What actually happens when the monster speaks to De Lacey in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein?

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literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Chapter XV (15) of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein tells of the creature's meeting with De Lacey. De Lacey, the father of Felix and Agatha (referred to as "old man"), is blind. After months of watching the family, the creature wishes to introduce himself to the family. Given his past experience with mankind, the creature finds this family very different. They are loving, comforting, and accepting (or so he believes). Thinking that he should first introduce himself to the patriarch, given his blindness will insure the creature is not judged upon his appearance, the creature times his visit after Felix and Agatha have left.

The creature enters into the cottage seeking rest. De Lacey warmly welcomes him. Asking of his history, De Lacey listens as the creature speaks of his quest to introduce himself to his "friends." De Lacey listens, reassuring the creature that all will be fine given that "the hearts of men, when unprejudiced by any obvious self-interest, are full of brotherly love and charity." 

As the creature continues to speak with De Lacey, the old man comes to find out that it is his family the creature wishes to befriend. Unfortunately, Felix and Agatha return home. As the creature grabs onto the old man for security, Felix attacks the creature and chases him from the cottage. Later, upon his return to the cottage, the creature comes to find out the De Lacey's are leaving given Felix believes that "the life of my father is in the greatest danger." Again, shunned by mankind, the creature goes on to find Victor and begin his revenge against him.

favoritethings eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As the creature speaks to DeLacey, he begins to hope that he might yet win over the old man's sympathies, but when Felix, Agatha, and Safie return to the cottage sooner than expected, the creature throws himself at DeLacey's feet, finally, desperately telling him that DeLacey and his family are actually the "friends" the creature has been describing.  Agatha and Safie faint, and Felix begins to beat the creature with a big stick.  It, of course, doesn't hurt him physically, but it kills him, emotionally speaking.  He runs away in despair.

However, a short while later, the creature decides to return and try again, because DeLacey had been receptive to him before the rest of the family returned home.  He hears Felix explaining to their landlord that they have no choice but to move away after what has happened.  After the family leaves the cottage, the creature still has no will to hurt anyone, but he does need to vent his pent up anger and pain, and so he burns the cottage to the ground.  At this point, he decides to make his way to Geneva to see if he can find Victor.  On his way, he saves a little girl from drowning, and a hunter shoots him anyway, believing that he means the child harm.  This seems to be the last straw for the creature, and when he reaches Geneva, he murders William, Victor's brother, and frames Justine, a family friend, for the murder.

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