Last Updated on October 24, 2018, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 180
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.
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.
Last Updated on October 24, 2018, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 145
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.
Last Updated on October 24, 2018, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 137
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.
Last Updated on October 24, 2018, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 204
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.
Last Updated on October 24, 2018, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 78
Alphonse Frankenstein is Victor’s father. He is one of the most influential men in Geneva, holding both wealth and prestige. He is a loving father, and he and his wife dote on all of their children. He allows Victor to pursue his ambitions, while also reminding him that there is more to life than books and science. Alphonse dies from grief after Elizabeth’s murder, and his death is attributed indirectly to both Victor and the creature.
Last Updated on October 24, 2018, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 57
Caroline Frankenstein is Victor’s mother. She is a kind and benevolent woman, adopting several children in addition to having three of her own. She loves all of her children deeply and hopes that Victor and Elizabeth will someday marry. She dies shortly before Victor leaves for university, and her death influences his obsession with conquering death.
Last Updated on October 24, 2018, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 78
William is Victor’s youngest brother. He is the darling of the Frankenstein family, beloved for his attractive appearance and charming demeanor. William is the first person killed by the creature. William’s death forces the creature to confront his own capacity for destruction, which he intends to employ as a means of exacting vengeance against Victor. William’s death also serves as the catalyst for Justine’s trial and execution, as she is accused of his murder.
Last Updated on October 24, 2018, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 50
Ernest Frankenstein is the middle child of the Frankenstein family. Six years younger than Victor, he is sickly and disinclined towards academic pursuits, with Elizabeth suggesting that he ought to become a farmer. Though his fate is left ambiguous, he may be the only surviving member of the Frankenstein family.
Last Updated on October 24, 2018, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 31
Mr. Kirwin is the magistrate who accuses Victor of murdering Henry Clerval. However, after Victor falls ill from grief and shock, Mr. Kirwin shows compassion and nurses him back to health.
Last Updated on October 24, 2018, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 71
M. Waldman is a professor of chemistry at the University of Ingolstadt. He is a charismatic and attractive 50-year-old man. Unlike M. Krempe, M. Waldman is not dismissive of Victor’s interest in alchemy. Rather, he credits the alchemists with paving the way for chemists and other future scientists. Victor credits M. Waldman with indirectly inspiring his desire to create the creature by drawing a clear link between alchemy and science.
Last Updated on October 24, 2018, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 42
M. Krempe is a professor of natural philosophy at the University of Ingolstadt. Victor describes his appearance as “repulsive.” M. Krempe openly mocks Victor’s interest in alchemy but is nonetheless impressed with Victor’s progress during his time at the University.
Last Updated on October 24, 2018, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 30
Margaret Saville is Robert Walton’s sister. All of Walton’s letters are addressed to her, and the contents of his letters suggest that the two share a close relationship.
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