actuated by selfish and vicious motives
On the face of it, Victor's honest admission that he has been impelled by less than disinterested motives must raise him in the reader's estimation, especially since he is close to his death and seems to be struggling for a truthful objectivity. Yet, a second glance at this phrase calls for its positioning, and we realize that Victor is referring to the last paragraph of his narration (III:7:26), uttered on 26 August, not three weeks before. If the last paragraph of his account is so indelibly tainted as Victor admits, what are we to think of what has preceded it? In other words, by what has his entire narration been "actuated"? If the whole rests on nothing but "selfish and vicious motives," then the textual indeterminacy so continually hinted at throughout the novel may in fact be radical.