Frankenstein Minor Characters
by Mary Shelley

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Henry Clerval

Henry Clerval is Victor’s boyhood friend from Geneva. He is described as a gentle, handsome, and morally upright man who enjoys adventure. Like Victor, he hopes to make a positive impact on humanity, but he lacks the arrogance that corrupts Victor’s goals. After convincing his father to permit him to advance his studies, Clerval comes to the University of Ingolstadt in the hopes of gaining mastery over Persian, Arabic, and Sanskrit. An adventurer at heart, Clerval hopes to travel to the east as a trader and explorer.

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Clerval primarily serves as a foil for Victor in that he balances out Victor’s brooding, scientific mind with his own cheerful, morally upright disposition. Clerval nurses Victor back to health after Victor is rendered despondent by his shame over the hideous creature he has created. However, Henry is ultimately killed by the creature as revenge for Victor’s destruction of the female creature, inciting Victor to seek vengeance against the creature. Victor is later blamed for Clerval’s death, but he is acquitted due to a lack of sufficient evidence.

Elizabeth Lavenza

Elizabeth Lavenza is Victor’s adoptive sister. She is beautiful and kind, and Victor’s parents hope that her and Victor will someday marry. This comes to fruition after Elizabeth proves to be the only person capable of alleviating Victor’s depression after Clerval’s death. Elizabeth’s death highlights Victor’s selfish nature, as his arrogant assumption that the creature planned to kill him on his wedding night prevents him from warning Elizabeth about the potential dangers of marrying him.

Elizabeth is also shown to have a strong sense of justice, as she is Justine Moritz’s chief defender during Justine’s murder trial. Though the evidence is stacked against Justine, Elizabeth still comes forward in her defense and believes in her innocence until the end. This contrasts Elizabeth with Victor, who keeps quiet despite his knowing that the creature is the real murderer.

Justine Moritz

Justine Moritz is a servant of the Frankenstein family. The Frankensteins adopted her after she was abandoned by her mother, and she is dearly loved by the entire family. After the creature murders William Frankenstein, he puts a valuable trinket he took from William’s body into a sleeping Justine’s pocket, framing her for the murder. Though she is innocent, Justine confesses to the murder in order to ensure that her soul will be fit to go to heaven when she dies. This ultimately leads to her death, as no amount of testimony can counteract her direct confession. Justine’s trial highlights Victor’s selfishness and dishonesty. Though he knows that Justine is innocent, he refuses to come forward about the creature and instead allows an innocent woman to die in order to keep his secret.

The De Laceys

The De Laceys are a peasant family that the creature observes for a time. The patriarch, Mr. De Lacey, and his two children, Felix and Agatha, are former Parisian nobles who were exiled after they came to the defense of a wrongly accused Turkish merchant. The daughter of the merchant, Safie, falls in love with Felix and eventually leaves her own family to join the exiled De Laceys. They are a loving family, and though they live in poverty, they seem happy just to be together.

The creature greatly admires them and learns how to speak by observing Felix’s attempts to help Safie learn French. In his quest for human companionship, the creature approaches the blind Mr. De Lacey in the hopes of befriending the family. However, when Felix, Agatha, and Safie arrive and witness the creature as he benignly kneels at Mr. De Lacey’s feet, they assume that the creature is trying to harm Mr. De Lacey. Felix then attacks the creature with a stick. The De Laceys’ rejection is a source of great pain for the creature; he becomes disillusioned with humans after being treated so poorly by the family which he had only ever seen as kind and good.


Alphonse Frankenstein is Victor’s father. He is one of the most...

(The entire section is 1,103 words.)