Contents Index

your own free choice

The inclusion of this resonant diction seems intended to establish a linkage between the personal and more public conceptions of responsibility that can be traced through the novel. Although Victor, and recently his father too, think of him as haunted by a destiny over which he has no control (3.4.9), Elizabeth's language is firmly rooted in the primacy of choice in all human relations. Her rejection of a male concept of honor here seems to link it to stereotypes of behavior that at once shackle the will and suspend the individual's ultimate responsibility for actions and their consequences.