Frankenstein Summary - Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Published on 28-Sep-2022

Frankenstein

Brief Summary

"Frankenstein" by the author, Mary Shelley, is often described as Gothic Horror infused with Science Fiction. The author explores the themes of 'nature' and 'family' in contrast to 'loss' and 'revenge' with the tragic life of Victor Frankenstein. Born and raised in Geneva, Victor Frankenstein creates a 'Monster' at the University of Ingolstadt to discover "the secret of life ."However, upon witnessing the Monster, Victor realizes his mistake of creating a being as "hideous" as his creation, which is incapable of forming a bond in society. Victor abandons the creature, which seals his fate of complete isolation and anguish onwards. The Monster struggles to get used to his environment and blames his 'creator' for the miserable existence before deciding to take revenge. Upon being denied a partner, the monster kills almost all of Victor's loved ones in a spiral of hate and spite, which leads the two characters to chase each other towards the northern sea, where the story begins.

Mary Shelley

Plot Summary

The book opens with a series of letters for Ms. Margaret Saville from Robert Walton. Walton, the captain of a ship bound for the northern sea, recounts the obstacles in his journey to his sister. Trapped in a sea filled with impassable ice, Walton encounters Victor Frankenstein on a dog sled chasing behind a huge figure on another sled. Victor drops by the ship out of sheer exhaustion and declining health which urges Walton to take him abroad and nurse him back to health. After receiving proper ministration from the crew, Victor speaks to Walton about his situation.

Victor first describes his early life in Geneva, where he spent his childhood blissfully in the company of Elizabeth Lavenza and Henry Clerval. Elizabeth was an intimate part of his life since she acted as both a friend and a mother figure in Victor's life after the passing of Caroline Frankenstein of hay fever. Victor then recounts his experience at Ingolstadt University, where he studied Philosophy and natural chemistry. After several years of research on the phenomenon of creation, Victor finally discovered "the secret of life," as described by Shelley.

Following right up, on one climatic night, Victor created a monster in the attic of his Boarding house from different body parts of several dug-up corpses sewed together. Using huge volts of electricity forced through the experiment's body, Victor brought his creation to life. However, after a close look at the creature, he was stunned, horrified by sight. After another sleepless night of fretting over his creation, Victor abandoned the Monster, and cowardly ran away.

The following day, Victor runs into Henry, who went to study at the same University as him. Henry took Victor back to his apartment and spent the whole month nursing Victor, who fell seriously ill. 

Around next spring, Victor decides to return to Geneva with better health, but just before leaving Ingolstadt, he hears the news of William's death. Victor Frankenstein quickly rushes back home to his grieving loved ones, while on his was a glimpse of the Monster from afar. He convinces himself that the Monster killed his little brother. Still, upon reaching Geneva, he discovers that Justine Mortiz, the kind maid, was being executed for the murder of William Frankenstein.

Victor felt immense guilt and was responsible for the death of two of his loved ones because of a Monster he had created. In hopes of easing his grief, Victor then takes a vacation in the mountains. While alone at the glacier, the monster approached him and admitted having murdered William and framed Justine by slipping the little boy's locket into her pocket. The Monster then excuses his crimes by blaming his blind rage and Victor for abandoning him after his creation.

The Monster told Victor how he was driven off and chased away by the commoners because of his 'hideous' looks. He admits to finding shelter in the shade, built up against the side of a small cottage. From the crack through the wall, he monitored a happy family who lived there named the Delaceys. He observed how much they loved each other and craved a family of his own. He learned two languages by listening to them speak in French and even learned English about European culture and the history of human society. He later read papers he found in Frankenstein's court that he stole from the attic and discovered how he was created.

The monster wanted to be friends with the family, so he opted to approach the blind father alone since he wouldn't judge him based on his looks before hearing him out first. The conversation between the blind man and the monster flowed smoothly until the others came back and drove the Monster away with a stick out of fear and disgust. Feeling dejected, the creature decided to declare war against humanity, but after some time, his anger dissipated, and he decided against it. The following day he conjured up the courage to approach the Delaceys again but was completely heartbroken when he found the cottage empty. Acting out of anger and rejection, the Monster burned the cottage down and began his journey to Geneva.

On his way, he tried to save a girl from drowning in a pond but was shot instead in speculation of attempting to murder her.

Back on the mountain, the Monster insists Frankenstein on creating a female partner as hideous as him with whom he could run away to South America, or he will kill more people. Frankenstein eventually agrees and rents a cottage in a remote area in Scotland to create another Creature. However, Victor realizes the possible offsprings from the two Monsters and destroys the female body.

The Monster was furious that Frankenstein broke his promise and sore from being there on his "wedding night ."Frankenstein gathered the female parts and dumped them in the water by taking a boat to the middle of the water body and then fell asleep on the boat. When he woke up the following day, he found himself in Ireland and was being arrested for a murder that had happened last night. He later finds out that he was being arrested for the murder of Henry Clerval, his childhood best friend, with the Monster's finger marks around his neck.

He proved himself innocent in the Ireland court but fell sick again because he was upset. After returning to Geneva, he married Elizabeth. He waits around with a gun as he thinks the Monster will attempt to kill him on his wedding night, but the Monster kills Elizabeth instead. His father died soon after due to grief, and Victor was left all alone, much like the Monster. He devotes his life to Killing the Monster and reaches the northern sea on a dog sled, where he finds Walton.

The rest of the story is conveyed through another set of letters. Victor was already seriously ill when they met; his condition worsened, and he died soon after telling his story. To Walton's surprise, he finds the Monster weeping over Victor's body after a few days after his death. The Monster confesses his solitude, suffering, and remorse over his "creator's fate ." He asserts that he should cease to exist after his creator's death. Walton ends up canceling the voyage he was determined to overtake and return home to his sister. Frankenstein's story taught him the cruel consequences of humans trying to live out of their habitat or, in this case, 'Play God.' 

 

 

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