Study Guide

Frankenstein

Frankenstein Summary

(Click the plot infographic to download.)

The story begins with Captain Robert Walton hanging out in St. Petersburg, Russia, probably near the end of the 18th century. He's waiting around for a ride to the port of Archangel, where he's going to hire some hardy Russians to go sailing off to the North Pole. Unfortunately, the boat gets stuck in impassible ice hundreds of miles from land. Boring! With nothing else to do, he writes letters to his sister back in England. His main complaint? He wants a male friend to keep him company. (What about that ship full of sailors? No, he means a worthy companion.)

Soon, Walton's despair is interrupted by the sight of —a man! On the ice! Riding a dog-sled! The man boards the ship, and it seems as if Walton's wish for a friend has come true. Except this new guy, Victor? Kind of nuts. Here's his story, as told to Walton:

Victor started out like any normal kid in Geneva, with his parents adopting a girl named Elizabeth for him to marry when he was older. You know, totally normal. At college, he decides to study natural philosophy (like a rudimentary physics) and chemistry, along with chemistry's evil twin, alchemy. In about two years, he figures out how to bring a body made of human corpse pieces to life. (We couldn't even manage to finish high school in two years.) Afterwards, he's horrified by his own creation (no…really?) and is sick for months while his friend Henry Clerval nurses him back to health.

Back in Geneva, Victor's younger brother, William, is murdered. The Frankenstein family servant, Justine, is accused of killing him. Victor magically intuits that his monster is the real killer, but thinking that no one would believe the "my monster did it" excuse, Victor is afraid to even propose his theory. Even when poor Justine is executed.

Victor, in grief, goes on a trip to the Swiss Alps for some much needed R&R. All too conveniently, he runs into the monster, who confesses to the crime and tells Victor this story (if you're keeping track, we're now in a story-within-a-story-within-a-story):

When Frankenstein fled, he found himself alone and hideous. No one accepted him (being a corpse-parts conglomeration can do that to you), except for one old blind man. He hoped that the blind man's family of cottagers would give him compassion, but even they drove him away. When he ran across William, he killed the boy out of revenge. In short, he's ticked off that his maker created him to be alone and miserable, and so would Frankenstein please make him a female companion?

After much persuading, Victor agrees. He drops off Henry in Scotland while he goes to an island in the Orkneys to work. But, just before he finishes, he destroys the second monster: he's afraid that the two will bring destruction to humanity rather than love each other harmlessly. The monster sees him do this and swears revenge … again. When Victor lands on a shore among Irish people, they accuse him of murdering Henry, who has been found dead. He's acquitted, but not before another long illness.

Victor returns to Geneva and prepares to marry Elizabeth, but he's a little worried: the monster has sworn to be with him on his wedding night. Eek! Victor thinks the monster is threatening him, but the night he and Elizabeth are married, the monster kills the bride instead. This causes Victor's father to pass away from grief (as he just lost a daughter-in-law and a daughter), so it's kind of a twofer for the monster.

Alone and bent on revenge, Victor chases the monster over all imaginable terrain until he is ragged and near death. (In fact, we can't really tell the two of them apart anymore except that the monster is taller and uglier.) And now we're back up the present: he finds Walton's ship, tells his story, and dies.

Story over? Not quite. Walton discovers the monster crying over Victor's dead body. We're not sure if he's crying because he's sad or because, as he says, he has nothing to live for anymore—but either way, he heads off into the Arctic to die. Alone. Yeah, it's not quite a Hollywood ending.

  • Preface

    • Okay, time for a quick Brain Snack, to get your appetite working. Mary Shelley first published Frankenstein in 1818. When she republished it in 1831, she revised it (a lot) and wrote this nifty preface. The 1818 and 1831 editions have some pretty significant differences—not so much in plot, but in style, characterization, and the role of fate. Most scholars prefer the 1818 version, but most mass market publishers still use the 1831 version. We're sticking with the 1831 version because it's more widely available, but you can see some of the differences here.
    • In this preface, Shelley explains that it was rainy and kind of creepy the summer of 1816, when Shelley (then Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin) and her future husband were vacationing in the Swiss Alps along with some other friends, like majorly famous poet Lord Byron.
    • Today, we know that Mount Tambora erupted in the Indian Ocean in 1815 and disrupted weather patterns all over the world.
    • In 1816, all the Shelleys knew was that this was shaping up to be the worst summer ever, so they told German ghost stories to pass the time.
    • And then someone had the brilliant idea to have a ghost-story contest. The result? One of the first vampire stories in Western literature… and Frankenstein.
    • Oh, there's also some name-dropping of Dr. Darwin. Not the famous one, but his grandpa, who was a less noteworthy science geek.
  • Letter 1

