Frankenstein Volume 3: Chapter 7 Summary and Analysis
by Mary Shelley

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Volume 3: Chapter 7 Summary and Analysis

With no hope left of anything but revenge, Victor decides to leave Geneva and track down the creature but is uncertain of how to begin his pursuit. The day of his departure he wanders around town until nightfall, when he enters the cemetery and kneels before his family tomb. There he prays for help from the spirits of his loved ones and swears aloud that, although he no longer wants to live, he will spend the rest of his life pursuing the creature until either he or his creation is dead. Unseen in the darkness, the creature laughs and tells Victor he is satisfied with his creator’s decision before disappearing into the dark.

Led by slight clues and chance sightings, Victor follows the creature’s trail down the Rhone River, across the Black Sea, and into the Russian wilderness. Sometimes the people in the villages he passes through point him in the direction of the creature, and other times the creature himself leaves Victor clues. Victor also finds himself miraculously saved from danger and provided with food in his most desperate moments, which he attributes to the actions of the guiding spirits of his loved ones. At night he experiences blissful dreams of being with his father, Elizabeth, and Clerval in Switzerland. These dreams give him the strength to continue mechanically pursuing the creature during the day. The creature leaves notes commanding Victor to follow him into the Arctic wastes, pointing him toward food, and reminding him of the cold and suffering he will be made to endure until their final confrontation. After finding a note with instructions to prepare himself for the final leg of the journey, Victor acquires a sledge and dogs. He travels swiftly, gaining on the creature all the time, and soon arrives in a village on the coast. The villagers tell Victor the creature arrived last night and stole a sledge and dogs of his own before setting out across the sea of ice. At this news Victor almost loses hope, but he is driven onward by his burning desire for revenge and his belief that the spirits are encouraging him in his task. He exchanges his sledge for one suited to traveling across the ice and continues his pursuit.

After three weeks on the frozen sea, Victor has almost given in to despair. After one of his dogs dies following an exhausting trek up a mountain of ice, he looks out across the ocean and sees the creature in the distance. The sight of his nemesis causes Victor to weep with joy and renewed hope. He pursues the creature for two days but loses track of him when the ice breaks, leaving Victor stranded on a perpetually shrinking ice sheet. Several hours later he is amazed to see Walton’s ship, which he steers himself toward with oars made from his shattered sledge. He plans to ask for a boat in which to continue the chase but consents to come onboard when he learns the ship is heading north.

Now, having finished his tale, Victor wonders if he will live to fulfill his vengeance. Though he doesn’t expect Walton to seek the creature himself, he does ask the captain to kill the creature if he should ever come in contact with him. Walton’s record of Victor’s story ends here, and the captain continues his own narrative in further letters to his sister.

Letter of August 26th, 17–

Walton describes how Victor alternated between calm, agony, and rage as he spent a week telling his horrific story. Having read Felix and Safie’s letters and seen the creature himself from the ship, Walton is entirely convinced of the truth of Victor’s tale. Several times he has asked for details of the creature’s formation, but Victor is unwilling to see his mistakes repeated and refuses to elaborate. The two men often converse on other subjects, and Walton praises Victor’s eloquence and intelligence while lamenting the fact that he will lose the only true friend he has ever found if Victor dies. He tries to convince Victor to start a new life and form new relationships, but Victor replies that no one will ever be able...

(The entire section is 2,798 words.)