Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is a classic tale of a man-made monster seeking acceptance from society in light of his ghastly appearance and strange upbringing. With Europe as its backdrop in the 1790’s, the story begins with a series of letters exchanged between Captain Robert Walton and his sister that chronicled the story of a man, Victor Frankenstein, whom he meets on the North Pole.
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After being rescued from near death, Victor Frankenstein tells Robert Walton the story of his upbringing in a warm Swiss family and his fascination with studying how life was formed. He was an avid, amateur scientist who created a "perfect" human from spare body parts - only to have his plan backfire when the monster turned out to be extremely hideous and unappealing. During a brief study and recovery period with Henry Clerval, his closest friend, Frankenstein’s monster navigated the social scene for human friendship and was turned down again and again. After observing a family living in a small cottage, monster Frankenstein mustered the courage to seek an invite before getting rejected again. The last straw, he ventured out to seek revenge on the person who created him.
During his trip back to Geneva, Switzerland - the monster met Frankenstein’s younger brother and killed him for revenge. After his brother’s death, Frankenstein went back to Geneva and found the monster canvassing the same woods his brother was last seen, coming to the realization the monster was responsible for this brutal act. After a short trip to the mountains, the monster caught up to Frankenstein and ordered him to create a female monster from scratch for companionship. After agreeing, he fled to England to start and scrapped the project midway, citing the possibility of further disarray. Knowing his days were numbered after Henry Clerval’s murder, he hastily married his cousin Elizabeth only to find his new wife killed by the monster later.
After paying a visit to the cemetery to meet with his fallen family members, Victor realizes that his life’s goal from that point forward was to hunt down the monster and kill him. Prior, Victor already determines his fate and goes ahead with his wedding day, knowing the monster would catch up to him. Now, he sought to kill the monster to save humanity from his menace. Victor chases after him throughout Europe and the North Pole, where he temporarily loses track of the monster through a ----- in the ice where he also meets Robert Walton and his crew. Ambitious, Victor gives a thorough lecture on how chasing glory was his Achilles heel and the dangerous of being too ambitious, citing "tranquility" as one of life’s goals.
The story ends with Victor’s death a while later and the monster’s cries for forgiveness. After a short contemplation by Robert Walton, who promised to kill him if offered the chance, the monster convinced him otherwise - disappearing back North to be never seen again.
Main Character list
Robert Walton - the official chronicler of "Frankenstein", with the story told in a series of letter exchanges to his sister Margaret. He travels to the North Pole to find a Arctic passage to connect both Atlantic and Pacific Oceans when he meets a man named Victor Frankenstein whom he finds sick in the ice along with a dog sled. Citing Walton’s own personal ambition in "conquering" the North Pole, Victor Frankenstein tells him his own story of ambition gone bad.
"The Monster" Frankenstein - the product of an experiment gone awry. Assembled out of spare human parts by Victor Frankenstein, he turns out to become so hideous - albeit with a gentle heart upon childhood. His outlook on life turns sour with repeated failed encounters with humans where he sought friendship and acceptance. After a rejection from a small family living in a cottage, "monster" Frankenstein blows up and seeks revenge against his creator by going on a killing spree and demanding a female companion.
Victor Frankenstein - Born to a rich family, Victor Frankenstein started out childhood with an avid interest in how life is formed. As a college student, he rummages for spare parts and uses them to manufacture a hideous being with no second thoughts on murder. The monster goes on to kill Victor’s loved ones as retaliation for his cruel circumstances.
Henry Clerval - Victor Frankenstein’s best friend; murdered by monster Frankenstein in retaliation to Victor’s unfulfilled promise of creating a female companion for him.
Elizabeth Lavenza - Victor Frankenstein’s cousin turned wife; killed by monster Frankenstein in response to Victor’s unfulfilled promise of creating a female companion for him.
Victor Frankenstein becomes acquainted with Robert Walton and discusses his family tale detailing his father, Alphonse, who rescued Victor’s mother Caroline from poverty after finding her father dead in her home. He takes her to Geneva, Switzerland where they get married and travel throughout Italy when they conceive their first child, Victor. It is here where Caroline meets a young peasant girl whom she adopts. Victor starts to develop feelings for her from the get-go.
Victor Frankenstein continues to discuss his childhood with the birth of two more brothers along with his growing friendship to Elizabeth. During his childhood years, Victor takes interest in several antiquated theories that addressed the creation of life. After witnessing a tree being obliterated by lightning, he investigates electricity further and discovers that it could be used to "breathe life" into non living objects.
Victor’s college life begins to head into turmoil with his departure to Ingolstadt College. As he is packing, Elizabeth contracts scarlet fever and finds an ailing mother on her deathbed who expresses her wishes to have them both marry. After a few days, Victor sets off for Ingolstadt alone after a plan to go with best friend Henry goes awry. Once there, he meets a chemistry professor named Waldman who introduces him to the study of human creation and the use of electricity to bring inanimate objects to life.
Victor Frankenstein continues to study multiple subjects to solve creation of life questions. Shortly after realizing Ingolstadt was too easy for him, he discovers the "spark" that creates life and constructs a man out of spare body parts from dead bodies. All letters to his family stop while he works for nearly a year. Although his health is in shambles, Frankenstein remains diligent and doesn’t stop until the entire body is finished.
Victor Frankenstein’s coveted product turns out as a foul beast. Although body parts are the right size and shape, the final result is a hideous brute that forces him to leave the lab and collapse in his room. Waking up again, the sight of the monster prompts Victor to flee into the city where he meets with his best friend Henry. Constant anxiety forces Victor to become bedridden under Henry’s care. Frankenstein keeps mumbling and rambling over his monstrous creation, though Henry thinks nothing of it and attributes it to paranoia and fevers. In letters to the Frankenstein family, Henry downplays his friend’s sickness which turns to steady recovery over time.
Elizabeth sends Victor a letter discussing a sick servant named Justine Moritz. She joined the Frankenstein household after being "rescued" by Victor’s mother from an abusive mother. Victor quelled fears of his supposed catastrophic health, assuring Elizabeth he was fine. Meanwhile, Victor continues to have flashbacks of the monster and avoids studying as a result. Before the end of the chapter, Victor and Henry return to Ingolstadt.