Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Letter 1 (Letter addressed to Mrs Saville (sister) and written by her brother R. Walton). This letter is about an expedition to Russia

I feel my heart glow with an enthusiasm which elevates me to heaven, for nothing contributes so much to tranquillize the mind as a steady purpose – a point on which the soul may fix its intellectual eye. – R. Walton

My life might have been passed in ease and luxury, but I preferred glory to every enticement that wealth placed in my path. – R. Walton

Letter 2. Walton felt lonely during his trip. He admired the leadership qualities of the captain of the ship. Walton obviously missed his sister and would like to return home safely after his expedition

When I am glowing with enthusiasm of success, there will be none to participate my joy; if I am assailed by disappointment, no one will endeavor to sustain me in dejection. I shall commit my thought to paper, it is true; but that is a poor medium for the communication of feeling. – R. Walton

There is a love for marvelous, a belief in the marvelous, intertwined in all my projects, which hurries me out of the common pathways of men, even to the wild sea and unvisited regions I am about to explore. – R. Walton

Letter 3. Walton was on an advanced phase of his trip and things were going smoothly despite the grim weather.

Letter 4. There was a day when the vessel was surrounded with ice and it was foggy. Suddenly, Walton saw a huge man in a sledge guiding a few dogs. We were unable to track him though. Later we chanced upon another man. He appeared weak. We rescued him and he was the brink of freezing to death. The man was generally melancholy and despairing. He claimed that he was on a sledge and was chasing another man on a similar vehicle. I agreed to help him keep a lookout for the other sledge. To me, he was like my brother. Our relationship improved as time passed. He was always willing to listen to what I had to say. We chatted about our individual lives and past experiences. He admitted that he had lost everything and was in despair. I was soon about to hear his story.

I spoke of my desire of finding a friend, of my thirst for a more intimate sympathy with a fellow mind than had ever fallen to my lot, and expressed my conviction that a man could boast of little happiness who did not enjoy this blessing. –  R. Walton

My dad was a respectable man who married late. One of his friends was a rich merchant who eventually landed up in poverty. His name was Beaufort. Later, he retreated into Lucerne and lived in oblivion. My dad sought him out and tried to find him. After 10 months, my dad found him. However, Beaufort’s grief was deep and later on, he felt ill. His daughter worked to fund their way of life. Later, her dad died and she was an orphan and a beggar. 2 years later, Dad married Caroline, Beaufort’s daughter. Despite their huge age gap, my dad loved her very much. Later, they moved to Italy together. I was born in Naples. I was brought up well. My mum was fond of an orphan which we met in a Cottage near Lake Como. Eventually that girl, Elizabeth Lavenza, became an inmate of my parents’ house. We all loved her to bits. I treated like a true sister.

We were brought up together. She had a more calm personality than me and was deeply drawn to nature. As for me, I preferred exploring and figuring out the truth. My parents had a second child. We then we moved to Geneva. One of my close friends in school was Henry Clerval. I loved my childhood. The secrets of heaven and earth were attractive to me. It was the metaphysical that I was interested in. Clerval concerned himself with the moral relations of things like virtues etc. Later on, despair struck. I once browsed the works of Cornelius Agrippa. My dad dismissed his works as trash. I was Victor. The book was about the power of modern science and how it compared to ancient science. I was fascinated by the book and continued reading it. Later, I read Paracelsus and Albertus Magnus. I became their disciple. My dad was not good at science and in that aspect, I felt neglected. I wanted to discover cures to illnesses. I was about 15 years old now. One day, there was a violent thunderstorm. One tree was reduced to splinters by the violent lightning. Gradually, I became fascinated by electricity. I studied both science and mathematics. My spirit was strong, but ineffectual.

