In Frankenstein, how does the creature cause the deaths of William and Justine?

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sampiper22 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The creature's first murder is that of William. In the creature's own words from Chapter 16, he was sleeping in the woods when William, a "beautiful" child came upon him and he was seized with the intention that he should "educate him as my companion and friend". Unfortunately William screamed when he saw the creature's "form" and unwittingly revealed his father was Frankenstein. The creature then decided to kill William and "grasped his throat to silence him, and in a moment he lay dead at my feet". The decision to make William his first victim is very deliberate and calculated.

When dead, the creature noticed a locket around William's throat which he took. Planting the locket on Justine as she herself slept, the creature framed Justine for William's murder. As a result she was duly executed.

The creature learns from the death of William that he can "create desolation; my enemy is not invulnerable; this death will carry despair to him, and a thousand other miseries shall torment and destroy him", therefore inspiring the creature to further crimes.

zumba96 | Student

The monster caused the death of William because as the child walked into the forest, the monster wanted to become friends, but the child spurned him and as soon as he understood that this child was related to Frankenstein, he committed the deed. This murder was then landed upon Justine because she in fact was the only person people believed murdered the child which also led to her death. This whole time Victor Frankenstein knew the girl was not guilty and multiple times even said that this is not her fault but no one believed him and thus there were two deaths caused.

shenkstergangster | Student

in chapter 16 the creature tells victor that he was the one who killed william. but that he didn't do it on purpose. He wanted to take william to raise him so that the creature would have someone to love him and someone to tell everyone that he is a good person, but his appearance isn't very appealing. Then William being frightened told the creature that he was related to the Frankenstein's and the creature quickly became upset the boy struggled and the creature grasped his throat and let him go to find that the boy fell dead at his feat.  The creature then looks around the boys neck to find a locket with a picture of elizabeth. He then takes it and puts it in justine's pocket while she's sleeping. He does this to frame her for william's murderer

bettykirkers | Student

As a result of his suffering, first with the De Lacey’s rejection and then after he is nearly shot following his rescue of a young girl, the Creature reveals a wrathful temperament:

“My daily vows rose for revenge – a deep and deadly revenge, such as would alone compensate for the outrages and anguish I had endured.”

The creature tries to talk to William because:

“This little creature was unprejudiced, and had lived too short a time to have imbibed a horror of deformity. If, therefore, I could seize him and educate him as my companion and friend, I should not be so desolate in this peopled earth.”  

Yet William struggles against the Creature, calling him an ‘ogre’ and urging his captor to let him go because he believes the Creature wishes to “eat me and tear me to pieces”. As he grows increasingly desperate, young William announces that his father is “a syndic – he is M. Frankenstein – he will punish you”. This sees the Creature fly into a mad rage and the Creature resolves that William will be his first victim:

“Frankenstein! you belong then to my enemy – to him towards whom I have sworn eternal revenge; you shall be my first victim.”

Entering a barn which he believes to be empty, the Creature comes across the sleeping figure of Justine. He notes her “loveliness of youth” and bitterly realises that her “joy-imparting smiles are bestowed on all but me”. Resentful of this, the Creature decides to frame Justine for the murder:

“Not I, but she, shall suffer; the murder I have committed because I am forever robbed of all that she could give me, she shall atone. The crime had its source in her: be hers the punishment!”

This leads to Justine’s death because the locket which the Creature leaves in her pocket, along with the fact that “she had been out the whole of the night the murder had been committed” seem to incriminate her. It is revealed that Justine confesses to the murder upon being pressed to by a churchman:

“He threatened and menaced until I almost began to think that I was the monster that he said I was.”

In this way, Justine fulfils the role of the weak female character, a typical feature of the Gothic genre. She is the victim of the Creature’s ‘mischief’ and by extension, Frankenstein’s ambition, as well as the clergyman’s persistence.

There is no doubt in the mind of the reader that Justine and William are innocent; it is this certainty which makes their untimely deaths so much harder to process and Frankenstein's transgression so devastating.    

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