A father has the obligation and responsibility to teach, and to be a role model to his offspring, no matter how they are created. A father figure is most influential in the early years of their young's life. Should the father neglect his duties in these early years or further down the road, the offspring will reflect this neglect the rest of their lives. In the novel Frankenstein, author Mary Shelley examines the different traits that one generally associates with fathers. Alphonse Frankenstein is the caring father of Victor Frankenstein. Henry Clerval, Victor's good friend, acts as a father figure when times are rough. Victor himself is much like a father to the monster, which he created out of his thirst for knowledge and life. A father figure is someone who has a loving and caring relationship with someone else that can be compared to the love in a family. .
Henry Clerval is much like a father to Victor in the sense that he helps support Victor in several ways. Henry nurtures Victor when he is weak from loss of rest, food, and the struggling emotions over the creation of his monster. Victor says to himself while thinking about his good friend Henry, "but I was in reality very ill, and surely nothing but the unbounded and unremitting attentions of my friend could have restored me to life" (Shelley 47). Victor is saying that Henry helped bring him back to good health through tending his needs and nurturing him. This is just one of the fatherly-like traits which Henry demonstrates throughout the novel. What's more, is Henry makes Victor feel safe, happy, and loved. Henry's cheerfulness counters Victor's moroseness. Victor says "I felt suddenly, and for the first time during many months, calm and serene joy" (45). Henry's good spirit brings bliss to Victor when he is depressed, much like a father's love would create joy. Henry, although he is a friend, acts as a father because he feels it is his duty to make Victor stronger and content.