- Created by: Adam Kirkbride
- Created on: 29-06-17 13:57
Frankenstein Plot Summary
Robert Walton writes to his sister, Margaret, about his scientific voyage to the North Pole. He admits it is dangerous but wants the glory and knowledge. He is clearly influenced by Romanticism and The Enlightenment. He signs off with “Your affectionate brother”, showing a close relationship.
Walton has a ship and crew now but feels very lonely and outcast due to his Romanticism. He is self-educated and doesn’t like harshness (e.g. he chose his captain due to his fair morals). The weather seems to be delaying his voyage. He tells Margaret to remember him “with affection” if he dies on this trip.
Walton writes Margaret “a few lines in haste” to safe he is safe and busy. There is a lot of danger but he trusts his crew. He is certain of success (shown by a modal verb “shall”).
While Walton’s ship was trapped by ice they see a “gigantic” man on a sledge in the distance, exciting their curiosity. The morning after they find Victor on a sledge on the verge of death. They warm him up and take him into the cabin. His trauma is clear to see. Walton and Victor grow close. Victor finds out the “daemon” was seen on a sledge recently and keeps a look out for him. When Robert talks of his ambition Victor gets upset and later decides to tell Walton his story so he can “deduce an apt moral” from it. Walton is excited.
Victor’s narrative begins. Victor’s father Alphonse Frankenstein was a highly-respected man in Geneva. He met Victor’s mother, Caroline, when he rescued her from poverty. The two were married two years later. They travelled around, Victor being born in Naples. Victor had a happy childhood and was taught many virtues. When visiting houses of the poor (Caroline’s way of contributing to society) they took a shine to a young girl orphan. She adopts the child, Elizabeth Lavenza, and Victor looks on Elizabeth as his due to Caroline’s joke of saying Elizabeth is a “present” for him. They were very close.
Upon giving birth to a second child, Ernest, Caroline and Alphonse settle down in Geneva when Victor was seven. Victor was not a social child but grew attached to Henry Clerval. Victor wanted to learn the “secrets of Heaven and Earth” while Clerval was interested in literature and morality. Elizabeth supported them. All three were influenced by Romanticism, and Victor the Enlightenment. At 13 Victor becomes interested in physicist Agrippa. He wishes to rid disease from mankind and researches scientists who try to resurrect the dead. At 15 he sees lightning strike a tree and starts to research electricity and natural philosophy.
At 17 Alphonse suggests that Victor goes to study at Ingolstadt university. Before he leaves Elizabeth got scarlet fever. She recovered but Caroline caught it and died, expressing on her deathbed a wish for Victor and Elizabeth to marry. Victor is incredibly miserable, eventually…