Frankenstein Questions and Answers
by Mary Shelley

Frankenstein book cover
Start Your Free Trial

How did the DeLacey family fall into their wretched state?   Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Expert Answers info

mwestwood eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2006

write16,150 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

In one of the chapters in which the reader learns the paradox of the "monster," as remarked upon by the renowned critic Harold Bloom, the creature exhibits more human qualities than his creator.  In Volume 2, chapter 6 (14), the creature relates what has occurred in his life since the night on which Victor has rejected him:

The cottage in the woods where the creature has found refuge contains a most benevolent and loving family, the DeLaceys.  They are destitute and without friends, it seems.  But one day, a beautiful Arabian woman, name Safie, rides up and Felix greets her with much delight.  From listening to her and the family in the cottage, the creature learned "the history of [his] friends."  The father of Safie has caused the ruin of a aristocratic French family.  A Turkish merchant, Safie's father lived in Paris for years, but he fell into much disfavor with the government of Paris, and was subsequently arrested and put into prison on the day that his daughter Safie escaped from Turkey and arrived in Paris.  He was unjustly condemned to death because of his religion and wealth.  Felix, who was in the courtroom when the sentence was passed, vowed to help the unfortunate Mahometan, considering how to break him out of the prison where the Turk awaited his execution.  As reward, Mahometan promises Felix his daughter's hand in marriage, but Felix does not accept; he only hopes that Safie will desire him.

The Turkish merchant escaped the night before he was to be executed with passports which Felix had procured for him; he and his daughter went to an obscure part of Paris, where he waited for an opportune time to return to Turkey.  Meanwhile the plot of Felix was discovered, and his father and his sister were thrown into prison.  Felix turned himself in with the hope that DeLacey and Agatha would be released.  However, they are remained imprisoned for five months.  The trial cost them their fortune, and "condemned them to a perpetual exile from their native country."

In Germany, where the creature has discovered their cottage, the DeLaceys found "a miserable asylum."  When the treacherous Turk learned that the DeLaceys lost their position and fortune, he betrayed them and left Italy with his daughter.  He sent Felix a "pittance" of money, supposedly to aid him in his future plans. However, despite his orders to Safie to never see Felix again, she was abhorrent of returning to Turkey since her mother had virtually been enslaved there.  She escapes and comes to the DeLacey cottage.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial