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tortured the living animal

The details of this paragraph are all intended to be ugly and repulsive to the reader, but this quick reference has a particular force to it, reminding us that the Shelley household was vegetarian. The torturing of animals in medical experimentation would have been felt by Mary Shelley to be thoughtless cruelty. It is ironic, and clearly not intentional on Victor Frankenstein's part, that his Creature turns out also to be a vegetarian.