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his destined successor

In a patrilineal society Victor would be the principal heir of his father, anticipating his succession to the principal share of the family estate. An English readership would be well schooled in the legal circumstances involved, and, indeed, such exigencies are at the core of many an eighteenth- and nineteenth-century English novel. Victor, however, seems to think of this inheritance not just as a financial expectation, but as a moral and civic obligation as well. We will soon come to realize, however, how deeply he has failed to live up to the expectations of his father and of his earlier self in this regard.