The nature of motivations that can direct an individual’s course of action.
The rush of motivation
It’s universal between most people that the only way to get anything done is to have some sort of motivational force that pushes them to get things done. In extreme cases, some can even be so convinced and driven by their own motivations that it causes them to act upon actions without thought or critique towards what they’re really doing. This is presented in Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein through the use of the monster’s actions, which furthermore prove that motivations can provoke ignorance of the consequences of their actions.
Shelly places the monster in a situation of uncertainty and rage for being hastily abandoned by his creator, Victor Frankenstein. These feelings burn hotter when the monster gets rejected by a desperate family that he had anonymously been helping out for a while. The novel shows evidence of the shredded hope in humanity that the monster clang to while helping the family; going so far as to stop stealing food for essential nutrients and foraging the cold forest for food, chopping wood so they could stay warm while he slept in the cold, and learning the language they spoke to hopefully communicate with them someday. When an individual goes through such work to befriend their established enemy, it’s obvious to see the motivation of hope that the monster has to belong with others. However, when the family rejects and beats him, after all he had done for them, a new motivation springs from the hatred of betrayal that burns so intense, that it prematurely sets the monster’s course of action for the rest of the novel. The monster states “…I bent my mind
toward injury and death.” revealing the effect of these motivations. That they had changed the way that his mind thought, turning his course of action from care to pain, even going so far as to burn down what he worked hard to upkeep in a fit of rage that stemmed from the motivation of hate and revenge.
The extent of motivation’s power to blind is only extended when the monster proceeds to kill two children and the wife of Victor. Due to the fact that it takes a lot for a conscious-minded being to kill another, let along kill two more after seeing the pain it causes others, it’s clear the extent that his motivations to destroy have blinded him to the emotional distress of the actions he has committed. This becomes more evident when the monster later acknowledges that he did, in fact, know what distress he was causing and justified his actions by stating it was just to get back at Victor and humanity. Self-Justification when you’re clearly in the wrong is a common form of being so driven by something that you’ve become ignorant of the truth. Not only does he do that, but he also shifts the blame toward Victor, commanding that it was he who forced the monster to kill his wife when there was still clearly the option to abstain from bloodshed. However, the monster does not see it that way. If Victor doesn’t fulfill the monster’s request to make a companion like him, Victor’s wife will perish. Again, motivation is the key factor in this decision-making process. The monster’s mind is constantly being pushed to the edge by his motivation for revenge, death, and the need to belong; his brain no longer thinks of the grey and aftereffects of his actions, only the black of death and the ever-dwindling white of hopeless hope that he will belong. This is the monster’s peak motivation period. His motivations burn a hellfire sweeping over each forethought and regret that comes to his mind, burning them to irrelevant ashes that fly away in the wind, while his actions remain rash and haphazardous.
When Victor decides to exact revenge on the monster for all the crimes he has committed against him, he and the monster travel to the arctic, where Victor gets sick on a passing boat. Victor perishes, and it is then that the monster visits his opposition for the last time, and grieves for the death of his enemy. When the monster’s task of making Victor miserable until the day he died was completed, he was able to think back on what he had done. Instead of finding the satisfaction that the motivation of hatred led him to believe, he found pity in what he had done. The monster tormented Victor with all he could do, his actions shoved forward by anger, but by looking back on what he had done all he could do was question what he actually accomplished. The monster had achieved his goal, but in the process killed, burned, and made someone miserable for the only reason that he felt like he had to. Had hatred not pushed him to do all those things, it’s shown in this scene that he wouldn’t have done the things he did because, logically, he gained nothing from all he had done. In fact, he actually lost everything. Victor’s entire reasoning for not making a companion for the monster was because of how violently the first monster acted, and he was unsure if the two monsters would cause double the crimes that the monster had done. It’s now when the passion and motivation from hatred passes, that he realized the mistake he made, and that it was his partially his fault for his own downfall. This realization of what his hatred led him to did cause him to kill himself out of grief and regret as if removing himself will justify the wrongdoings he has done.
The evidence in Shelley’s novel shows the ignorance that can come from motivation and how it causes them to make rash decisions. Passion can make an individual be blind to the cause of what they do, or even why they’re doing it entirely. The monster’s actions show the rashness that stems from strong motivation, such as emotions, that can force an individual to commit actions that would not be wise. Furthermore, it shows that motivations make your brain to think only of the end result, not how you are going to get there.