    • Captain Robert Walton of England is on an expedition to the North Pole. He writes a series of letters to his sister, Margaret, to pass the time and, you know, keep in touch.
    • Walton has some goals: see new places, "tread a land never before imprinted by the foot of man" (Letter 1.1), boldly go where no man has gone before, that sort of thing.
  • Letter 2

    • Walton is bummed because he has no friends. He won't be friends with the men on the ship, either, because they are, um, not as awesome as he.
    • No one could possibly understand him because he's special and more sensitive than the other men. English majors would probably say he's a Romantic figure.
    • We say we think we know why he has no friends.
  • Letter 3

    • The ship sets sail, and Walton seems to think that things are going according to plan.
    • Since everything is going so well, something bad is probably going to happen soon.
  • Letter 4

    (Click the summary infographic to download.)

    • Something bad happens! We're shocked!
    • The ship is stuck in sheets of ice in the ocean when the crew sees a giant figure in the distance going across the ice on a "sledge." (We're thinking "dog sled.")
    • The next day, the ship's crew finds another man on yet another sledge. Unfortunately for said man (and his dog team), all but one of his dogs are dead. This man also looks like he has one foot and possibly half a leg in the grave.
    • So the crew brings the new guy on board the ship, rubs his body with brandy, and gets him drunk to warm him up.
    • (Don't try this at home. This was back before they knew about alcohol, and how it actually lowers your body temperature.)
    • Walton wants the new guy all to himself to be the friend he's dreamed of having, which is weirdly possessive.
    • At the end of this letter, he tells his sister that the man is going to tell his story the next day.
  • Chapter 1

    • The new guy's name is Victor Frankenstein. He's just about on his deathbed from starvation, exhaustion, and illness.
    • Even though he's half-dead, he still likes to talk, a lot. Instead of just saying, "Hey, my name is Victor. I created a monster, and now I'm trying to kill him because he killed everyone I know," he has to start with the beginning of his childhood:
    • "To begin my life with the beginning of my life, I record that I was born" style. Get ready.
    • He's got parents. They are named Alphonse and Caroline.
    • Then there is Elizabeth. Elizabeth Lavenza. Mary Shelley couldn't really make up her mind about how she became part of Victor's family, but we're guessing you're probably reading the 1831 edition of this novel, so we'll say she was adopted from some Italian family by Caroline when Victor was all of five years old.
    • Victor's parents thought it would be a good idea to adopt a girl to be Victor's future wife.
    • So Elizabeth comes back to Geneva to live with Victor's family.
    • Victor accepts this fate. In general, if something is fate, Victor is ready to give in to it. And, as you are about to see, he seems to think an awful lot of things are fate.
    • (This is a major difference between the 1818 edition and the 1831 edition; 1818 Victor takes a little more responsibility for his actions.)
  • Chapter 2

    • Unlike Walton, Victor has friends. Two of them. Or at least, he did during his childhood. First, there's Elizabeth. Victor also has a friend named Henry Clerval.
    • Victor describes his idyllic childhood, which is a cue for us to begin use of the historical present.
    • As a brooding teenager, Victor develops an interest in science. Especially interesting to him is the old, not to mention discredited, field of alchemy. He's especially into some guy named Albertus Magnus.
    • This is like some kid getting into music and really liking old ragtime records from the 1900s.
    • Wait, scratch that, some hipster is probably starting a ragtime tumblr right now.
    • Victor realizes that science is very powerful, but possibly also destructive, when he sees a tree get struck by lightning. Hmm!
  • Chapter 3