Under the guidance of my new preceptors I entered with the greatest diligence into the search of the philosopher’s stone and the elixir of life; but the latter soon obtained my undivided attention. – Victor Frankenstein

I will endeavor to resign myself cheerfully to death and will indulge a hope of meeting you in another world. – Mum

I was 17 now. I was supposed to head to the University of Ingolstadt. It was then that Elizabeth caught scarlet fever and her life was in grave danger. My mum took care of her but eventually fell sick as well. She died calmly. Grief and bitterness commenced. We needed to feel fortunate for being alive. Elizabeth recovered and helped to manage my emotions. Henry couldn’t go with me to the University. I was not ready to make new friends. Knowledge was what I sought. Once settled in, I visited some of the professors at school. M Krempe was the professor of natural philosophy. He explained that the people I studied before were useless. He gave me a list of books to purchase. I did not like Krempe for he had a repulsive countenance. I preferred the works of forgotten alchemists. There was another professor named M. Waldman. He commended the power and ability of philosophers. It was then that I decided I wanted to explore the deepest mysteries of creation. Later that day, I paid M. Waldman a visit. He respected the alchemists that I previously studied. He recommended a list of books to procure. This would dictate my destiny.

If your wish is to become really a man of science and not merely a petty experimentalist, I should advise you to apply to every branch of natural philosophy, including mathematics. – M. Waldman

Chemistry became my sole occupation. I read voraciously on this area and attended many lectures. Waldman was a true friend. My progress was rapid and that pleased Waldman. In 2 years, I made progress of chemical instruments. I was always fascinated by the human frame. I made a conscious effort to focus on areas of physiology. This involved study in the natural decay of the human body. Finally, after much study, I observed an astonishing secret. It was scary to learn the potential powers of my discovery. I contemplated how I should use this knowledge. I decided to make the creature 8 feet tall and began preparing the necessary materials. During this period, I was often deep in concentration. To me, passion could be allowed to interfere with domestic affairs to some extent. Despite the long hours, I persevered as I could see an end in sight.

In other studies you go as far as others have gone before you, and there is nothing more to know; but in a scientific pursuit there is continual food for discovery and wonder. – Victor Frankenstein

After days and nights of incredible labour and fatigue, I succeeded in discovering the cause of generation and life; nay, more, I became myself capable of bestowing animation upon lifeless matter. – Victor Frankenstein

I thought that if I could bestow animation upon lifeless matter, I might in process of time renew life where death had apparently devoted the body to corruption. – Victor Frankenstein

I started feeling a little anxious now. Finally the yellow eye of the creature opened. I was utterly disappointed as it was hideous. I worked hard for 2 years and this was the result. I felt utterly disgusted. Even in my sleep, I was disturbed by a bad dream. The creature visited me one day and he uttered some inarticulate sounds. I fled downstairs. I felt constantly weak and in fear. I met Henry Clerval on the streets one day. It was a big relief to have finally met him again. He remarked that I looked extremely pale. The creature was still in my apartment. I examined the apartment and was convinced that the creature was not inside before inviting Henry to explore. Henry took care of me for the next few months. In reality I was extremely ill. Finally, I gradually started to recover and felt grateful for Henry’s presence.

Elizabeth wrote me a letter. She mentioned about the state of affairs back home and wanted me to return. The family admitted a girl named Justine as a servant back home. She was a very grateful girl. All her other siblings had passed on. However, Justine was a clever and gentle girl. William was my cousin. Elizabeth urged me to write a letter back home. I introduced Henry to the professors. The mere sight of a chemical instrument would be a huge turn-off. My room was also transformed. Waldman could sense my detest for science now. Henry was keener on literary pursuits than on science. I was due to return to Geneva at the end of autumn. I was fully recovered by then. Spirits were high now as Henry and I took a tour of the University grounds.

Dad wrote me a letter now. William died and was murdered. Ernest was William’s brother and they were playing. Later my dad found him on the grass, with the print of the murder’s finger on his neck. We have no traces of the murderer. My Dad wanted me to head home and comfort Elizabeth. My dad was Alphonese Frankenstein. I was deeply upset after reading the letter. I made up my mind to return to Geneva. Later, when I was back in Geneva, I caught a glimpse of the creature I had created again. Could he have murdered William? I could not doubt that he was the murderer. It was pouring heavily. It had been 2 years since I first created him. Later on, I entered father’s house. Should I chase the creature I created? The murderer had been discovered. Ernest suspected Justine to be the murderer. Justine acted really strange and this aroused suspicion amongst others. I was convinced that she was innocent. Elizabeth felt there was some mistake in the way she was charged.

