened he wouldn't have taken the view of his creation he did. He would have marveled at it for the anomaly and significance it provided to the world of science, instead he could not move past its appearances. His downfall was that he could not be tolerant as the tenets of Enlightenment say. He would choose to respond out of fear and disgust rather than the rational move of acceptance and becoming an educator. He might've treated his creation differently if it were beautiful, yet he could not stand its ugliness. And yet, isn't ugliness defined by the inability to overcome ancient traditions, ideals, and concepts of beauty. A rationalist would've not seen ugliness in the human notion as Victor did.

His words had a strange effect upon me. I compassionated
him, and sometimes felt a wish to console
him; but when I looked upon him, when I saw
the filthy mass that moved and talked, my heart
sickened, and my feelings were altered to those of
horror and hatred. I tried to stifle these sensations;
I thought, that as I could not sympathize with him, I
had no right to withhold from him the small portion
of happiness which was yet in my power to bestow. (Frankenstein 260)
…she, who in all probability was to become a thinking and reasoning
animal… She also might turn with
disgust from him to the superior beauty of man;
(Frankenstein 299)
Life, although it may only be an accumulation
of anguish, is dear to me, and I will defend
it. Remember, thou hast made me more powerful
than thyself; my height is superior to thine; my joints
more supple. But I will not be tempted to set myself
in opposition to thee. I am thy creature, and I will
be even mild and docile to my natural lord and king,
if thou wilt also perform thy part, the which thou
owest me. (Frankenstein 164)
Victor saw visions of divine punishment for his unnatural acts, this can be seen as romanticism trying to inject itself during Victor's period of Rationalism. They sought to bring him back to a more emotional approach. The condemnation went to this emotional view though, because Victor died once he started to live solely for love and human emotion.
…but as I imprinted the first kiss on her lips, they became
livid with the hue of death; her features appeared
to change, and I thought that I held the corpse of
my dead mother in my arms; a shroud enveloped
her form, and I saw the grave-worms crawling in
the folds of the flannel.(Frankenstein 80)
Whence, I often asked myself, did the principle
of life proceed? It was a bold question, and
one which has ever been considered as a mystery;
yet with how many things are we upon the
brink of becoming acquainted, if cowardice or carelessness
did not restrain our inquiries. (Frankenstein 66)
“Slave, I before reasoned with you, but you have
proved yourself unworthy of my condescension. Remember
that I have power; you believe yourself
miserable, but I can make you so wretched that
the light of day will be hateful to you. You are my
creator, but I am your master; — obey!”(Frankenstein 303)
The monster is at first a Romantic, then he becomes a Rationalist. He has all the reason to lament the Romantics of a human society he can't be allowed in. The human mind is irrational and is only justifying for itself, or at least that is what the creature sees. His negative view on the tenets of human rationality turned him to the monster, the animal, the logicless creature that he showed himself to be at times.
You accuse me of murder;
and yet you would, with a satisfied conscience,
destroy your own creature. Oh, praise the eternal
justice of man! (Frankenstein 166)
“ ‘Do not despair. To be friendless is indeed
to be unfortunate; but the hearts of men, when
unprejudiced by any obvious self-interest, are full of
brotherly love and charity. Rely, therefore, on your
hopes; and if these friends are good and amiable,
do not despair.’ (Frankenstein 234)
The creature had tried to be reasonable, even creating a plan on how to obtain a companion. He figured that this would allow him to be part of the humanity which he desperately wanted to fit into. What he found was that he could not control his anger, his impulse, the bit of humanity he had within.
“ ‘Frankenstein! you belong then to my enemy—
to him towards whom I have sworn eternal revenge;
you shall be my first victim.’ (Frankenstein 252)
Frankenstein's mother served as a warning sign against Rationalism. It can be assumed that a wise and strong woman in her deathbed would speak of significant matters in her last moments. She had the older generation's ideas on love. Society is facing trials of Rationalism and Romanticism till today. It is a particularly heavy struggle for the human psyche and the attainment of mass media, knowledge, and social hubs has made those involved in popular culture delve deeper within themselves and their thought process.
I knew that I was preparing for 
myself a deadly torture; but I was the slave, not the
master of an impulse, which I detested, yet could
not disobey. (Frankenstein 408)

Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein to display the characteristics of Modern Rationalism and Romanticism. She did not lean towards one belief. It was popular because of this representation of the contrast, yet steady convergence of the two beliefs.
Dr. Darwin, and some of the physiological
writers of Germany… It was recommended by the novelty
of the situations which it developes; and, however
impossible as a physical fact, affords a point of view
to the imagination for the delineating of human passions
more comprehensive and commanding than
any which the ordinary relations of existing events
can yield.
I have thus endeavoured to preserve the truth
of the elementary principles of human nature,…
(Frankenstein Preface)
  The modern comparison of the two schools of thought made people reconsider themselves and what humanity was. They also reconsidered the laws of attraction, morality, and personality  in functioning in society. Today we still philosophize our being and what makes our right to live, survive, and function as and in society.
Works Cited
Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein (Bantam Classics). New York: Bantam Classics, 1984. Print.

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