    • Elizabeth catches scarlet fever. She recovers, but Victor's mother catches the illness while nursing her back to health and dies herself. This is where the bad things begin, if you hadn't already picked up on that.
    • On her deathbed, she tells Victor and Elizabeth she wants them to get married. Way to lay on the guilt trip, mom.
    • A few weeks later, Victor goes away to study at a university called Ingolstadt. He's only seventeen.
    • Once he gets there, he finds a place to live and starts chatting up professors. Some guy named M. Krempe teaches natural philosophy and basically discredits alchemy entirely, to Victor's dismay. Imagine studying all through high school only to get to college and have your teachers tell you that everything you know is wrong and stupid.
    • Luckily, Victor meets a nice chemistry professor named Waldman and decides to study science. The real kind.
  • Chapter 4

    • Victor becomes—and we say this lovingly—a huge nerd. He doesn't make friends, and he doesn't write home, not even to his hot sister/future wife, Elizabeth. He probably doesn't even have a Facebook page.
    • On the plus side, Victor's studies advance rapidly, which tends to happen when you're in self-prescribed social exile. Soon, he has mastered everything there possibly is to know in the world.
    • In all fairness, there was a lot less to know at the beginning of the nineteenth century, like all the lyrics from toy commercials of the '80s and what that one actor who played that kid's brother on Saved By the Bell is doing now.
    • He becomes obsessed with the way some things are alive and others…aren't really. He wants to figure out how to make non-living things into living ones.
    • From a psychological perspective, this probably has something to do with the fact that Victor's mother just died. This is not a healthy alternative to counseling, but apparently the University of Ingolstadt didn't have much in the way of Student Services.
    • Victor studies anatomy to learn about how bodies live and die.
    • He decides he wants to make a new race of creatures, and in his spare time he starts assembling pieces of corpses. No one mentions this, but it probably smells really bad at his place.
    • Quick Brain Snack: Anatomy was more of a theoretical science than an actual science for hundreds of years, because Christians believed that you were literally going to be resurrected when Jesus returned—which meant that you wanted to have all your body parts in one piece. There was none of this "donate your body to science" business. Artists and scientists who wanted to see what was actually going on underneath the skin resorted to grave robbing.
    • So, where is Victor Frankenstein getting these bodies? He's sneaking off in the middle of the night with a shovel and digging them up—or paying someone to do it for him. 
    • Yeah, the guy's just a little obsessed.

    (Click the summary infographic to download.)

  • Chapter 5

    • It's obviously a dark and stormy night when Victor brings the stitched-up corpse pieces to life.
    • Victor is on the brink of the achievement of a lifetime. He has visions of a Nobel Prize in Potentially Evil and Highly Suspect Late-Night Doings. He has created a superior race of people. He is going to win fame and adoration and …
    • Oh wait. The monster is huge and not exactly aesthetically pleasing.
    • Victor is roughly thinking, "uh-oh."
    • But wait, you say. What's so bad about this monster? Does he club baby seals or throw soda cans in the trash instead of recycling them? Did he illegally share songs on BitTorrent?
    • Nope. Nope. Nope. He's just ugly. That's it.
    • The monster leans over Victor and smiles at him. Oh, the horror.
    • But Victor has just had a nightmare about Elizabeth and his mother's corpses (that's the anvil of foreshadowing that you just heard thump on the ground), so when he sees the ugly smile, he runs out of his house and spends the night in his courtyard.
    • The next morning, Victor goes for a walk. He can't seem to be able to stand being in the same room as someone who is ugly.
    • In town, in one of many remarkably convenient coincidences in this book, Victor runs into his dear old buddy Henry Clerval near the town inn. Henry has come to study at Ingolstadt. It's the thing to do.
    • Don't worry —Henry is attractive. So it's okay for Victor to be friends with him.
    • Victor immediately falls ill with a fever, and Henry nurses him back to health over a number of months.
    • Illnesses lasted a long time back then because they didn't have things like penicillin or hygiene.
    • When Victor recovers, Henry gives him some letters from Elizabeth.
  • Chapter 6