The trial was about to commence. Justine was calm and beautiful. There were some strange facts that night which were against her. That day, Justine had visited her aunt at Chene, a village near Geneva. According to her account, after that a man told her that a boy was missing and she went about hunting for him. Elizabeth strongly defended Justine in court. She had always been very helpful and loyal at home. I was agonized by proceedings. Justine was condemned and charged. I went really sick in the heart. Elizabeth and I visited Justine in prison. We were all curious as to why she confessed. Justine grew resigned to her fate. Later, she was sentenced to death. I felt deeply guilty inside. In a short span of time, William and Justine died.

Nothing is more painful to the human mind than, after the feelings have been worked up by a quick succession of events, the dead calmness of inaction and certainty which follows and deprives the soul both of hope and fear. – Victor Frankenstein

I was still alive. I felt like an evil spirit now. I was tormented by guilt and remorse. Solitude was my only consolation. I desperately tried to hide my feelings from my dad. Later, I discovered I liked sailing out in the sea so that I could reflect on life. I was fearful that the creature would cause other forms of harm. Now, I thought about killing him. Grief was taking a toll on dad and Elizabeth. I was the true murderer. She advised me to banish any dark thoughts. Being in the mountains gave me a feeling of safety. Finally I arrived at the village of Chamounix.

Do your duty towards me, and I will do mine towards you and the rest of mankind. If you will comply with my conditions, I will leave them and you at peace; but if you refuse, I will glut the maw of death, until it be satiated with the blood of your remaining friends. – The Creature

I continued exploring the valley. Looking at nature temporarily relived me of grief. I started my ascent up the mountain. Later, there was a man heading to me at superhuman speed. It seemed to be the creature I created. I felt an overwhelming rage inside of me. He could speak now. He was also furious and wanted me to follow his conditions. I leapt at him but he easily evaded it. The creature wanted me to treat him as an equal. He wanted me to make him happy so that he would be virtuous again. He admitted that he was good and compassionate. He complained that everyone hated him. The creature was irked that I wanted to destroy him. Later on, it wanted me to listen to him and then make a judgment. I complied with him and we moved to another location.

The creature began telling his tale. He recalled his past. He sought refuge at a forest. To satisfy his hunger, he ate berries. Later, he felt pained and wept. The creature was fascinated with the moon. Nature was attractive to the creature. Soon, he learnt the power of perceiving. Through observation, he learnt how to start a fire. However, most of the time, food was scarce. Later, I entered a hut and the old man fled when he saw me. I was fascinated by the hut as it shielded from the elements. The children all shrieked and women fainted. Many of them attacked me with stones etc. Later, I managed to arrange my own dwelling. It was like a paradise compared to the forest. He witnessed some events in a house. The young man carried some wood on his shoulders.

The family headed to rest. I could not sleep and longed to join them. I thought that I would simply observe them. I was impressed by the love they showed each other. However, there were times when the old man was unhappy. I realized that poverty was a cause for sadness. Their food was not very nutritious. One day, I brought wood out of them and they were impressed. Later, I observed that people communicated via sounds. Soon, I managed to pick up some of the language on my own. Agatha and Felix were amongst the people in the family. Later, I took to reading to understand the language better. I utterly detested how I looked. I wanted to understand why Felix and Agatha was so sad. I felt like it was my job to restore happiness.

I found that these people possessed a method of communicating their experience and feelings to one another by articulate sounds. I perceived that the words they spoke sometimes produced pleasure or pain, smiles or sadness, in the minds and countenances of the hearers. This was indeed a godlike science, and I ardently desired to become acquainted with it. – The Creature

He continued on with his story. There a lady on horseback and a countryman who knocked on their door. Felix was delighted when he saw the guest. Felix embraced her affectionately. The lady spoke in a language that the family didn’t understand. All of them could play lovely music. Safie was always gay and happy nowadays. Later, I overheard them reading a book on religion and politics and I learnt something new. Every conversation opened new doors for me. I began to understand what class was. I wondered whether I was a monster that everyone shunned? I began to question my identity. I had no friends and relations. The story of the cottagers fascinated me.

