There are several themes in this story that spoke to me on several different levels, some obvious, some more subtle. This isn't intended to be a book review - although it kind of sounds like one so far - so I'm not going to dive deeply into all of them. There is one idea that was shouting at me the entire time I read though. It is a question actually. What did you expect would happen? I ask that quite a bit lately when I listen to the lamentations of people dissatisfied with their current situations. As Victor's story unfolded, I was constantly reminded of that idea. During the entire story, his situation is precisely what it should be based on the decisions he has made. I'm not sure if Shelley intended this or if it is a byproduct of her exceptional telling of the story, but the theme was obvious to me throughout. In each step of Victor Frankenstein's lamentable life, his situation was exactly what he should have expected based on the decisions that he had made. Shelley made this character so real that I found myself asking him that question repeatedly. Come on Vic, what did you expect would happen?
In the real world, you'll hear things like, "I never have any money," followed - sometimes immediately - by, "Oh, look at this thing I just bought." Of course, this isn't about money, that is just an obvious example to illustrate a point. It amazes me how hard a time people have sometimes correlating the situation they find themselves in with decisions they have made up to that point. Luck is a fantasy. Things you perceive as good or bad both happen because you allow them to, even seek them out. Whether conscious or unconscious, your situation is exactly what you want it to be based on the decisions that you have made.
Victor Frankenstein wanted to create, to test the laws of science and nature, and expand human knowledge. He succeeded in that, mostly. What he could have viewed as a triumph he regretted and shrank away from. Ultimately he came to hate the result of his success. At that point, he made a series of equally bad decisions that led to the demise of everything he held dear, even himself. I think we can all relate to that idea. We believe in something, toil to achieve it, and either don't recognize it once we have succeeded or decide it really isn't what we wanted in the first place. Then, sometimes, we blame that thing - that at one point we wanted so much - for our unhappiness rather than accepting the blame for our own desires. Our happiness or misery is completely up to us.
This is sounding a little preachy and it isn't meant to be. I'm no teacher or philosopher, just making an observation. I am as guilty as the next for blaming anything but me sometimes when things don't go the way I expect them to. However, when I really put some thought into those situations I realize that they could not have turned out any other way. We are all the authors of our own stories and those stories will be exactly what they should be based on the words we lay down on the page. We create our own realities and we are in control of how we perceive them. If our situation becomes something we no longer desire, all we have to do is look at the series of decisions that led us to this point, and make different ones. Whether those decisions are better or worse is completely based on our own perception. We are in control.
So...Victor is a monster who got what he deserved. His creation is also a monster - though a tragic one - who probably got what he deserved if he remained as true to his word as he had been throughout the entire story. Both found themselves in situations that they did not desire and both decided to battle against and focus on the negatives rather than allowing anything positive to come to them. The whole thing is so terribly tragic that the beauty of it is almost astonishing.