Polished Critical: Responsibility for one’s Ambition

Discuss the idea(s) developed by the text creator in your chosen text about the impact of an individual’s ambition on self and others. 


chosen text: Frankenstein

-Victor Frankenstein choosing to become a scientist in pursuit of his dreams

Voctor’s ambition causes him to veer towards an unnatural path towards creating life and he pulls it off

-in choosing to do so Victor prioritizes his study and work above all else

Neglects his family and his health→ causing his family and friends to worry

-As a result of following through his ambition he creates the monster that resents its own existence



Victor is revealed to the atrocities of his actions and especially the result of his creation, consequently he wishes to have nothing to do with his monster, disowning it and labeling it as a devil

Monster becomes lonely

-Victor attempts to reconnect with his family after having been absent and out of communication for a long period of time

-His past actions come back to haunt him, as he learns that the monster has killed William and Justine is the accused→ loses both of them

-Victor is thrown back into the mess he had created and now

-Attempts to reconcile by confronting his monster



-Denial of the monster’s request for a mate, Victor suffers the loss of his entire family

-Victor then hunts his monster across treacherous climate and across long distances

Weakening his health

Victor ultimately suffers the loss of a broken soul and his life is lost shortly after




When an individual becomes obsessed with their ambition, one may become blindsided to the consequences that follow their own actions, forsaking responsibility, and as a result will have to live a new bitter reality bred by one.


The pursuit of one’s ambition has allowed the human race to survive for generations against the test of time, and allowed humanity to remain dominant on the planet for much longer. The simple trait has provided man with a fiery motivation that allows him burn obstacles away, and forge a path, advancing into the future. An individual’s actions are a direct reflection of the intentions and motivations one holds in their heart. However when motivation completely consumes an individual the consequences of what follows after can be dire, the perversion of ambition causes one to completely disregard any effect their actions may hold. This is the idea explored by author Mary Shelly in her novel Frankenstein, When Victor creates life without a woman, neglecting his family for years of study and work only to be horrified with his creation, and as a result forced to live life with the consequences of his ambition. In her novel, Frankenstein, Shelly explores the idea that when an individual becomes obsessed with their ambition, one may become blindsided to the consequences that follow their own actions, and as a result of not claiming ownership, pave the path for a new, bitter reality to present itself.


Victor Frankenstein’s dream of becoming a pursuer in science leaves him to take his field of study to new depths, his only motivation being the love for his subject. Victor proves to be gifted in his passion, studying for the sake of gathering knowledge and finding answers to questions. It is in this love for science that Victor finds himself lost in a world full of knowledge and possibility, of which he takes great advantage. In his indulgence in science Victor embarks on a project to give life to matter, spending months gathering whatever is necessary to give life to his vision, dedicating, to an almost sacrificial point, his mind and body. Victor’s slave-like dedication to his cause serves to show the reader the twistedness of his ambition, and how it had completely engulfed him, and as a result Victor gives no thought towards the consequences that his venture holds. In what was supposed to be the most gratifying moment of his ordeal, Victor only finds disgust and fear in his creation, seeing clearly for the first time the unnatural thing he had done; he had given life to deformity. In fear and pure disgust Victor abandons responsibility that a creator should uphold for their creation, and abandons the monster shortly. Having his ambition cleared his mind victor acknowledges his absence in the life of his family and the attention in his health, and so begins to focus on restoring himself to health and reconnecting with his past.


Though Victor has forsaken responsibility for his actions, his past inevitably integrates itself into his present and his family and friends are placed in jeopardy. After having spent a considerable amount of time away from his studies and away from any scientific pursuit, Victor focuses on solely spending time with family and friends and restoring his health, ignoring the existence of the monster he has given life to and the possibility of its presence in his life. Victor being with his family at this stage creates a sense of peace, though it is only short-lived. Just as one cannot run away from responsibility, Frankenstein sees evidence that his past is making its way into his family, consequently placing those he cares about in great danger.

This is presented where Victor chooses to keep quiet after learning about the death of his brother at the hands of his monster, though conflicted and guilty; he does not confess his ambition murdered his brother and the accused, Justine, pays with her life for a murder she did not commit.  At this point a major shift occurs when Frankenstein realizing that due to the lack of ownership of his actions the consequences are placed on the heads of other individuals. Attempting to claim ownership of his actions and prevent any further tragedy Victor seeks out his monster. Despite Frankenstein labeling his monster as a demonic being, the monster is no different than any other individual caught in the web of Victor’s ambition; he suffers from loneliness being the only of his kind. In an attempt to take responsibility Victor listens to his monster’s tale, though he genuinely empathizes with the monster his view on his creation remains the same, Victor refuses to accept any human aspect of his monster and forces his creation, the embodiment of his ambition, to wreak havoc on his life. Though in some aspects Victor does take responsibility for his actions by confronting his monster, he does nothing to reconcile and make amends for his actions, and as a result fuels the monster’s hate for humanity and loneliness; turning it into the devil he was labeled to be.


Victor’s inability to understand his monster’s position leads to another shift in the story. The monster now having fully embraced its monster identity destroys all things Victor holds dear. Victor’s inability to follow through with his task to the full extent in the beginning of the novel causes him to live in the new reality in the latter half. As a result of an extreme ambition without guiding reason Frankenstein destroys his old way of life. He wipes away all trace of the beautiful past he had once lived in and enjoyed, one by one his ambition murders all that Victor cared for and loved, as if to show the creator what happens when an individual refuses to own their actions. As a series of tragedies begin to unfold in the latter part of the novel, each character close to Frankenstein is thrust into misery, falling either victim to Victor’s ambition or their own melancholy. Having now become a broken man, Frankenstein pursues his ambition once again, though this time not with the intent of study or the pursuit of knowledge, now Victor pursues to murder his ambition to avenge his family and his old life. Thus the ambition guides its broken slave through mental treachery, only paralleled by the physical dangers Victor chases the monster through, slowly breaking Victor’s human body. In the end when ambition and creator come to a cold standstill Frankenstein dies a cold and icy death and the monster commits suicide having found that his own life, victor’s ambition, once deceased, would put an end to all tragedy. Ambition had allowed for man to rise from dust, though when twisted and taken too far, sends man back to ashes.


In her novel, Frankenstein, Mary Shelly argues that with the obsession of ambition, one may become unaware of the consequences that are to follow, and with their perversion of passion create a new life for themselves, full of misery and regret. Victor Frankenstein is the personification of this very idea, guided solely by his passion to defy science and nature he creates life without a woman, only to be disgusted and horrified by the result. The actions that he was unable to take back had led him to fall into a new reality filled with the result of his unfulfilled responsibility towards the monster. Motivations an individual may hold are a direct reflection and fuel of all the major actions an individual may take in their life. Ambition has allowed the human race to thrive for generations and develop new technologies as time progresses, however ambition without guiding reason is a wildfire, though brightly it burns; it turns to ash whatever surrounds it and in time, itself.

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