Frankenstein Questions and Answers
by Mary Shelley

Frankenstein book cover
Start Your Free Trial

What happens to Frankenstein and the creature at the end of the book? What are some differences and similarities between the creature and Frankenstein? 

Victor Frankenstein dies aboard Captain Walton’s ship. Upon Frankenstein's death, the creature declares that he will kill himself soon and jumps off the ship. Both characters are similar in that they exhibit dangerous, self-serving behavior, and they both die by the story’s end. But they differ in their motivations for their behavior, as Frankenstein wants to flee from his problems, while the creature wants revenge for having been created.

Expert Answers info

Linnea Archibald eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2016

write19 answers

starTop subjects are Literature and History

At the end of Frankenstein, Victor and the monster both come to death. Victor dies on Captain Walton's ship while running from the monster. Right before he dies, however, he has just agreed to go back to England after all that time, indicating that he has finally given up and perhaps will face his creation. But then he dies before that can happen. Then, Walton comes into the room where Victor's body is, and the monster is there, crying over him. Finally, after narrating a good deal of his own story to Walton, the creature says in the second to last paragraph of the book, 

"I shall die, and what I now feel be no longer felt. Soon these burning miseries will be extinct. I shall ascend my funeral pile triumphantly and exult in the agony of the torturing flames. The light of that conflagration will fade away; my ashes will be swept into the sea by the winds. My spirit will sleep in peace, or if it thinks, it will not surely think thus. Farewell." 

And then he jumps from the window and floats away on an iceberg, never to be seen again. 

Although Victor and the monster both die in the end of the book, Victor's tragedy was brought on by his own reckless and selfish actions in creating the monster, whereas the monster's was not. Additionally, although Victor does ultimately die far from the ones he loves—though most are dead by that point—he dies in the company of Walton, who understands him and cares for him as a friend. The monster, through no fault of his own, is entirely isolated. The only person he had in the world who could have cared for him was his creator and Victor's response to him was to view him as an "abortion" (the monster's own words). So, although their ultimate ends are similar, the reasons for their ends and the nature of their isolation are different. 

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

caitdexter | Student

At the end of the novel, the creature announces to Walton his intentions to kill himself after discovering that Victor Frankenstein died aboard the ship.

While both committed wrongs against one another, one difference between the two characters is the difference between these wrongs. Frankenstein, after creating a living being, abandons it to learn and “grow up” alone because he is repulsed by his own creation: “Unable to endure the aspect of the being I had created, I rushed out of the room…” His crime against the creature, primarily, is his abandonment and lack of fulfillment of the creature’s needs. The creature’s crimes against Frankenstein are intentional, a means to ensure that he suffers just as the creature has suffered. Upon learning Frankenstein’s brother’s identity, he says, “‘Frankenstein! you belong to my enemy – to him towards whom I have sworn eternal revenge; you shall be my first victim.’”

One similarity between Frankenstein and the creature is the way in which each of them becomes caught up in one pursuit and feels as if it is the only thing that matters. For Frankenstein, this is the creation of the creature, for he says to Walton in the telling of his story, “…I could not tear my thoughts from my employment, loathsome in itself, but which had taken an irresistible hold of my imagination.” Similarly, the creature says to Walton at the end of the novel, “The completion of my demoniacal design became an insatiable passion. And now it is ended; there is my last victim!” Neither character enjoys the tasks he feels compelled to complete, but both feel as if it is beyond their control.

jklwegman | Student

At the end of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, both Frankenstein and the creature die. Dr. Frankenstein "daily declined in health," dies while aboard Walton's ship, stuck in the icy abyss and after relaying his story of the creature and himself.

"Alas! the strength I relied on is gone; I feel that I shall soon die, and he, my enemy and persecutor, may still be in being. Think not, Walton, that in the last moments of my existence I feel that burning hatred, and ardent desire of revenge I once expressed; but I feel myself justified in desiring the death of my adversary."

Frankenstein once felt revenge, yet near the end of the story, he is accepting of his death. Soon afterward, the creature appears to Walton in Frankenstein's room. The creature "instigated by the wildest rage of some uncontrollable passion" turns toward Frankenstein's body and laments on his life.

The creature says after lamenting on the senses he has enjoyed, he says

"...I should have wept to die; now it is my only consolation. Polluted by crimes, and torn by the bitterest remorse, where can I find rest but in death?"

But soon," he cried, with sad and solemn enthusiasm, "I shall die, and what I now feel be no longer felt. Soon these burning miseries will be extinct. I shall ascend my funeral pile triumphantly, and exult in the agony of the torturing flames...My spirit will sleep in peace; or if it thinks, it will not surely think thus. Farwell."

And he jumps out the cabin window and floats away on an "ice-raft."

Frankenstein and the creature are similar because they both sought vengeance against one another, yet their motives for vengeance are different. In the end, Frankenstein wanted the creature dead because of all the murders his committed, and the monster that he became. And the creature wanted Frankenstein dead because he hated himself, and he hated Frankenstein for trying to live a happy life, a life that the creature knew he would never be able to live.

msfridakahlo | Student

In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Victor Frankenstein is more similar to his monster than different, which is one of the main themes of the novel. For example, throughout the novel, both Victor and his monster are outcasts in society. Although Frankenstein is loved by family and friends, he is never completely satisfied; he is so ambitious and obsessed with answering the mysteries of life and death, that this leads him to shut himself off from the world in order to create a perfect creature that can live forever. Likewise, the monster, despite his best efforts to be accepted and loved by humans, is shunned by them and forced to live in isolation in the mountains.

This alienation brings out the worst of their natures and drives them both to commit some evil acts. After Frankenstein rejects him, his creature seeks revenge against him, going on a murdering spree of his friends and family. When Frankenstein discovers that his monster has been killing his beloved, he also vows revenge and pursues him with the intent to kill, which drives his monster further. The irony of the story is that despite Frankenstein’s efforts to create a being more superior to humans, he fails and instead creates something that reflects himself and his own imperfections. This allows the reader to sympathize with both characters and to realize what Frankenstein cannot-- that humans are not so different from wild creatures after all.

Frankenstein’s life pursuit of his out of control monster leads him to the edge of the Earth where he is then discovered and rescued by Captain Walton and his crew in the Arctic. However, the rescue is too late and Frankenstein slowly dies of pneumonia while retelling his cautionary tale. When his monster, still involved in their cat and mouse game, discovers that his creator has died, he vows to escape to the mountains where he can mourn his master’s death and die alone, as life is no longer worth living. Ultimately, both creator and monster die in vain as they both perish without accomplishing their goals and in spite of their best efforts.