De Lacey was the old man. The father of Safie caused ruin to their family. Felix received a lot of lovely letters from this lovely girl. It was about a story where the Turk escaped. Later De Lacey and Agatha were convicted of a crime. Felix was hurt by the turn of events in the past.

My person was hideous and my stature gigantic. What did this mean? Who was I? What was I? Whence did I come? What was my destination? These questions continually recurred, but I was unable to solve them. – The Creature

I learnt from this story about the virtues and vices of mankind. To me, crime was clearly an evil. There was one evening when I saw several articles of dress and books on the ground. I brought them to my hovel. I was delighted to study them. I was fascinated by the lessons in these books. One of the books I read was Paradise Lost. I was different from Adam as I was wretched and helpless. Satan fitted my condition more. Later I retrieved your papers from your lab and started to read them. I hoped the villagers would like me for my personality. I waited for a few months before deciding to look for them. Safie was the source of happiness for the family. Autumn passed. The villagers were not affected by the seasons of the weather and remained happy. I decided to enter the house when only De Lacey was in so that I would not frighten everyone. Later the old man admitted he was blind and allowed me to enter. We started chatting. However, at that moment, Felix, Safie and Agatha entered the home. Agatha fainted. Safie ran out of the cottage. Felix tore me from his dad. Later, Felix struck me violently with a stick. Gradually, in much reluctance, I left the house.

From that moment I declared everlasting war against the species, and more than all, against him who had formed me and sent me forth to this insupportable misery. – The Creature

Why did I live? Now I was like a wild beast filled with rage. Now I wished to wreck havoc to everything I saw. Later on, I resolved to visit the old man again. That day, the house was empty as apparently they could not afford the rent. Felix was pissed by what he experienced and wanted to leave desperately. This was the last of De Lacey’s family. I turned violent on inanimate objects. I lighted a dry branch of a tree and burned the cottage. Later on, I sought to find my creator in Geneva. It was an arduous trip. During my trip, I saw a girl fall into a rapid stream. Thankfully, I managed to save her and dragged her to shore. Later on, there was a guy and tore the girl from my arms. He fired a shot at me and escaped. This was the reward for helping mankind! I left a miserable life in the woods. 2 months later, I was in Geneva. I was approached by a child along the way. He didn’t seem frightened by me. I wanted to seize him and educate him. Then, he started struggling the moment I grabbed him. I did not want him to return to his dad, Frankenstein. Accidentally, I grabbed his throat to keep him quiet and he died soon after. In his breast pocket, it was portrait of a lovely woman. I was attracted by her looks. Later I framed a girl by placing the portrait into one of her folds of her dress when she was asleep. I wanted my creator to create a companion of the same species and same defects as me.

*Back to Victor’s narrative* I was utterly surprised by what he said. I utterly refused to comply. The creature wanted to take revenge. The creature promised not to hurt mankind if I acceded to his request of creating a female creature. However, I felt that even if there were two of them, they would still wreck havoc. The creature lamented that I was not consistent with what I said. Deep down, I sympathized with him but his ugly appearance caused me to hate him. Eventually, I acceded to his request and started creating a female. It was then that he fled from the mountains. I returned home from the climb and looked haggard.

You must create a female for me with whom I can live in the interchange of those sympathies necessary for my being. This you alone can do, and I demand it of you as a right which you must not refuse to concede. – The Creature

I demand a creature of another sex, but as hideous as myself; the gratification is small, but it is all that I can receive, and it shall content me. It is true, we shall be monsters, cut off from all the world; but on that account we shall be more attached of another. – The Creature

I could collect the courage to commence my work. To do it, I needed to spend a few months studying again. My health deteriorated because I was increasingly upset nowadays. Dad thought I was upset because I couldn’t marry Elizabeth. My dad proposed that we get married immediately. I knew that I had to create the monster first. The thought of destroying the monster crossed my mind. I wanted to visit England to learn about how to create life from inanimate objects. It was set and I would travel to England. I bade the family goodbye. I met Henry along the way and he was always cheerful. I, on the other hand, was despondent and sorrowful. Finally we arrived in London.

