In Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, what crime is Victor accused of, and what piece of evidence is used to prove his innocence?

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In chapter 20, Victor and the creature argue over the creation of a female companion for the creature. While Victor originally agrees to the task, he begins having second thoughts and worries that she "she might become ten thousand times more malignant than her mate and delight, for its own sake, in murder and wretchedness." He therefore decides to destroy the work he has already accomplished toward the new creation, and the creature is furious. He vows revenge.

The first form of revenge comes in the form of his murder of Henry Clerval, who has been Victor's faithful friend.

Victor remains clueless regarding this murder as he dumps the female creature's remains into the sea, and when he heads back to shore, he finds a hostile reception. He is arrested for murder but still has no idea why.

When Victor sees the corpse of Henry Clerval (with the visible remnants of the creature's hand prints around his neck), he becomes so ill that he hovers near death. Mr. Kirwin collects sufficient witnesses for Victor's defense and proves that he was in a different location, Orkney Islands, when Henry's murder was committed, so Victor is released from prison.

Still, the creature's promise to be with Victor on his wedding night for failing to comply with his wishes foreshadows future retribution.

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After the creature has left, Victor departs from his cottage in order to take a walk where he determines to leave the village although he feels that anywhere else he will be in danger.  As he strolls along the beach, some fishermen pull up to shore in a small boat; they hand Victor a packet which contains letters from Geneva, as well as one from Henry, encouraging him to join his friend in Perth so they might turn southward together.  "This letter in a degree recalled me to life," Victor remarks; he determines to leave the island in two days.

But, before he departs, Victor must dispose of his work.  As he looks upon the mangled flesh, Victor feels as though he has killed a person, but he gathers his instruments and the flesh that lies promiscuously on the floor and places it in a basket weighted down with rocks.  In a boat with the basket and its hideous content, Victor take a boat out to dispose of his tools and the flesh.  Then, he looks out to sea, which he believes will be his grave.  After a time, a sudden swell creates large waves and Victor becomes ill.  Yet, he constructs another sail out of some of his clothes, and he eagerly heads for the shore where there is a neat, little town.  As he draws closer, Victor perceives that the villagers are huddled together in an odd posture.  Instead of being cordial, one man answers Victor's question as to why they have treated him with such wariness and coldness roughly.  Another man answers,  "I do not know," said the man, "what the custom of the English may be, but it is the custom of the Irish to hate villians. 

Victor is summarily arrested and taken off to Mr. Kirwin, the magistrate.  Then, Victor learns that his boat has been seen on the night of the muder of Henry Clerval.  In the presence of Henry, the agonized Victor exclaims, " Have my murderous machinations deprived you also, my dearest , also, Henry of life?"  Again, as when he has fashioned the female creatre, Henry feels sick with the consderation of what he has caused.  At times he asks his attendants for help in destroying the creature who torments him.  He passes out, and when he comes to, Victor finds himself locked up in prison for the murder of Henry Clerval. However, when the time of the trial comes, Victor is acquitted as there is evidence that he was on the Orkey Islands at the time of the murder.

 

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