- The doomed protagonist and narrator of the main portion
of the story. Studying in Ingolstadt, Victor discovers the secret
of life and creates an intelligent but grotesque monster, from whom
he recoils in horror. Victor keeps his creation of the monster a
secret, feeling increasingly guilty and ashamed as he realizes how
helpless he is to prevent the monster from ruining his life and
the lives of others.
in-depth analysis of Victor Frankenstein.
eight-foot-tall, hideously ugly creation of Victor Frankenstein.
Intelligent and sensitive, the monster attempts to integrate himself
into human social patterns, but all who see him shun him. His feeling
of abandonment compels him to seek revenge against his creator.
Arctic seafarer whose letters open and close Frankenstein
Walton picks the bedraggled Victor Frankenstein up off the ice,
helps nurse him back to health, and hears Victor’s story. He records
the incredible tale in a series of letters addressed to his sister,
Margaret Saville, in England.
in-depth analysis of Robert Walton.
- Victor’s father, very sympathetic toward his son.
Alphonse consoles Victor in moments of pain and encourages him to
remember the importance of family.
- An orphan, four to five years younger than Victor,
whom the Frankensteins adopt. In the 1818 edition
of the novel, Elizabeth is Victor’s cousin, the child of Alphonse
Frankenstein’s sister. In the 1831 edition,
Victor’s mother rescues Elizabeth from a destitute peasant cottage
in Italy. Elizabeth embodies the novel’s motif of passive women,
as she waits patiently for Victor’s attention.
in-depth analysis of Elizabeth Lavenza.
boyhood friend, who nurses Victor back to health in Ingolstadt.
After working unhappily for his father, Henry begins to follow in
Victor’s footsteps as a scientist. His cheerfulness counters Victor’s moroseness.
in-depth analysis of Henry Clerval.
- Victor’s youngest brother and the darling of the
Frankenstein family. The monster strangles William in the woods
outside Geneva in order to hurt Victor for abandoning him. William’s
death deeply saddens Victor and burdens him with tremendous guilt
about having created the monster.
young girl adopted into the Frankenstein household while Victor
is growing up. Justine is blamed and executed for William’s murder,
which is actually committed by the monster.
- The daughter of Beaufort. After her father’s death,
Caroline is taken in by, and later marries, Alphonse Frankenstein.
She dies of scarlet fever, which she contracts from Elizabeth, just
before Victor leaves for Ingolstadt at age seventeen.
merchant and friend of Victor’s father; the father of Caroline
family of peasants, including a blind old man, De Lacey; his son
and daughter, Felix and Agatha; and a foreign woman named Safie.
The monster learns how to speak and interact by observing them.
When he reveals himself to them, hoping for friendship, they beat
him and chase him away.
professor of chemistry who sparks Victor’s interest in science.
He dismisses the alchemists’ conclusions as unfounded but sympathizes
with Victor’s interest in a science that can explain the “big questions,”
such as the origin of life.
professor of natural philosophy at Ingolstadt. He dismisses Victor’s
study of the alchemists as wasted time and encourages him to begin
his studies anew.
magistrate who accuses Victor of Henry’s murder.