Introduction

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A classic novel, Frankenstein delivers the perfect Gothic scenario and displays melodrama to it’s finest potential. When man plays God’s role and creates life but relinquishes his creation in man’s world, peace and order is disrupted beyond reparation. The creation is set loose and roams around the realm of men wreaking havoc as it goes. This is a tale of a man’s perilous journey to destroy what he created and restore balance and harmony to the universe. Morality and ethics are questioned throughout the novel sparking deep reflection from the reader. Truly a classic tale that will affect generations to come!

Frankenstein: Plot/Storyline Ch. 1-10

Captain R. Walton is on a journey in the Arctic Circle attempting to discover a passage in the North Pole. As he journeys with his crew, a figure is seen sledding in the area. This unknown creature is of massive stature and demeanour. Soon after, a man arrives in his own sled looking for this creature. The story continues with letters from Walton to his sister, Margaret, concerning his adventures and encounter with this mysterious man. Walton is glad to have met this man, who he soon finds out is Dr. Victor Frankenstein, because Victor is a man with a high intellect, a man who Walton can relate to.Victor begins to retell his own story, which leads to an explanation of his presence in the Arctic Circle. Victor's story begins with his childhood and his sister Elizabeth. He continues with a recollection of his upbringing and his parent's effect on his life. When he is at the age of 17 his mother dies and he enters the university at Ingolstadt. In the university, he meets the professor/lecturer, Dr. Waldman, who teaches him about the real sciences and contradicts his self-taught lessons on natural philosophies and sciences. Dr. Waldman taught him that alchemy was no longer relevant in society in that time period. "The ancient masters promised impossibilities and produced nothing." This was the cause for his temptations to create life and try to do what alchemists did. He started to do his simple class experiments. It didn't take long for him to lose interest in them.He then proposed the idea to Dr. Waldman to try to give life to inanimate bodies, which Dr. Waldman, and his students, thought was absurd. Frankenstein retired from his schoolwork to try and accomplish his goal of giving life to inanimate bodies.To start his experiment, Dr. Frankenstein would retrieve bodies from graveyards and from the gallows to piece together the perfect body for his experiment. When the body was completed, he harnessed the power of nature to help him give life to his creation. "With an anxiety that almost amounted to agony, collected the instruments of life around me, that I might infuse a spark of being into the lifeless thing that lay at my feet." Dr. Frankenstein's experiment was a success. Life rejuvenated the body as its eyes opened and its limbs started to move. As the doctor watched his creation come to life, he thought of all the disbelievers and how he had proved them wrong. His desire to create life had been short lived, for when the monster was begat upon his laboratory table, the flame of will within him had been extinguished.Since his experiment was a success and his toils were over, he felt that it would be appropriate to celebrate with his friend, Henry Clerval. Night fell upon the land as Clerval appeared at Dr. Frankenstein's humble abode. Once they realized that the rum was gone, the doctor ran to his chamber to fetch another bottle. Much to his dismay, he looked upon the table, which was once the cage of his creation, the monster, to be empty. For Dr. Frankenstein, just the thought of a creature of that stature roaming the realm of man made him cringe in fear. Weakened by months of labour, he falls ill. He remains ill for many moons as Henry Clerval attempted to nurse him back to full health. Once the doctor's health was replenished, Clerval delivered a message to him from Elizabeth. The letter expressed concern regarding his illness and also informed him of the return of Justine Moritz’s return to their household.Victor returns to his university with Clerval and introduces Clerval to the professors. However, returning to the university was not a good choice because it made Victor sick with the thought of his creation. He decides to return to Geneva but while waiting for a letter from his father, he goes on a nature tour in the country with Clerval to soothe his spirits with the sublime.While on his nature tour, he receives the letter from his father saying his youngest brother William has been brutally murdered. Victor returns to Geneva but must spend the night out of the town because in those days towns would keep their gate open until a certain time and then no one could enter or exit. While he spent the night outside, he went to the area where the authorities had discovered the cadaver of his brother and he witnessed a sight to horrid for his eyes. His monster was seen lingering around the area. This led him to a conclusion that the monster had been responsible for the death of William. However, the next day, upon entering his household, he discovered that Justine was the one accused of the murder because they had found evidence on her. He tries to defend her but the evidence against her is much too strong. She confesses to the public but tells Elizabeth and Victor that she is innocent and miserable. She is executed and Victor is left with a feeling of guilt. After her execution, Victor is depressed and considers death as an option to get away from his troubles but remembers his family and stays with them, journeying to their home in Belrive where he again retreats to the sublime. While in Belrive, Victor travels up a mountain in the hopes that the view from there will soothe him more. Regrettably, he encounters the fiend there and tries to attack him but the demon stops him and asks Victor to join him in an ice cave. This is the beginning of the monster’s tale and journey.

