instead of doing harm
This phrase is inserted in so unobtrusive a manner as to pass almost without a reader's comprehension of its drift. The unmistakeable suggestion, however, is that the course of Victor's and his family's lives might have been altered if he and Clerval had been candid about the depth and cause of his illness. Yet, Clerval is at no fault, since he, too, is kept in the dark. Only Victor at this point could alter the narrative logic he has set in motion: among its other aspects, his illness constitutes a deep refuge from both reality and his responsibility for its nature.