Frankenstein Questions and Answers
by Mary Shelley

Frankenstein book cover
Start Your Free Trial

In Frankenstein, is Victor arrested for murdering Clerval?

Expert Answers info

Lorna Stowers eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2011

write4,625 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and History

Victor Frankenstein, the protagonist in Mary Shelley's Gothic-Romantic novel Frankenstein, finds himself charged with the murder of his best friend Henry Clerval. In chapter 22 of the novel, Victor has been brought to the magistrate (Mr. Kirwin) to face charges of murder. Upon seeing the body of the deceased, and recognizing the man as his best friend, Victor succumbs to a fever.

But I was doomed to live; and, in two months, found myself as awaking from a dream, in a prison, stretched on a wretched bed, surrounded by gaolers, turnkeys, bolts, and all the miserable apparatus of a dungeon.

During his fever, Victor ranted numerous times about his responsibility for the death of not only Clerval but William (his brother) and Justine (a girl his mother, Caroline, had brought to live with the family as a privileged servant). Worried for Victor, Mr. Kirwin contacts Victor's father, Alphonse. After three months in prison, and Alphonse's arrival, Victor is released from prison.

The grand jury rejected the bill on its being proved that I was on the Orkney Islands at the hour the body of my friend was found; and a fortnight after my removal I was liberated from prison.

Therefore, although Victor is originally thought to be the one responsible for Clerval's death, he is cleared of all charges.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial