Volume 2: Chapters 6, 7, 8 and 9 Summary and Analysis
In Chapter Six, the creature learns the cottagers’ story. The family’s last name is De Lacey, and until a few months before the creature’s arrival they enjoyed a life of wealth and comfort in Paris, where Felix and Agatha’s father, whom the creature refers to as De Lacey, was a respected politician. One day, Felix happened to be present at the trial of a Turkish merchant who was wrongfully sentenced to death. The sentence caused widespread outrage, and Felix was so horrified that he resolved to save the merchant. He visited the man’s cell by night and informed him that he planned to help him escape. The merchant promised to reward him, but Felix refused until he met the merchant’s daughter, Safie, who had arrived from Constantinople the same day her father was arrested. The merchant saw that Felix was enchanted with his daughter and promised him her hand in marriage. Felix declined out of politeness but still hoped the marriage would take place. While Felix planned her father’s escape, Safie sent him letters she wrote with the help of a French-speaking servant. (The creature still has copies he made of these letters and promises to give them to Victor to prove his story.) Safie told Felix that her mother was an Arab Christian who was sold into slavery before marrying Safie’s father, who is Muslim. Before Safie’s mother died, she raised her daughter as a Christian and taught her to aspire to an independent and intellectual life. Safie now dreaded the prospect of returning to Turkey, where she wouldn’t be able to enjoy the same freedoms she would in Paris. Nevertheless, she accompanied her father when he escaped from prison the night before his execution, aided by Felix, who conducted the two of them to the Tuscan port city of Leghorn. Safie’s father renewed his promise to allow his daughter and Felix to marry, and Felix remained with them while the merchant waited for an opportunity to cross the Turkish border. Meanwhile the two young people conversed through an interpreter and grew ever closer. Secretly, Safie’s father was opposed to the idea of his daughter marrying a Christian, but he continued to deceive the lovers out of fear that Felix might betray his whereabouts to the French government.
Not long after their arrival in Leghorn, Felix received news that the government had discovered his plot and that his father and Agatha, who had hidden themselves in a remote corner of Paris, had been imprisoned. He returned to Paris hoping to free them by turning himself in, first arranging for Safie to stay at a convent in Leghorn if her father should have an opportunity to return to Turkey while Felix was away. Felix and his family ended up spending five months in prison before being exiled from France with their fortune confiscated. They took refuge at the cottage in Germany, where Felix received an insultingly small amount of money from the merchant along with the devastating news that he and his daughter had left Italy. In reality, believing his whereabouts to have been found out, the merchant had suddenly sailed for Constantinople alone, leaving Safie in the care of a servant until she could follow with the rest of his things. Safie, however, was outraged by her father’s command to forget the now-impoverished Felix, and she had no intention of returning to Turkey. When she learned of Felix’s exile, she gathered her money and jewels and left for Germany with her attendant, a Turkish-speaking girl from Leghorn. In a town not far from the De Laceys’ cottage, her attendant fell ill and died in spite of Safie’s attempts to nurse her back to health. Luckily, Safie knew the name of the cottage’s location, and the woman who lived in the house where she had been staying ensured that Safie arrived there safely. When the creature learns this story he is deeply affected, regarding it as further evidence of the cottagers’ goodness.
One August night in the forest, the creature finds a trunk containing clothes and...
(The entire section is 4,721 words.)