How does Victor characterize the interest and characters of Clerval, Elizabeth, and himself?

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scarletpimpernel eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Early in the novel, as Victor describes his childhood and young adulthood, he also provides characterization for Elizabeth and Henry Clerval.  Elizabeth does not understand Victor's hunger for science and discovery.  She is more of an Idealist.  She sees the good in others and maintains an optimistic view of humans and the world around her (until Justine's execution).

Henry is the true Romantic.  He enjoys reading romances of old featuring knights and damsels in distress.  When he does go to the university, he chooses to study language so that he can visit and work in exotic locations.  His manner of encouraging Victor is to commune with nature, another primary element of Romanticism.

Victor is, at first, a Meta-physicist.  He believes in the supernatural connection between this world and what cannot be seen.  As he develops, some of his beliefs weaken.  By the end of the novel, one could argue that Victor becomes somewhat of an Existentialist.  He is disillusioned with life and science and thinks of his imagination as a curse.  He is self-centered and feels like "a solitary figure adrift on the open-sea."

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