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How many people die in the novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley?

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hiba83 | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 5, 2013 at 1:50 PM via iOS

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How many people die in the novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley?

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Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted September 5, 2013 at 7:40 PM (Answer #1)

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Six characters die in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. They are, in no particular order:

Victor Frankenstein - he dies on a ship, a lonely and bitter man (just like the monster he created).

Victor's wife, Elizabeth Lavenza - she is killed by the monster on her wedding night because Victor was not there to protect her.

Henry Clerval - Victor's long-time childhood friend, who wanted

to become one among those whose names are recorded in story as the gallant and adventurous benefactors of our species.

He is strangled by the monster when the creature is frustrated about losing his potential mate.

William Frankenstein - Victor's little brother (and not a very nice person) is also strangled by the monster, causing Victor to feel even more guilt for creating the monster.

Justine Moritz - she is the Frankensteins' family servant who is falsely accused of killing William.

She-monster - companion to the He-monster, or at least that was the plan until Victor destroyed her.

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Payal Khullar | College Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted November 19, 2014 at 6:15 PM (Answer #2)

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The novel mentions the death of ten people. They die in the following order:

The first one to die is Caroline Beaufort's father. After the death of her father, Caroline marries Victor's father.

Several months passed in this manner. Her father grew worse; her time was more entirely occupied in attending him; her means of subsistence decreased; and in the tenth month her father died in her arms, leaving her an orphan and a beggar. 

Elizabeth's mother dies while giving her birth. (In a variant of the novel, however, Victor Frankenstein’s father’s sister dies and her husband leaves Elizabeth in their custody).

Her mother was a German and had died on giving her birth… 

After that, Victor’s mother dies due to severe illness.

On the third day my mother sickened; her fever was accompanied by the most alarming symptoms, and the looks of her medical attendants prognosticated the worst event. On her deathbed the fortitude and benignity of this best of women did not desert her.

Victor’s younger brother William Frankenstein is killed accidentally by the monster.

"William is dead!—that sweet child, whose smiles delighted and warmed my heart, who was so gentle, yet so gay! Victor, he is murdered!

Justine Moritz, who is wrongly accused of murdering Victor's younger brother William, also dies, bearing all the injustice.

"When I reflect, my dear cousin," said she, "on the miserable death of Justine Moritz, I no longer see the world and its works as they before appeared to me.

Victor’s dearest friend Henry Clerval is also killed by the monster.

The examination, the presence of the magistrate and witnesses, passed like a dream from my memory when I saw the lifeless form of Henry Clerval stretched before me...

Victor kills the monster’s potential mate as he fears its creation will curse humanity forever.

As I looked on him, his countenance expressed the utmost extent of malice and treachery. I thought with a sensation of madness on my promise of creating another like to him, and trembling with passion, tore to pieces the thing on which I was engaged. The wretch saw me destroy the creature on whose future existence he depended for happiness, and with a howl of devilish despair and revenge, withdrew.

Elizabeth Lavenza, Victor’s dearest cousin, dies on her wedding night when the monster kills her to take revenge against Victor.

I escaped from them to the room where lay the body of Elizabeth, my love, my wife, so lately living, so dear, so worthy. She had been moved from the posture in which I had first beheld her, and now, as she lay, her head upon her arm and a handkerchief thrown across her face and neck, I might have supposed her asleep. I rushed towards her and embraced her with ardour, but the deadly languor and coldness of the limbs told me that what I now held in my arms had ceased to be the Elizabeth whom I had loved and cherished...

Victor Frankenstein sickens and dies on the ship.

His voice became fainter as he spoke, and at length, exhausted by his effort, he sank into silence. About half an hour afterwards he attempted again to speak but was unable; he pressed my hand feebly, and his eyes closed forever, while the irradiation of a gentle smile passed away from his lips...

It seems that the monster dies in the end too.

"But soon," he cried with sad and solemn enthusiasm, "I shall die, and what I now feel be no longer felt. Soon these burning miseries will be extinct. I shall ascend my funeral pile triumphantly and exult in the agony of the torturing flames. The light of that conflagration will fade away; my ashes will be swept into the sea by the winds. My spirit will sleep in peace, or if it thinks, it will not surely think thus. Farewell."

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