Henry was with me for this trip. This journey to seek information was not the most pleasant one. In Henry, I saw the image of my former self. I began collecting the ingredients required to create a new creature. After we left Oxford, we headed to Matlock. Every moment, I was worried that the Creature would wreck havoc on my relatives. I was constantly pricked by my consciousness. In Scotland, I decided to part with Henry and travel alone. I used one of the hills as a place for my labours. I devoted my mornings for work. Part of me was what I was afraid I could create and that it would be extremely hideous again.

I thought about whether the female creature could get along with the first one. Now, I realized that the monsters might breed and future generations of humans might hate me. I glanced up and saw the creature gazing at me. Yes, he had followed me closely and didn’t lose trail. He looked sinister enough and I resolved not to work on my creature anymore. Later, there were footsteps at the door. It was the creature. I admitted that I did break my promise. The creature continued to threaten to inflict harm. He promised to be with me on my wedding night. Now, the creature fled. That night, I received a letter from Henry. I decided that I wanted to join me and had to leave the island in two days. I had created half a creature but ended up destroying it. I cleaned up the chemicals and apparatus. Now, my thoughts were clear and then I would not create another creature like him. I began sailing towards land. There was a man who was killed last night and I was the suspect now.

Remember that I have power, you believe yourself miserable, but I can make you so wretched that the light of day will be hateful to you. You are my creator, but I am your master; Obey! – The Creature

Have my murderous machinations deprived you also, my dearest Henry, of life? Two I have already destroyed; other victims await their destiny; but you, Clerval, my friend, my benefactor… Victor Frankenstein

I went to meet a magistrate now and he demanded answers from me. Some men were fishing and discovered a dead body along the beach. His body was not wet. He appeared to be a young man around 25 years of age and he was strangled. Before his death, there was a boat with a man in it. I was one of the suspects. I shuddered and agonized when I saw the body. It was Henry Clerval. I fell ill with a fever and thought that I was a murderer. I thought that it would be better if I had died in that instance. 2 months later, I found myself prison. I suffered a mental breakdown. There was a nurse placed there to aid with my recovery. Life was so surreal, just like a dream. Mr Kirwin was very kind to me. There were thoughts of confessing in front of the court. Mr Kirwin suspected some higher being was responsible for causing Henry’s death. He kept in contact with my dad these 2 months. Suddenly, my dad appeared and I was very relieved to see him. The image of Clerval constantly haunted me. Later on, I was freed and not charged because there was no evidence against me. Elizabeth and Ernest were still safe. I knew I had to return Geneva soon. My dad took me back to Geneva. Deep inside, I still felt incredibly miserable. I imagined being strangled by the fiend.

The voyage finally ended. Dad didn’t know about the monster yet. I kept experiencing feelings of guilt. My dad thought I was deranged when I mentioned about the creature I created. Later on, I received a letter from Elizabeth. She was looking forward to receive me in Geneva. She wanted to know if I loved her. She confessed in her letter than she loved me. I imagined the fiend on my wedding night trying to destroy me. I vowed not to allow the fiend to affect my mood and would proceed with the marriage. I finally returned to Geneva and hugged her. Thoughts of the fiend appeared again and haunted me. I was ready for my fate and set the wedding date to 10 days from now. Elizabeth and I started preparing for the wedding. We agreed to head to Villa Lavenza after the wedding to celebrate. Where ever I went, I carried a pistol and dagger. The ceremony was over and everything went smoothly. We observed the scenery of Mouth Blanc. I could sense that Elizabeth was uneasy and did not act herself.

Life is obstinate and clings closest where it is most hated. For a moment only did I lose recollection; I fell senseless on the ground. – Victor Frankenstein

We walked on the shore for a long period of time. Suddenly, there was a heavy storm. I desperately clutched on to the pistol in case anything happened. I discovered no trace of the monster. Later, I heard a scream from the room and immediately went to investigate. Elizabeth was lifeless and inanimate already. The monster was nowhere in sight. Elizabeth ceased to exist. The murderous mark was on her neck. As I glanced outside the window, I saw the hideous creature grinning. I fired a shot at him but he managed to evade and escaped. Many of us tried to chase him, but it was all in vain. I feared for the safety of my remaining loved ones. With such fear, I headed back to Geneva. ‘Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change.’ My friends were all snatched away from me one by one. I didn’t think the fiend could live with all that guilt. Thoughts of revenge crossed my mind. I vowed to seek out the murderer. The magistrate thought that I wouldn’t stand a chance as the fiend was a lot fitter than me. I suspected that the fiend might be hiding in the Alps. Revenge was the only passion of my soul.