    • Elizabeth is worried about Victor's illness, and she nags Victor to write home. We are reminded that Victor has at least one good thing going for him right now.
    • She also tells him about a girl named Justine who has come to live with their family (as a servant) in Geneva after her own mother's death.
    • Several months after the shock of seeing something ugly, Victor finally recovers.
    • Henry and Victor both start studying "Oriental" languages in school, and Victor tries to avoid all the science people. They think he is being modest, but he can't stand to look at them or talk to them because they remind him of the huge mistake he has made.
    • He decides to return to Geneva. Before he does, he and Henry go for a walk in nature and appreciate how beautiful it is.
    • Hmm! Nature is beautiful; there's something unnatural about the ugly creature
  • Chapter 7

    • Back at school, Victor gets a letter from Dad. It's not good news: it seems that someone has murdered his little brother, William.
    • He leaves for Geneva immediately, but he arrives too late, and the gates of the city have been closed for the night.
    • Victor lurks around the woods near where his brother was killed.
    • He sees the monster he created for a moment. Aha! It must be the monster's crime. Obviously. Because the monster is ugly.
    • No one else has seen this monster or knows anything about it.
    • At home the next day (the gates have been opened by now), Victor finds out that Justine has been accused of the murder because she has a picture of Caroline in her pocket —the same picture William had with him right before he died.
    • Victor and Elizabeth are the only ones who think Justine is innocent. Well, Justine, too.
    • But Victor won't tell anyone why, because he's afraid to be labeled a crazy person.

    (Click the character infographic to download.)

  • Chapter 8

    • Shocking! Justine confesses even though she is innocent so that she won't go to Hell, which … doesn't quite make sense to us, because isn't lying a sin, too?
    • Elizabeth and Victor still believe in her innocence, although no one else does. Again, except for Justine.
    • Justine is executed.
    • Victor at least has the good sense to feel guilty, since his secret has now caused two people he loves to die.
  • Chapter 9

    • Victor continues to feel (1) stupid and (2) guilty. He mopes around, contemplating suicide.
    • His father takes the family to their lake house at Belrive to try to put the past behind them.
    • Victor goes off by himself to the valley of Chamounix and feels momentary happiness due to how sublime it is (again with the sublime nature bit —pay attention), but the feeling passes.
  • Chapter 10

    • Victor feels awful. Then it rains.
    • He goes up to the top of Montanvert to see the views, since looking at sublime views has a way of cheering him up.
    • Brain Snack: Montanvert is one of three glaciers on Mont Blanc, a big honking mountain in the Swiss Alps. In 1816, Percy Bysshe Shelley wrote a whole poem about how sublime and awesome Mont Blanc is. (Well, that's the short version. The long version has to do with the awesomeness of poets, i.e. Shelley.)
    • Anyway, instead of cheering up, Victor sees the monster.
    • Victor threatens to essentially kick the monster's butt, but the monster looks like The Rock.
    • The monster, despite everything, invites Victor to come to a cave to talk with him by a fire. FIRE. Look out for that Prometheus reference.
    • The monster talks eloquently, so Victor consents to listen to his life story. We know what you're thinking. Uh-oh —are we in for another "Chapter One: I am Born?" No. This guy is a lot more interesting than Victor.
  • Chapter 11

    • Here's the monster's story:
    • When he's born (i.e., wakes up), he realizes that he's alone with no idea how he got there.
    • Slowly, he learns about the world through his senses. One of the first things he learns is that fire is good (it keeps you warm) and bad (it hurts if you touch it).
    • He tries to get food by going into a hut, but the inhabitants scream in fear and run out. The same thing happens to him every time he goes into a village, or actually, anywhere people live.
    • The monster realizes that people hate him because he's ugly. It's pretty sad.
    • Finally, he finds a small hovel near a cottage and settles in there, watching the family, which consists of a blind old man, and two younger people.
  • Chapter 12

    • The monster stays in the hovel all winter and starts to really like the family he's stalking.
    • He steals food from them until he realizes that they're poor. Then, he finds food in the woods instead and helps them out by working at night to clear snow or find firewood.
    • Why? Because he's a genuine, nice guy. Seriously. The monster is one of the kindest, most helpful people we see in this book.
    • Apparently, the two younger people are named Felix and Agatha. And they have a magical skill: they can communicate using sounds.
    • Yep, they can talk. The monster listens to them until he starts to learn their language.
    • Of course Felix and Agatha are beautiful, and the monster gets really upset when he looks at his reflection in a pond and remembers how hideous he is and how no one will ever love him.
  • Chapter 13

