Frankenstein - Guilt And Confession

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 12th grade February 2008

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Guilt and confession have played a significant role in condemning different characters in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein to death. As the story progresses, several murders take place. These murders were never solved with substantial evidence. Justine's conviction, Frankenstein's conviction, and the monster's final confession all originate from guilt and end in a condemning to death. This essay will attempt to prove how guilt leads to a confession which leads to a condemning to death in Mary Shelly's Frankenstein.

Justine was said to have confessed falsely to the murder of William. She tells Elizabeth this: "I did confess, but I confessed to a lie. I confessed, that I might obtain absolution. Ever since I was condemned, my confessor has besieged me… until I almost began to think that I was the monster that he said I was." [Pg. 66] Justine was forced to believe she was guilty in some way. This sense of guiltiness coupled with Justine's fear of eternity in hell, forced her into a position where she had to decide whether to confess falsely to god or to risk eternity in hell for something she might have been guilty for.

Two things she may have been guilty for: Seeing who murdered William, but not saying who (possibly Frakenstein himself), or a cause and effect, where she did something that lead William to his death. As seen in the next quotation, Frakenstein believes he was the cause of death to two people (William and Justine).

"Have my murderous machinations deprived you also... of life? Two I have already destroyed; other victims await their destiny…." [Pg. 148] In this quote, Frankenstein confesses to be the cause of the deaths of William, Justine, and Henry. Frankenstein's guilt of creating a murderous monstrosity drove him to confess to murdering his family and friends...