by Mary Shelley
Frankenstein Victor Frankenstein Quotes
This letter revived in my memory what I had before forgotten, the threat of the fiend--"I WILL BE WITH YOU ON YOUR WEDDING-NIGHT!" Such was my sentence, and on that night would the daemon employ every art to destroy me and tear me from the glimpse of happiness which promised partly to console my sufferings. On that night he had determined to consummate his crimes by my death. Well, be it so; a deadly struggle would then assuredly take place, in which if he were victorious I should be at peace and his power over me be at an end. If he were vanquished, I should be a free man. Alas! What freedom? Such as the peasant enjoys when his family have been massacred before his eyes, his cottage burnt, his lands laid waste, and he is turned adrift, homeless, penniless, and alone, but free. Such would be my liberty except that in my Elizabeth I possessed a treasure, alas, balanced by those horrors of remorse and guilt which would pursue me until death. (22.14)
Victor is afraid of pulling Elizabeth into his destructive interactions with the monster, but his obsession will not give him peace.
No human being could have passed a happier childhood than myself. My parents were possessed by the very spirit of kindness and indulgence. We felt that they were not the tyrants to rule our lot according to their caprice, but the agents and creators of all the many delights which we enjoyed. When I mingled with other families I distinctly discerned how peculiarly fortunate my lot was, and gratitude assisted the development of filial love. (2.3)
Victor thinks he's fortunate, but we're not so sure. Check out the words he uses to describe his parents: "kindness," "indulgence," "creators of […] delights." That sounds like fun, but it doesn't exactly sound like the foundation of a good moral character. It seems like his parents might misunderstand their role: they're not supposed to be tyrants, but they should be providing at least a little upbringing.
My departure was therefore fixed at an early date, but before the day resolved upon could arrive, the first misfortune of my life occurred—an omen, as it were, of my future misery. Elizabeth had caught the scarlet fever; her illness was severe, and she was in the greatest danger. During her illness many arguments had been urged to persuade my mother to refrain from attending upon her. She had at first yielded to our entreaties, but when she heard that the life of her favourite was menaced, she could no longer control her anxiety. She attended her sickbed; her watchful attentions triumphed over the malignity of the distemper—Elizabeth was saved, but the consequences of this imprudence were fatal to her preserver. (3.1)
Caroline Frankenstein dies because she loves Elizabeth so much that she insists on taking care of her when she's sick with scarlet fever. So, her death really is an omen—it's a warning that family can be fatal. Think about that the next time your parents tell you to call more often.