full title Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus
author Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
type of work Novel
genre Gothic science fiction
time and place written Switzerland, 1816, and London, 1816–1817
date of first publication January 1, 1818
publisher Lackington, Hughes, Harding, Mavor, & Jones
narrator The primary narrator is Robert Walton, who, in his letters, quotes Victor Frankenstein’s first-person narrative at length; Victor, in turn, quotes the monster’s first-person narrative; in addition, the lesser characters Elizabeth Lavenza and Alphonse Frankenstein narrate parts of the story through their letters to Victor.
climax The murder of Elizabeth Lavenza on the night of her wedding to Victor Frankenstein in Chapter 23
protagonist Victor Frankenstein
antagonist Frankenstein’s monster
setting (time) Eighteenth century
setting (place) Geneva; the Swiss Alps; Ingolstadt; England and Scotland; the northern ice
point of view The point of view shifts with the narration, from Robert Walton to Victor Frankenstein to Frankenstein’s monster, then back to Walton, with a few digressions in the form of letters from Elizabeth Lavenza and Alphonse Frankenstein.
falling action After the murder of Elizabeth Lavenza, when Victor Frankenstein chases the monster to the northern ice, is rescued by Robert Walton, narrates his story, and dies
foreshadowing Ubiquitous—throughout his narrative, Victor uses words such as “fate” and “omen” to hint at the tragedy that has befallen him; additionally, he occasionally pauses in his recounting to collect himself in the face of frightening memories.
tone Gothic, Romantic, emotional, tragic, fatalistic
themes Dangerous knowledge; sublime nature; texts; secrecy; monstrosity
motifs Passive women; abortion
symbols Fire and light