FRANKENSTEIN

Volume 1

Chapter 2


Summary
  • Victor and Elizabeth get on well and Victor is interested in the 'hidden laws of nature'
  • brother is born (7 years younger)
  • Henry Clerval - extremely intelligent/intrigued by many things; writes poems/plays particularly on heroes - 'he was a boy of singular talent and fancy'
  • talks about childhood - heaven + earth - privileged (carefree childhood)
  • great interest in Cornelius Agrippa - ancient science (father advises studying new science) - Victor continues/entranced by it - self-taught
  • thunderstorm (Age 15) - 'curiosity and delight' - shows the magnificence of nature
Analysis
  • self-taught like Frankenstein --> child's vulnerability - fending for themselves
  • enjoys memories of childhood; creature will not - emphasising supportive structure --> neglect/isolation - Victor's irresponsibility
  • thunderstorm triggers Victor's interests - the wonders of the natural world + excitement to sudden fear/destruction - similar to awakening of creature - danger of light + the wonders of electricity (the way in which he sparks the creature to life - electricity animates)
  • Victor is similar to Prometheus; over-reacher
Key Quotes
  • 'diversity and contrast that subsisted in our characters drew us nearer together'
  • 'I feel exquisite pleasure in dwelling on the recollections of my childhood, before misfortune had tainted my mind'
  • 'I was left to struggle with a child's blindness, added to a student's thirst for knowledge'
  • 'the genius that has regulated my fate'

Chapter 3


Summary

  • age 17, Victor is prepared to leave for Geneva (University of Ingolstadt)
  • Elizabeth catches scarlet fever and passes it on to Caroline who passes away days later; her dying wish is that Victor and Elizabeth marry
  • Victor goes to the University of Ingolstadt + meets the professor of natural philosophy (Mr Krempe)
  • attends a lecture by Mr Waldman - inspires him to continue discovering the mysteries of creation
Analysis
  • putting interests ahead of general needs (order of priorities); Caroline putting self ahead of Elizabeth + Frankenstein becomes mad/exhausted producing the creature
  • disregarding advice; Caroline does not stop looking after Elizabeth despite warnings + Victor is told that Cornelius Agrippa is dangerous/different
  • 'from the midst of the darkness' - exhilarating/revelation; light can blind as well as illuminate - new interests/ideas but also new risks/dangers - can be dazzling (inability to see) - divinity
  • Beauty + Beast; Krempe - 'repulsive countenance', squat, 'gruff voice', criticised, intolerant + Waldman - 'an aspect expressive of the greatest benevolence', idealised; sweet, musical voice, favourable

Key Quotes

  • 'an omen, as it were, of my future misery'
  • 'I closed not my eyes that night'
  • 'thus ended a day memorable to me: it decided my future destiny'

Chapter 4


Summary
  • Victor devotes himself to his studies - doesn't visit family for 2 years
  • begins to create frame of a man out of pieces of corpses; hopes one day to bring the dead to life - destroys graves/tortures living animals
  • Victor's obsession isolates him - he becomes mentally + physically ill
  • Victor's father writes to express his concern at the lack of communication (Victor says the issue was that he rejected domestic life)
Analysis
  • ironic that the creature is labelled as a 'monster' but Victor is the one horrifically tearing up nature
  • isolation; Victor trapped in own interest/enslaved - alienated from outer world (similar to how creature is isolated from normal life); aware of deliriousness
  • paternity - Victor later isolates himself from the creature like he isolates himself from his father
  • 'bless me as its creature and source' - ironic (creature is in despair that he has been created; unwanted + unloved
  • guilt/paranoia - shameful/unnatural obsession - anxious, oppressed, nervous - crime against God and nature
  • light and dark; light illuminates/enlightens BUT dark; death/corruption
Key Quotes
  • 'happy and excellent natures would owe their being to me'
  • 'workshop of filthy creation'

Chapter 5


Summary
  • Victor brings creature to life; horrified and disgusted - creature appears ugly and unnatural
  • Victor rushes to bedchamber and falls asleep - dreams of Elizabeth, as he kisses her, she turns into the corpse of his dead mother
  • awakens and sees the creature stretching out his hand at him - Victor runs away
  • next day, encounters Henry Clerval (has come to the university to study) - Clerval sees that Victor is ill and nurses him through his fever
  • Victor receives letter from Elizabeth