    • Because the monster is all sensitive and stuff, he starts to realize that Felix is totally sad, too.
    • Soon, a hot, foreign woman arrives at the cottage. Felix perks up. So does everyone else.
    • The woman, Safie, doesn't speak the language that the rest of the cottage people do, so they teach it to her, which is convenient for the monster—he eavesdrops on her lessons and learns the language, too.
    • He also learns to read and learn about the world.
    • He learns about history from the book Ruins of Empires that Felix uses to teach Safie.
    • All this literacy is both good and bad (like fire!); it helps him understand the world, but it also reminds him that he can't really participate in the world.
    • He's ugly and different and alone, and now he really knows it.
  • Chapter 14

    • Now that the monster understands what the family is saying, he can understand their story, which is weirdly like what has happened to Victor's family.
    • Safie's Turkish father was accused wrongly of a crime (like Justine), and sentenced to death in Paris. Meanwhile, Safie was on the lookout for a European man to marry. Why? Because her mom (a Christian Arab enslaved by Turks) taught her that Muslim men treat women like property.
    • Quick Brain Snack: this idea that Muslim cultures thought of women as little better than animals is a really common stereotype in English thought of the eighteenth and nineteenth century. It actually became an early argument for women's rights: Christians shouldn't treat women like property because, unlike those heathens over there, Christians believe that women have souls. It was a fun time.
    • Anyway, Safie met Felix when he was visiting her father in prison, and they fell in love.
    • At the time, Agatha, Felix, and the blind old man (named De Lacey) were respected and rich Parisians.
    • Felix plotted to help Safie's father escape from prison, but he was discovered, and the family was exiled sans all their money.
    • Safie's father tried to force her to move to Constantinople, but she ran away to Felix.
    • These stories give the monster hope that Felix and De Lacey will be compassionate toward him, since they too have suffered injustice.
    • He seems to have quite a sophisticated understanding of the human psyche for a monster who's never talked to another living being.
  • Chapter 15

    • One night, the monster finds books and clothes in the woods while he is foraging for food. The most important book for him is Paradise Lost, which the monster mistakenly reads as history instead of fiction. How would he know?
    • Obviously, he sympathizes with Satan's character.
    • He also finds some of Victor's journal entries in the pockets of the clothes he initially took from Victor. Big mistake. He discovers that Victor was totally grossed out by him and hated that he had brought the monster to life.
    • This stings considerably.
    • The monster decides that the cottagers are his last hope for social acceptance. Since De Lacey is blind and the younger people often leave him alone during the day, the monster plans to gain De Lacey's trust and acceptance and in turn be trusted by Felix, Agatha, and Safie.
    • Soon, the monster gets his opportunity. He approaches De Lacey, who is kind and cordial to him.
    • But the others return too soon and freak out. Felix drives him off, and, when the monster finally comes back, they're gone. For good.
  • Chapter 16

    • Seeing as everyone hates him for no fair reason, the monster swears revenge on all people, particularly that jerk who created him only to live miserably, ugly, and alone.
    • Still, he can't help rescuing a little girl who slips into a stream and almost drowns. He's a hero, see?
    • But when the man accompanying the girl sees the rescue, he assumes the monster is attacking the girl and shoots him. Not the nicest way to say thank you.
    • The monster hides out in the woods, nursing his wounded shoulder. Things are not going so well for him.
    • In another occurrence of astounding coincidence, the monster makes it to Geneva and runs into William Frankenstein, Victor's younger brother.
    • Apparently shallowness runs in the family, because William reacts much the same way Victor did, calling the monster ugly and wretched.
    • Still, the monster is about to let the kid go when William threatens him by saying that his father is Alphonse Frankenstein.
    • Bad call. Realizing that William is related to his creator, the monster strangles him with his bare hands.

    (Click the summary infographic to download.)

