(…the nature of motivations that direct an individual’s course of action.)
Motivation describes the will granted in order to accomplish a given task. A motivation pushing an individual towards a goal regardless of the various barriers becomes the individual’s passion. Unrestrained passion dominates the mind such that it removes rationality from the individual. The passion within an individual- particularly an ambitious one – causes an immediate sense of urgency to accomplish their goal; however, in doing so they create adversity for themselves and others as they fail to prioritize their necessities and responsibilities. In the event that their necessities and responsibilities are not met to a certain standard, the individual borders along the lines of insanity due to self-sabotage through the manipulation of the passion. In the novel, Frankenstein, Mary Shelley explores the nature of motivations through Victor Frankenstein’s pursuit of knowledge leading to the creation of the monster and finally the pursuit of revenge by attempting to eliminate the monster. Shelley explains that when an ambitious individual succumbs to their passion, it dominates them via obsession to make potentially illogical and immoral actions until the obsession is overcome by consequences rebuilding rationality. When the situation is rationalized, the individual regrets obsessing over such an action that caused them to neglect their loved ones – ultimately motivating them to correct their immoral actions.
Passion entices ambitious individuals to wholeheartedly focus on their end goal through obsession, without giving thought to morals and ethics due to an illusion of future happiness and satisfaction. Victor is instantly intrigued by lightning – an element of destruction – when he first encounters it hitting a tree. Later, he leaves his family and responsibilities in the pursuit of knowledge in the field of science and philosophy. Victor then commits to the idea of making a creature using the power of lightning in order to test the limits of science, but also to become famous and known for his work. Becoming obsessed is the reason one is unable to rationalize a decision and why passion is able to dominate an individual. Furthermore, the thought of future self-satisfaction and learning is the motivation to undertake the action. In addition to this, the author uses lightning to foreshadow the monster becoming an embodiment of destruction – since lightning is the element of destruction. However, it is also ironic that victor uses the element of destruction to create. Individual’s values and beliefs are shaped by the influences they are surrounded by. For example, the monster is created by lightning, which explains the result of the monster causing mayhem and destruction in Victor’s life. Consider Victor as another look at lightning. Victor’s obsession with lightning has allowed his pursut of knowledge to blind him and make irrational decisions. Passion causes an individual’s failure to recognize other priorities and becomes attached only to their motivation, which is recognized when Victor stays up multiple nights as well as skips many meals. Frankenstein’s obsession is created by his idealistic personality. His pursuit of knowledge is a development of his idealism resulting from his motivation of fame and contribution to society. In order to counteract the idealism one needs an amount of cynicism within themselves to balance out and create realism. Humans also fail to stop, think, and rationalize a situation in order to ensure that all our priorities are met when they are overwhelmingly motivated. Overall, passion manipulates individuals through obsession in the hope of future self-satisfaction. Moving on, passion when rationalized too late causes individuals to change towards torment and regret.
Regret is formed when an obsession is rationalized. This causes a loss of motivation – leading to self punishment through guilt and isolation. In Victor this is demonstrated when he awakens from his illness and blames himself for the death of William. This leads to him isolating himself in darkness by hiding in a room when he returns to Geneva. After one logically understands their actions as well as a potential subsequent consequence, they immediately blame themselves forming guilt and regret and become isolated. Victor needed to view himself cynically in order to balance out his idealistic personality allowing him to be realistic and understand the situation. Additionally – foreshadowing is shown in this because from regret comes a time period of mental torture. Mental torture is demonstrated through isolation ; Victor shrouds himself in darkness, seemingly protecting him from his creation but also alienating his loved ones. By clouding himself in darkness, he is surrounding himself with negativity which is supporting and strengthening the blame and guilt further developing the mental punishment. Both darkness and Victor’s feelings of regret all lead up to the idea of cynicism, which means that in order to truly understand his actions and reach reality, he must go through these feelings and delve into darkness.. Frankenstein feels that he tormented more than even the framed victim being put to death: Justine. This reveals Victor’s previous motivation was only for himself which is known as self-centered motivations. Victor showcases that after being influenced by his self – centered motivation, selfishness has become ingrained within him as he fails to showcase empathy to others. In humans, the idea of guilt usually makes individuals become isolated from others. Individuals are not able to come back from the mental torture because guilt overwhelms them. Also, humans tend to feel worse when their illogical actions have harmed another, solely due to being negligent of others. Negligence of both self and others, if caused by an obsession, is regretted – ultimately causing the mental torture. After an individual regrets an action for a period of time, they finally overcome guilt and work towards correcting their actions.
When a passionate individual has regretted an action for a prolonged time, they are able to overcome guilt through the development of motivation to correct their actions. Victor showcases this after the monster he created kills his family and friends, and now he vows to kill the monster. Victor ends up chasing the monster all the way to the Arctic and ends up in Walton’s ship where he tells Robert his story and later dies. After overcoming the grief of loss, Victor may make redemption his passion in order to reach self-satisfaction ; Victor’s motivation is reinvigorated and becomes equally as obsessed as previously. This is evident when Frankenstein chases the monster all the way to the Arctic. Again, rationality is lost as Victor fails to prioritize his essential needs such as shelter which is ultimately the cause of his death. Also, since he dies neither in the precence of lightning / the monster and darkness – which suggests that in his moments of death he has reached realism. By telling Walton his story, he is trying to show him realism in order to prevent another person to fall into the trap of idealism. Furthermore,Victor shows that he still strives for self-satisfaction even in death as he wants to warn others of the dangers of ambition and passion, in order to die doing a good deed. Confession of one’s guilt allows for escape from darkness, further developing the idea of Victor finally reaching realism. Ambitious and passionate individuals who desire redemption become motivated in the hopes of becoming self-satisfied; in other words self-satisfaction fuels motivation. All in all, an obsession for redemption is fueled by a motivation for self-satisfaction when an individual overcomes the guilt from previous regrets.
All together, an individual when overwhelmed by idealism must undergo and withstand an amount of cynicism in order to reach the balance of realism. Passionate individuals may become obsessed by their passion, leading to mental torture afterwards caused by regret, finally forcing their motivation to become redemption in an attempt to correct their wrongs. Overall, an individual’s motivation is constantly changed by their life’s thoughts and feelings created by their passions ; furthermore, motivations are directly affected by the individuals experiences and the consequences of them. The novel cautions the audience that an obsessive motivation blinds an individual into making a selfish action that they will later vehemently attempt to undo with as much tenacity as when they were performing the action.
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