Frankenstein Study Guide

Frankenstein

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Frankenstein is presented as a frame tale, told by Captain Walton while on an expedition to the North Pole, where he finds Frankenstein. Frankenstein is a scientist who created a monstrous human-like Creature. The Creature tried to explain his murders to Frankenstein, claiming that people rejected and feared him, begging Frankenstein to make him a mate. Frankenstein first agrees then destroys the mate. The enraged Creature kills Frankenstein's wife, fleeing to the North Pole. After Frankenstein dies, Walton sees the Creature mourning as he floats away on a raft.

Brief Summary

After being beaten and chased out of the cottage, the monster was filled with thoughts of revenge and sheer hatred. His sense of loneliness had been heightened even more and he felt horribly desolate. He entertained destructive thoughts. He decided to always "wage war" on the human race, and most of all on his creator, Victor.

The monster learned that the DeLaceys were never going to return to the cottage, and he was renewed with rage. His only connection to the outside world had been broken. Then he set fire to the cottage The monster headed for the Geneva in search of Victor.

One day, the monster quickly saved a young girl from drowning. A man snatched the little girl from the monster and when then shot the monster. Several weeks later the monster reached Geneva and encountered a little boy (William) playing outside. He learned that the boy was a Frankenstein and he strangled him. Finding a young woman (Justine) sleeping in some straw, the monster planted the locket that had been around William's neck in Justine's pocket.

At this point the monster demanded that Victor create a female companion for him.

Detailed Summary

After being beaten and chased out of the cottage, the monster was filled with thoughts of revenge and sheer hatred. He cursed Victor, and thought about destroying the cottage and the family. His sense of loneliness had been heightened even more and he felt horribly desolate. Even within nature he was alone, with no creature to sympathize with his pain. He entertained destructive thoughts. He decided to always "wage war" on the human race, and most of all on his creator.

Night passed and in the morning the monster felt calmer. He decided he had thought rashly and had jumped too quickly to conclusions the day before. He thought he could return to the cottage and try again to converse with the old man. He felt better with that plan, and he fell asleep.

The monster dreamt heavily and woke up not feeling refreshed. He walked towards the cottage but noticed the inside was dark and there was no movement. The cottagers never appeared. Finally, two Germans passed by the cottage, and soon after Felix arrived with a stranger. He told the stranger that he and his family could never live in the cottage again. His wife (Safie) and sister (Agatha) were horribly shaken by the incident and would never recover. Felix wished to leave the cottage forever. He and the stranger left and that was the last time the monster saw any of the DeLaceys.

The monster was shocked and dismayed. His only connection to the outside world had been broken, and once again he was filled with anger. He thought about injury and murder, and since there were no people around, he took out his rage on inanimate objects. With an increasing sense of insanity, the monster collected flammable materials and set them around the cottage. He lit a branch and danced as night fell. Then he set fire to the materials and the wind quickly fed the fire so that the cottage was engulfed in flame. The monster headed for the woods.

He remembered Victor from the journal he had found and began a journey towards Geneva. Along the way his hatred towards Victor boiled and he often cursed his "heartless" creator. He wished to find Victor and gain justice by hurting him.

The monster's travels were difficult and the weather turned cold. The gentleness in the monster's nature hardened into bitterness. He reached Switzerland and the weather was almost pleasant. He felt warmer than usual and his anger calmed for a while. He enjoyed the sun. Suddenly, a young girl came running by, laughing, and she slipped and fell into a rushing stream of water. The monster quickly ran to her aid, and saved her from drowning. He pulled her to shore and attempted to revive her. A man saw the monster and the little girl and pulled the girl from the monster's arms.

Carrying her, he ran into the woods and the monster followed. The man pulled out a gun and shot the monster in the shoulder. Enraged at the way in which the man had reacted to his good deed, the monster writhed in physical and emotional agony. Over the next few weeks, the monster attempted to recover as best he could, though he didn't know how to help his wound heal. The pain of the gun shot injury was made worse by the severe ingratitude of the person who shot him. He vowed revenge every day.

The monster continued his journey and reached Geneva one evening. He rested and was awakened by a beautiful young boy (William) running near him. The monster was struck by the idea that he could kidnap the boy, who he assumed would be innocently unprejudiced to his gruesome appearance, and make the boy his companion.

He grabbed the boy as he passed, but the boy screamed and struggled to get free, calling the monster ugly and a vicious ogre. He said that his father, M. Frankenstein, would punish him if he tried to take him away. Hearing the Frankenstein name, the monster was filled with rage and called the boy his enemy. The boy struggled more and the monster seized his throat to quiet him. Soon, the boy was dead.

Looking at his victim, the monster felt triumphant and sickly happy. He knew then that he had power, just like Victor did, to make someone feel devastated. He saw something sparkling in the boy's pocket and taking it, found that it was a locket with a picture of a beautiful woman. He was taken with her beauty momentarily, and then realized with contempt that no woman would ever love him.

The monster again started wandering and came across a young woman (Justine) sleeping in straw. Again he thought about how removed from female affection he would always be, and, remembering how Felix would cause mischief, he placed the locket in the young woman's pocket. She stirred in her sleep and he ran away.

Having brought Victor up to speed, the monster insisted that Victor remain with him until he promised to agree to his demands. He wanted Victor to create a second being a female monster so hideous that her only option for a mate would be himself.

Analysis

This chapter marks a significant turning point for the monster. Up until this chapter, the monster was somewhat emotionally immature, trusting and loving the cottagers unconditionally based on what he observed of them. He believed human nature was so good that the cottagers would eventually love him back despite his appearance because he could win their affection. The cottagers brutally prove that theory wrong, and the monster is extremely hurt and outraged.

He has a tantrum and then calms down and rests. When the night passes, the monster is able to think more clearly and decides he was being rash before. He decides to try again with the DeLaceys. Here the monster exhibits his ability to think rationally, in an adult-like manner. Soon, however, he learns that the DeLaceys are leaving for good and his hatred and anger return.

The monster's innocence has been lost after the incident with the DeLacey family. He painfully morphs from hopeful child to hateful adult (or adolescent) over the course of the two days or so when the stable comforting influence in his life is removed from him. As it happened first with Victor, the monster is once again abandoned. Because of this burning anger, the monster lights a tree branch and dances with it before burning down the cottage. In these moments, when the monster is out for destruction, he becomes increasingly devilish, supporting his claim that instead of Victor's "Adam," he is in fact the fallen angel Lucifer.

When he saves the little girl from drowning, he is again mistaken for a wrongdoer and punished for his appearance, despite his excellent action. In a way, the monster goes on to murder William and later others simply because it is what everyone assumes he should do. Because he has been treated like a monster, he becomes one. The murder of William contrasts in a sadly ironic way to Victor's lofty claims when he created the monster. He believed his creation would revere and adore him, obediently and lovingly doing his will. Instead, his creation is determined to kill Victor's loved ones and hurt him in any way possible.

The monster's story has been heartbreakingly miserable, and he is so pitiable at this point that even the murder of William doesn't seem all that hateful a crime. His demand for a female mate, and one as hideous as he, even sounds reasonable.

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