    • The boy has a picture of his mother, Caroline. The monster takes it from William's dead hands and puts it in pocket of a girl sleeping near by.
    • Any guesses who that girl is?
    • Yep, it's Justine.
    • Then, the monster tracks down Victor and asks him to create a mate so he won't be alone.
    • We probably would have buttered up Victor differently than confessing to murdering his brother. Just a thought.
  • Chapter 17

    • Now that the monster's story is over, we're back in Victor's story. And he tells us (and Walton) that he refused the monster's request, obviously.
    • The monster's pretty smart though, and he changes tactics by saying that Victor owes him a mate. It is his duty as creator. (Think God, Adam, and Eve.) He says it will make him less evil because loneliness has made him such a grumpy jerk/murderer.
    • The monster promises to take his new mate to a South American jungle and hide away from people for the rest of their lives. Sounds fair, except we're wondering if the people already living in the South American jungle might have an opinion about that.
    • Ugh, fine, Victor says.
    • The monster is thrilled. Yay! He's going to have his own custom-made girlfriend!
    • Still, he doesn't exactly trust Victor-the-Deadbeat-Dad. He vows to follow Victor to check in on his progress, saying he'll know when the work is done, which is just a little creepy and ominous.
  • Chapter 18

    • Victor procrastinates. Well, to be fair, it is hard to go around digging up all those graves.
    • Finally he decides to go off to England to work on his project. Because obviously.
    • Before he goes, his father notices that Victor seems pretty upset. Only he thinks it's because Victor doesn't want to marry his hot adopted sister Elizabeth anymore.
    • But Victor totally does. He's just got to make a second monster first.
    • So, Victor arranges with his father to leave for two years—and BFF Henry goes with him. Uh-oh.
  • Chapter 19

    • Victor can't really work with Henry and the monster breathing down his neck, so he leaves Henry with a friend in Scotland.
    • Victor then rushes off to the Orkneys, where he can work on his lady monster in solitude.
    • Still, this guy has a tough time getting himself to work. To be fair, it's not the usual causes of procrastination, like a Real Housewives marathon. No, in this case he can't help wondering if he's just making another destructive monster.
    • Victor spends all his time alone with his half-finished monster and a guilty conscience.
  • Chapter 20

    • Working alone in his little abandoned shack, Victor has all the time in the world to think.
    • And he suddenly realizes that the new monster will have free will. This complicates things.
    • Even if monster #1 agrees to be peaceful, monster #2 might be furiously angry at being made so hideous. She might hate monster #1. (He is ugly, after all.)
    • Mrs. Monster might very well go on a killing rampage, and then whose fault would that be? Victor's, that's whose.
    • AND what if they had monster babies? The thought is too terrible for Victor to even consider.
    • In the middle of his work, with the monster watching through the window, Victor destroys everything.

    (Click the summary infographic to download.)

    • He thinks he's done a good thing, and maybe he has. But he's broken his promise to a murderous monster, which is not so good.
    • The monster vows to exact revenge on Victor, promising in a very scary and not at all sexy way to be with him on his wedding night.
    • Unfortunately, one of Victor's main flaws is his obsession with himself. He assumes that the monster intends to kill him on his wedding night, despite the fact that the monster has made a habit of killing people Victor loves.
    • We call this frustrating. English majors call it "dramatic irony."
    • The next night, Victor gets a letter from Henry. It basically says, "What's taking so long? Let's go already."
    • Victor rows out into the ocean, taking the she-monster remains with him and dumping them into the water.
    • After deciding NOT to perish at sea, Victor lands in a nearby town, where instead of being treated hospitably, the people accuse him of committing a murder that happened there the night before.
    • This is fitting, since he did sort of just commit a murder. And dump the body into the water.
  • Chapter 21

    • But that's the not the body they're talking about. The town magistrate, Mr. Kirwin, makes Victor look at the body to see if he has some reaction to it.
    • Victor sure does have a reaction to it, because the dead guy is Henry.
    • So Victor is accused of murdering Henry, even though the monster did it. Although, in a way, couldn't you say that Victor really did murder Henry? You sure could.
    • We also almost forgot how attractive Henry is. So Shelley reminds us.
    • Victor falls ill and stays that way for two months.
    • Recovered, he finds himself in prison, which is not the best way to wake up from a feverish illness.
    • Mr. Kirwin is now inexplicably more compassionate towards Victor than before his illness.
    • In other surprising occurrences, his father comes to see him.
    • The court ends up finding Victor innocent of Henry's death. (Something about circumstantial evidence and shameless authorial manipulation of the plot.)
    • The point is, he can now return to Geneva with his father.
  • Chapter 22