Analysis

  • inescapable; Frankenstein cannot escape fear of encountering creature + creature cannot escape hideousness
  • unawareness/neglect - lack of empathy and care for 'child'/Victor's distance to it
  • separation - between Victor + creature and between Victor and father; does not seek to find him
  • excitement/hope is dangerous
  • 'I held the corpse of my dead mother in my arms' - unnecessary role as mother + dreams are buried -> repressive - socially unacceptable; morals within society -> internal parent
  • sexuality frightens Victor --> death - kisses Elizabeth (other means of procreation) - unconscious incestuous desires
  • Victor's hatred of death; 'grave-worms crawling' - divisions between the self and the 'other'
  • 'one hand was stretched out' - pathos; Victor misinterprets creature's affection - leads to cruel treatment of creature (by Victor) vs. kind/loving treatment of Victor (by Clerval)
  • 'convulsed limbs' - Victor's double - concludes nature of crime
  • 'the demoniacal corpse to which I had so miserably given life' - importance of physical beauty + Victor's assumptions about the connection between appearances + inner worth
  • pathetic fallacy; 'It was on a dreary night of November' - setting scene for catastrophe + linking to the monster 'by the dim and yellow light of the moon'
  • supernatural = disturbed psychological states: 'I thought I saw the dreaded spectre glide into the room'

Chapter 6


Summary

  • Victor receives letter from Elizabeth + she tells the story of how Justine Moritz came to be a servant in the Frankenstein household
  • Victor describes his convalescence (cannot bear to think of scientific studies)
  • Victor + Clerval go on a walking tour of the countryside around Ingolstadt and Victor begins to regain a sense of happiness + peace
Analysis
  • contrast between Justine's background + the Frankenstein lifestyle - different perspective on family life
  • BUT she is another passive + idealised woman; mirroring/duplication between Justine, Caroline + Elizabeth
  • therapeutic nature - happiness is 'restored' - 'sensations' --> echoed by monster V2 Ch.4 (p.118)
  • irony that Victor turns to nature when actions are so unnatural - specifically 'inanimate nature' - shortly becomes a 'happy creature' with 'no sorrow or care'

Chapter 7


Summary
  • Victor receives a letter from his father; his younger brother has been murdered
  • Victor begins to journey home + visits the place where William has been killed; he catches a glimpse of the monster and is convinced the monster is the murderer
  • Victor returns home to discover Justine has been accused of the crime - he meets Elizabeth who expresses hope he will prove Justine's innocence

Analysis

  • idea of Victor's double; darker side/repressive self - 'calm and heavenly scene' + 'lovely' lake vs. 'dark mountains' and a 'vast and dim scene of evil' - sense of gloom near home
  • Victor's anxiety of returning home prioritises rack of grief - 'irresistible accusation'
  • lightning literally reveals the figure of the monster BUT metaphorically illuminates the darker side of Victor - pathetic fallacy links with Gothic nature; Victor's other self - a guilt-ridden murderer
  • Victor labels the creature as the 'other' - immediately blamed as 'the filthy daemon', the 'devil' and the 'animal' - fixing a boundary between the human and the demonic/animalistic - assumptions - humans create monsters

Chapter 8


Summary
  • Victor reports on the trial of Justine + the evidence against her APPEARS strong/circumstantial; the picture of Caroline stolen from William has been found in her pocket
  • Elizabeth speaks in her defence at the trial + the court is moved by her speech but only to admire her loyalty; Justine now appears more ungrateful
  • Justine condemned to death - confesses
Analysis
  • the true horror lies within (not in external forces) - our own darker desires; Victor sees himself as guilty: 'I bore a hell within me' - later echoed by creature burning down De Lacey home - both act as the devil
  • excess of Victor's egotism + self-absorption revealed in describing his own anguish: 'the tortures of the accused did not equal mine' and 'I cannot pretend to describe how I then felt' - describing inner experience - Gothic
  • power of language: Elizabeth begs 'I will melt the stony hearts of your enemies by my tears and prayers' and Justine says how her persuasion is pointless + this reflects the horror and cruelty of the male-dominated world: 'he threatened and menaced, until I almost began to think I was the monster that he said I was'
  • satanic protagonists produced in both Victor and the creature - often viewed with little sympathy