(… the nature of motivations that direct an individual’s course of action.)
The course of action that an individual takes in order to tackle a situation is governed highly by their motivations. These motivations originate from the needs and wants of an individual, and as circumstances change, needs and wants change as well, causing a shift in motivations. Motivations often cause an individual to take only those actions that will assist in satiating their drive. Such a course of action can cause harm to not only the individual, but also to those around them as they treat those around them as a mere tool to fulfill their motivations. Mary Shelley conveys this idea of need and wants gaining absolute control over an individual through the character of the Creature- Victor Frankenstein’s artificial man through her romantic novel, Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus. She cleverly develops the idea that once a selfish motivation is fixed in an individual’s mind, they gain tunnel vision and their course of actions are solely dependent on these motivations. It is only when the tunnel vision dispels, that an individual realizes the severity of their actions. More specifically, Mary Shelley portrays that in order to gain love and acceptance, the Creature throws himself into the anonymous service of a kind family, but when denied, he realizes that he has been shunned by human society; thus he seeks revenge on his creator. In the end he realizes the severity of his course of actions due to the selfish nature of his motivations.
A circumstance wherein an individual faces isolation and rejection causes a need for love and acceptance to arise as it is in the nature of all beings to seek affection in order to grow; therefore, the individual will be motivated to pursue a course of action that will assist in achieving this need. After being rejected by his creator, Frankenstein’s Creature is left to fend for himself in the cruelties of the world. Even though he may seem like a giant, there is an innocence instilled in his heart as he has the mind of a baby, and just like a child he sets out on a path to attain love and acceptance. The Creature comes across the DeLacey family and desires to make their acquaintance because he believes that due to their gentile nature they will be able to look past his physical attributes and see who he is within. This motivation of the Creature leads him to take actions that he hopes will help to persuade the DeLacey’s of his kindness and throws himself into the service of the DeLacey’s anonymously. The DeLacey family; however, “spurned and deserted” the Creature due to his appearance, and this action of the DeLacey’s lifts the fantasy of the Creature and he realizes the reality of the situation. He was made to be an ugly Creature and that is all he will ever be. The innate desire of attaining love, motivated the Creature to take up a course of action that would ultimately lead him to the good graces of the DeLacey family, but when denied, “a rage of anger” consumes him and lights their house on fire. This action alludes to the fact that when a particular need utterly takes over an individual’s body, mind and soul, it motivates them to pursue a course of action to attain it, that need becomes all-consuming and a tunnel vision takes over the individual. The only thing at the end of this tunnel is a fantasmic dream the individual longs to fulfill but is unable to see the reality surrounding it. After lighting up the DeLacey’s home, he flees in an attempt to find his creator. The tunnel vision of his motivation to find love has begun to dispel and the gentle being has realized the cruel realities of society.
An individual, when denied their need for love and acceptance continually, become consumed by rage and seek revenge on those they believe caused their downfall. This is because the individual believes that they are making the right decisions and are on the appropriate course to attain their needs, hence, any failure caused is perceived as a result of external forces. Since, the Creature now believes his failure to gain love and acceptance the fault of others, he devises an infallible plan which can only be accomplished through the assistance of Victor Frankenstein. Upon meeting him, the Creature demands Victor to “create a female” for him so that he is able to gain the “sympathies” that are necessary for his survival. Although Frankenstein had agreed and begun to make him a female creature, he destroys the female on whose existence the creature would have finally been able to gain love and affection. This causes the Creature to become full of rage as his need for love and acceptance from another has been repeatedly denied through external forces. Subsequently, he swears revenge on Victor and this new motivation directs the Creature to pursue a course of action wherein he kills the one Victor loves, so he can make him feel the same isolation that he has suffered through. He warns Victor that he will be with him on his “wedding-night”. The Creature is, again, taken over by tunnel vision and the only thought on his mind is to end Victor’s loved one which leads him to also kill Elizabeth, Victor’s wife, on her wedding night just as he had promised. Having been denied of love and affection from Victor, the Creature vow revenge as he believes that the reason for his downfall is Victor himself. Because Victor had destroyed the Creature on whose “future existence” the creature depended on “for happiness”, the Creature had also cowed to kill Elizabeth as she was to be the source of Victor’s future happiness. After leaving Victor with nobody to turn to, he implores him to come to the Arctic as he now also wants Victor’s blood. Here, Mary Shelley portrays the severity of what can happen once an individual is clouded by a selfish motivation that demands to be satiated.
Taking actions directed by selfish motivations lead to undesirable results and this reality is realized only when the tunnel vision dispels and the entire reality is seen by the individuals. Due to his human nature, Victor Frankenstein was not able to bear the cold of the Arctic and is found by a crew of travelers and provided with shelter and food. The Creature, who still wants Victor’s blood keeps a close eye on him and waits for him to gain his health back so as to continue their chase, Victor is too weak and succumbs to the weakness of his body and dies. The Creature visits Victor’s dead body and seeing the reason for his being lying dead, his tunnel vision dispels completely. The selfish nature of his motivations had led the Creature to pursue a course of action that assisted him to achieve his needs, the tunnel vision he had gained by that, failed to make him realize the destruction he had caused in an attempt to achieve his needs. He caused the death of innocent individuals on his path to gain love and acceptance, and also the death of the one who gave him life. Having been controlled by all consuming needs so far, with the death of Victor, the Creature no longer has a purpose to live as the only thought he had was to attain revenge for his past failures. Therefore, when an individual is controlled only by their needs and wants, they begin to chase a fantasmic dream and do not consider the reality. It is only when their course of action leads to unfavourable consequences repeatedly do they realize the true reality and the extent of the damage that they have caused.
In conclusion, when an individual is clouded by a selfish motivation, a tunnel vision forms and all their actions are dependent solely on the nature of their motivations. This can be seen in Mary Shelley’s novel as she demonstrates that in order to gratify a motivation, one throws themselves into the pursuit of this motivation, but when undesirable results are attained, the tunnel vision begins to dispel; however, another motivation begins to control the individual’s course of action. This motivation is a much stronger one as the individual’s previous needs and wants had not been attained which rouses a want for revenge over those who caused the individual’s failure and causes the individual to gain tunnel vision one more time and focus only to gain better results. This is not the case as this motivation only leads to the ultimate fall of the individual and the tunnel vision dispels completely. Lastly, the nature of motivations of an individual can completely take over their minds and direct their actions to fulfill this motivation.