    • Victor stops to rest in Paris and recover his strength.
    • He gets a letter from Elizabeth, asking him if he is in love with someone else.
    • Nope. Not unless by "love" you mean "obsession" and by "someone else" you mean "the monster."
    • He's still boneheadedly oblivious to the fact that the monster is planning to kill Elizabeth, so he decides to get on with the marriage and fight the monster, win or lose, to be free of him one way or the other.
    • Back in Geneva, he tells Elizabeth that he has a terrible secret—but he can't tell her until after they are married. Elizabeth is unfazed, so they get married and head off to a family cottage in the middle of nowhere.
    • (Just a hint, Shmoopers: never marry someone who has a big secret they can't reveal until after the wedding.)
  • Chapter 23

    • The newlyweds go for a walk around their cottage, but Victor has the I'm-about-to-fight-a-monster wedding night jitters.
    • Inside the cottage, he sends Elizabeth to bed so he can search the house for the monster. Uh, we're pretty sure this isn't how a wedding night is supposed to go down.
    • And in the grand tradition of horror movies everywhere, splitting up is a majorly bad idea.
    • He hears Elizabeth scream. It suddenly hits Victor what we've all known for chapters now: the monster didn't want to kill him. He wanted to kill Elizabeth.

    (Click the summary infographic to download.)

    • (If you're keeping track, this brings the body count up to four.)
    • Poor Victor really hates himself at this point. He goes home to Geneva to tell his father the sad news, and the man drops dead from grief. That makes five.
    • Just like the monster he created, Victor is now alone and miserable.
    • He goes to a magistrate to try and tell him about the monster and Elizabeth's death, but the magistrate obviously doesn't believe him and probably thinks seriously about locking the guy up.
    • Since Victor has nothing left to live for, he decides to spend the rest of his life hunting down the monster.
  • Chapter 24

    • The Great Pursuit begins, but it's pretty one-sided: the monster leaves a trail of clues for Victor to follow, but never allows his creator to get close enough to catch him.
    • It's on this chase that Victor meets Walton, and now he asks Walton to pursue the monster after Victor dies.
    • After that, Victor's narrative ends, and we're back to the outside frame, where Victor is on the boat with that sensitive, superior guy who writes letters to his sister. Remember?
    • Walton, for some reason, believes all of Victor's lunatic ravings.
    • He also wishes he had known Victor when he was normal, too, because he thinks he would have made a good friend.
    • That makes us seriously question Walton, because really? This guy has just told you an insane story about how he created a monster and you wish you could have been friends with him?
    • Meanwhile, the crew asks Walton if they can head home already, because with the sub-zero temperatures and the stuck-in-the-ice situation, morale has gotten unbearably low.
    • Victor berates them for giving up, and they are momentarily moved to agree with him.
    • But two days later, they ask again, and Walton is all "Fine. We can go home."
    • When the ship is about to return to England, Victor dies. Just like that.

    (Click the summary infographic to download.)

    • A few days pass.
    • Walton hears strange noises coming from the room with Victor's body. He finds the monster crying over the body.
    • !!!
    • Of course, the first thing Walton notices is how ugly the monster is. Still, he's pretty nice. (Walton, that is.)
    • The monster concludes that now that his maker is dead, he has no more purpose in life, such as killing Victor's friends or leaving Victor puzzling clues or stalking Victor from afar.
    • Now that he has nothing left, the monster decides to build a funeral pyre for himself on a mountaintop and die, which sounds awfully dramatic if you ask us.
    • He leaves the ship and disappears into the dark—conveniently leaving open the question of whether or not he actually does die. And hey! It only took 100+ years to come out with Frankenstein II: The Bride of Frankenstein.

    (Click the summary infographic to download.)