Frankenstein Volume 3: Chapters 3 and 4 Summary and Analysis
by Mary Shelley

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Volume 3: Chapters 3 and 4 Summary and Analysis

One evening as he sits in his laboratory, Victor begins to reflect on the possible consequences of creating a companion for the creature. He realizes that his second creation might turn out to be just as or even more malicious than his first. She might refuse to accompany the creature to South America, or the two creatures might hate each other. If they do go to the wilderness together, the creatures could have children and thereby begin a new race of beings who would terrorize humankind. Victor is horrified by the idea that future generations might hate him for jeopardizing the survival of the entire human race just to secure safety for himself and his family. At that moment he sees the creature grinning malevolently at him through the window of his hut, and he tears the unfinished female creature apart. The creature howls with despair before vanishing into the night. Vowing never to resume his work, Victor leaves the laboratory. Several hours later the creature returns to confront him for breaking his promise. Victor tells him he has resolved never to create another being like the creature, no matter the consequences. The creature swears revenge and ominously tells Victor to remember that he will be with him on his wedding night. After hearing the creature row away in a boat, Victor paces around his room in torment, wishing he hadn’t allowed him to escape. Believing the creature intends to murder him on his wedding night, he weeps for the pain his death will cause Elizabeth and vows not to die without putting up a “bitter struggle.”

Victor spends the morning wandering aimlessly around the island in despair, eventually falling asleep on the ground. When he wakes up in the evening he feels somewhat calmer. A fisherman delivers a letter from Clerval, who asks Victor to meet him at Perth and travel with him back to London, where he plans to prepare to sail for India. Victor decides to leave for Perth in two days. Late the next night he rows out to sea in a small skiff and throws the remnants of the female creature’s body overboard in a basket weighted with stones. Relaxed by the breeze and the sound of the waves, he stretches out in the bottom of the boat and falls asleep. When he wakes up, the sun is up, and a strong wind has pushed him far out to sea, leaving him totally lost. After several hours of drifting on the waves, convinced he will die and terrified of what the creature will do to his family and friends, Victor is overjoyed to sight land. He steers into the harbor of the first town he sees. While tying up his boat, he is surprised to be greeted with hostility by an angry-looking crowd. He learns that he has arrived in Ireland and must report to the local magistrate, Mr. Kirwin, on suspicion of murder. Though startled and fatigued, Victor complies, sure that he will easily prove his innocence.

Mr. Kirwin brings forth several witnesses, the first of whom explains that he and his son and brother-in-law returned from fishing late last night and discovered the still-warm body of a young man on the beach. The man appeared to have been strangled, a detail which causes Victor to grow weak with fear. The first witness’s brother-in-law then swears that, just after the discovery of the body, he saw a man in the same boat in which Victor arrived. A woman who lives near the beach further attests that she saw a man sail from the area where the body was discovered about an hour before the fishermen returned. Another woman describes how the men brought the strangled young man to her house, where they tried to revive him without success. Several other witnesses reason that Victor, unaware there was a town nearby, probably brought the body from someplace else and left it on the beach before being forced by the wind to sail back to nearly the same spot. Although he is surprised by this series of coincidences, Victor remains calm until he is taken to see the corpse, which he is horrified to find is that of Clerval. Victor flings...

(The entire section is 2,054 words.)