In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, why does the creature kill Henry Clerval?

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hmassman eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Interesting question! In the book Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, Victor Frankenstein’s creature kills Clerval. Although Clerval never personally hurts or injures the creature before this incident (even though he does call the creature a “Hideous monster”), the creature believes that he must seek revenge against Victor’s for his wrongdoings. As a result, Clerval experiences the creature’s wrath.

In the story, Clerval is an innocent young man who is a close friend of Victor's. As a result, the creature murders Clerval to seek revenge for the pain that Victor causes the creature (such as the pain from being created and rejected by Victor). As the creature states:

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

Thus, once the creature discovers that young Clerval is related to his creator (they're friends), the creature murders Clerval. Although the creature does not initially plan on committing this murder, his desire for revenge incites this crime.

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