Frankenstein: Plot/Storyline Ch. 11-25

The monster begins by explaining to Victor his confusion after his creation and his escape from the lab. He begins to learn many things about feelings and sensations (with a specific story about fire). He looks for food, but he scares humans with his looks and decides to stay away from any humans. He takes up refuge near a cottage and spies on the household members through a crack in the wall. The occupants of the house are a young man, a young woman, and an old man. He notices they are sad and discovers it is because of their poverty, which the creature had added to by stealing their food. With a guilty conscience, the ogre discontinues his actions and instead helps the family by finding firewood for them. He then notices that the family communicates to each other using some form of sounds. He learns the language and the names of the young man and young woman are Felix and Agatha. He sees his reflection in water and is shocked by his hideousness and spends the winter near the cottage.Winter soon passes and a woman named Safie arrives at the house of Felix and immediately the mood around the cottage lightens. He learns English as Safie learns (because she does not know the language herself). Frankenstein learns the language perfectly and listens to their conversations, which lead him to ask himself questions. “Was I then a monster, a blot upon the earth, from which all men fled, and whom all men disowned?”He tells Victor: “I cannot describe to you the agony that these reflections inflicted upon me: I tried to dispel them, but sorrow only increased with knowledge. Oh, that I had forever remained in my native wood, nor known nor felt beyond the sensations of hunger, thirst, and heat!” Nevertheless, the monster continues with his tale and retells the history of the family. The De Lacey family was a rather affluent family that was well respected. However, Felix was helping Safie’s father, a Turk who was falsely accused of a crime. On the other hand, Safie was also in trouble for she was of Arab descent and that meant she could become a slave. Felix helps her father escape but the cost is dire. His whole family is stripped of their honour and their wealth and are exiled from France. They moved to Germany.The monster finds a bag of books and reads them all. They are fictitious books but he reads them as if they are real and compares the situation in the book to his own. He is deeply saddened by his isolation and decides to befriend the De Lacey family. They do not accept him and he is driven off, far away from their house. After this incident, the monster swears revenge on all humans.As he journey’s he finds a girl drowning in a lake and saves her. The man with her thinks the monster attacked her and shoots him. He crosses paths with William and as soon as he finds out William is a Frankenstein he strangles him to death. He steals the boy’s locket containing the picture of Caroline Frankenstein and puts it in the dress of Justine, which explains the evidence. He then demands the Doctor to make him a female counterpart. Victor travels to England and Scotland to acquire information. Victor does not want to create this new monster. But under pressure he does. Before he has completed his task, he destroys it in fear of generations of monster terrorizing the human race. The original monster is enraged and vows to be with him on his wedding night. Clerval is murdered and Victor is asked to explain. He is sent to prison where he falls ill for two months. When he is healed, his father comes to retrieve him.Victor returns to Geneva and is married to Elizabeth but on the wedding night, the monster kills her and Victor begins a quest to destroy the monster. He chases the monster for many months and loses health and vigour. Soon Frankenstein meets Walton and is ill. He tells his story to Walton. Walton is sympathetic and amazed at the intellect of the Doctor. Frankenstein asks Walton to vow to destroy the monster if they ever cross paths. Frankenstein dies and Walton returns to England. On the ship, the monster is found lingering over Dr. Frankenstein’s body. The monster says he no longer has a purpose for his existence and therefore shall end his life. The monster departs into the darkness.

List of Major Characters

  • ELIZABETH LAVENZA FRANKENSTEIN: The sister, playmate and wife of Victor Frankenstein. She is an adopted child, she is acquired by Voctor's parents as a playmate for Victor and she later marries Victor. The monster murders her after her marriage.
  • ROBERT WALTON: Robert Walton is a seafarer of a boat that sails in the Artic. His letters to his sister open and close the book Frankenstein. Robert picks up Frankenstein of a piece of ice and nurtures him back to health. He then listens to Frankiensteins story, and records all this to his sister. When Frankenstein dies of natural causes, Robert is asked to live on a fulfill the quest of Frankenstein. To kill the monster that killed the Frankenstein family.
  • THE MONSTER: The product of Victor's ambitious experiment while he was studying in Ingolstad University. He is an enormous creature and a misfit in society. He is feared by all because of his appearance, and he learns to despise humankind. Although The Monster is intelligent and is able to hold a conversation using the english language, which later on helps him discover how he was brought into this world. His goal is to make his creator, Victor Frankenstein's life as miserable as possible until he can kill him.
  • VICTOR FRANKENSTEIN: The young scientist, around whose creation the story is based. He can be said to be an example, or role-model, for Robert Walton when he recountered his story to him. Victor Frankenstein was obssesed with ths science of Alchemy since he was a young boy. Later on in life, he created a huge body made from different body parts and brought it to life. When realising the trouble and damage this could do to society so he abandons all hope on The Monster and threw it into the wild. At first he thought that the monster would dissolve in nature, but soon found out that it is rather smart and it's sole mission in life is to make the cdreator, Victor Frankenstein's life miserable. This then starts Frankensteins life long quest to kil The Monster.

