Frankenstein Questions and Answers
by Mary Shelley

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What is a summary of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley?

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Frankenstein is the story of two men's, Victor Frankenstein's and Captain Robert Walton's, pursuit of fame and greatness. Frankenstein tells his story to Walton, looking back on the past events that have led to his present situation.

As a young man, Frankenstein longs to render humankind invulnerable to death by disease, but he also hopes to win the gratitude of the world for doing so. Victor's early education is sparse, as he is allowed to choose subjects for himself, and when he goes to university, he befriends a professor who inspires him to study biology. Victor creates a very large human being out of parts from dead people that he steals from fresh graves and morgues. He means it to be beautiful, but instead it is hideous, and he abandons it immediately after its "birth." The creature grows up, hated and alone, and eventually returns to take his revenge on Victor, telling Victor the long story of the two years in which he's been alive. He kills Victor's brother and frames a family friend for the murder, and then kills Victor's best friend and his wife because he is so miserable and alone, a life for which he blames Victor. The novel ends just after Victor's death, the result of having vowed revenge on the creature and chasing him through the Arctic. The creature then mourns his lost creator and all the evils he has committed in order to exact revenge on that creator, and he promises Walton that he will kill himself and burn his body so that no one can find him and try to create a being like him.

Walton hopes to discover the secrets of the compass and find a northwest passage, and so he undertakes a difficult journey to the Arctic—a voyage on which he nearly dies. He finds Victor on the ice one day and picks him up, and this is how he learns Victor's story. Walton has longed for a friend, and he believes he's found one in Victor. However, in the end, Victor dies because he has been so weakened by his experiences. Walton's crew longs to return home for their own safety, and though he does not want to, he agrees to do so because he cannot take their lives into his hands when they are unwilling that he should. Walton, at least, learns from Victor's experiences.

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