To you first entering on life, to whom care is new and agony unknown, how can you understand what I have felt and still feel? – Victor Frankenstein

Are you mad, my friend? Or whither does your senseless curiosity lead you? Would you also create for yourself and the world a demoniacal enemy? Peace, peace! Learn my miseries and do not seek to increase your own. – Victor Frankenstein

The thoughts of revenge kept me going. I left Geneva and sought out my enemy. Dad passed on due to overwhelming grief. I visited the tomb of William, Elizabeth and dad. I prayed for the spirits to help me with my endeavor. Then the creature appeared but constantly appeared elusive. Later, the creature hid in a vessel bound for the black sea. In sleep, I dreamt of my loved ones and felt good again. The creature left traces that indicated that he sought the everlasting ices of the North. He continued to challenge me. It was bitterly cold now and it was snowing. It was increasing hard to find food as well. I finally came upon the ocean. I finally procured a sledge and dogs and could travel on snow at a rapid speed. With this tool, I managed to gain some distance on him. This was the third week into my journey. After a long time, I caught sight of another sledge. One of my dogs had passed on. A storm was still in sight and tracking him was increasingly difficult. The storm caused several of my dogs to fall in the icy water and die. Later, I saw your vessel and clung on to it with dear life. Your boat was heading northwards. I knew my search was over. I didn’t want to be selfish and lead the men to undertake my pilgrimage for me. Walton was now writing to his sister. Victor was too weak to continue his tale. I, Walton, believed that the monster existed. I was not in the right position to counsel someone so depressed. Victor enjoyed the remaining solitude. He used to have big ambitious dreams but everything was crushed when he created the monster. To him, nothing could replace Henry and Elizabeth. Victor had the power to lift the morale of the crew with his stories. Our vessel was still surrounded by ice and it was dangerous to travel. Victor was becoming increasing weak. The men wanted me to direct the vessel southwards. He chided the men for being cowardly and not appreciating what it was like to die for honour. He wanted us to return to home as heroes. I wanted to continue but was prepared to listen to my men as well. The crew decided to return to England.

Victor started to reflect upon his life and did not find he could blame his past conduct. He felt he was right not to create a female alternative to the creature. He urged me to avoid ambitions in science and seek tranquility instead. I was deeply upset by Victor’s death. Victor passed on. After a while, I returned to his resting place and saw this gigantic creature. After he saw me, he wanted desperately to leave. I persuaded him to stay. Although I was supposed to kill him, I approached him with curiosity. The creature pitied Victor and he started hating himself as well. The more he killed, the more the creature seemed to embrace evil. The fallen angel became a malignant devil. The creature destroyed Victor but did not satisfy his own desires. The Creature wanted to continue heading up north so that he could die. Death was the only place where he could find peace. The creature leapt out of the vessel, never to be seen again.

What do you mean? What do you demand of your captain? Are you, then, so easily turned from your design? Did you not call this a glorious expedition? – Victor Frankenstein

Oh! Be men, or be more than men. Be steady to your purposes and firm as a rock. This ice is not made of such staff as your hearts may be; it is mutable and cannot withstand you if you say that it shall not. – Victor Frankenstein

Do return to England, if you will; but I will not. You may give up your purpose, but mine is assigned to me by heaven, and I dare not. I am weak, but surely the spirits who assist my vengeance will endow me with sufficient strength. – Victor Frankenstein

I am content to suffer alone while my sufferings shall endure; when I die, I am well satisfied that abhorrence and opprobrium should load my memory. – The Creature

For while I destroyed Victor’s hopes, I did not satisfy my own desires. They were forever ardent and craving; still I desired love and fellowship, and I was still spurned. Was there no injustice in this? Am I to be thought the only criminal, when all humankind sinned against me? – The Creature

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