List of Minor Characters

  • HENRY CLERVAL: The son of a merchant and a dear friend of Victor's. Because of there life long friendship, Henry is always there for Victor when he needs help or care. Henry studied language at Ingolstadt University. He is often Victor's protector, and he becomes one of the victims of the "monster" during his campaign of venegance against Victor
  • JUSTINE MORITZ: During the story, Justine isd accused of Williams death unjustly, and is sentenced to death by hanging. Right until the very last moments of her life, Justine keeps her dignity and pride of knowing that she did not kill William and when dead becomes a martyr for the entire Frankenstein family. In the book we know that the Frankenstein hold the momeory of her life in high esteem.
  • MR. KIRWIN: Is an irish magistrate who unjustly accuses Victor for clerval's death. he believes the killer to be Victor because of Victor's reaction when he heres the news on how and when Clerval died. When looking upon Clervals dead body, Victor becomes extremely ill and Mr. Kirwin feels terribly sorry so he takes care of Victor until he is fully recovered.Although still feeling angry about his thoughts on Victor and Clerval, he retrieves a variety of evidence in favor of Victor which spares him a trial.
  • THE DE LACEY FAMILY: During the monster's mission of venegance against Victor, The Monster takes refuge in a little shed if a cottage in the forest, the cottage belonged to the DeLacey Family. While in his shelter, The Monster studied the family aswell as there attempts to teach the sons girlfriend how to speak english. With The Monster's observations, he became able to speak english fluently. One day while the family was out, The Monster went up to the blind Mr. DeLacey and started to speak to him, when the family returned they chasded The Monster off which only fueled his quest for venegeance.
  • WILLIAM FRANKENSTEIN: William is Victor's younger brother. When William lays eyes upon The Monster, he runs in fear of his life, but only the delays the inevitable in his death by The Monster. Justine Moritz, a family friend of the Frankensteins, is unjustly accused for the murder of William. When Victor heres news about it, he realises his deepest fears that The Monster was the murderer fater all, but is too late to return home and try and safe Justine. Justine is hung on the account of the murder of William Frankenstein.

Major Themes Found In Frankenstein

THE SUBLIME - The restorative power of nature. The characters in the novel would frequently retreat to nature, which was their sanctuary.

SOLITUDE - Dr. Frankenstein would isolate himself from society when studying. The monster itself was alone, being the only one of its kind.

INSANITY - Many can argue that Dr. Frankenstein was insane when he was researching and studying. His goal to give life to inanimate bodies was absurd, which is the reason why he could be labelled as insane.

SPIRITUAL LOSS - Through isolating himself from society and reserving himself solely to his research and studies, Dr. Frankenstein lost his spirit.

THE SUPERNATURAL - This is probably one of the most important themes to consider when reading gothic stories. The supernatural element in this novel is the monster.

UNCOVERING THE WORLD'S SECRETS - This element appears in what Dr. Frankenstein is trying to do through his research and studies.

"NATURAL PHILOSOPHY" VS. REAL SCIENCE - Two lessons that contradict each other. However, both lessons are themes in the novel because Dr. Frankenstein was influenced by both and he discovered a way to fuse both types of sciences. He created an automation with natural objects and infusing life into it with a form of nature, a great combination of the two sciences.

WANTING TO HELP MANKIND - Through his research, Dr. Frankenstein believed that he could help mankind. However, he was oblivious to the results and consequences of creating life and creating the monster.

THE DANGER OF KNOWLEDGE - Knowledge proved to be dangerous when Dr. Frankenstein used what he knew to create life. The consequences were dire when Dr. Frankenstein completed his experiment and he brought danger upon himself and mankind. It also seemed that, throughout the novel, the more the doctor knew, the less he could control it.

RESURRECTION - This element appears when Dr. Frankenstein infuses life into the inanimate body which becomes the monster. It can be discussed that Dr. Frankenstein could use what he discovered to resurrect his mother (and possibly other family members).

Reflection/Discussion Questions

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1. How and when does life begin?
2. Is it necessary for either Dr. Frankenstein or the monster (or both) to be destroyed in order to restore a balance in nature and society?
3. In what ways could Dr. Frankenstein's discoveries help mankind?
4. How would this situation be viewed in today's society? Would the reaction be the same or different?
5. How can we harness the knowledge that we have so that it is not self destructive and for the benefit of all mankind?
6. How far can we go in raising the dead without destroying the living?
7. Why is the sublime (the power of nature) so important to mankind?
8. If the monster has a mind and can speak and feel, does he have a soul? What is the origin of a soul?