Frankenstein Book Summary | Mary Shelley

Frankenstein Summary & Quotes, it is an 1818 novel written by English author Mary Shelley. Frankenstein tells the story of Victor Frankenstein, a young scientist who creates a sapient creature in an unorthodox scientific experiment.

Shelley started writing the story when she was 18, and the first edition was published anonymously in London on 1 January 1818, when she was 20. Her name first appeared in the second edition, which was published in Paris in 1821.


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Frankenstein Summary

Frankenstein Summary

Frankenstein opens with a frame story, told in first-person narrative from the point of view of Robert Walton. Walton is writing to his sister as he prepares to hire a ship to explore the North Pole, a boyhood dream. He expresses cautious excitement to discover parts of the world never before seen.

One day, he and his crew save a man nearly frozen to death on the ice—Victor Frankenstein. Walton immediately takes a liking to Frankenstein, who despite his melancholy appears kind and well bred. When Walton tells him about his desire for knowledge and glory, Frankenstein tells his own story so Walton might take a lesson from his life.

The novel then moves into the first-person perspective of Victor Frankenstein. Frankenstein is from Geneva. After enjoying an idyllic childhood, he goes to university in Ingolstadt, Germany, to pursue his interest in the natural sciences. After voracious study, he learns the secret of creating life. He is excited by the idea that he alone knows the answer to a question that has baffled scientists.

Frankenstein embarks on the dark task of creating a living being. When the creature awakens, Frankenstein, horrified by his grotesque appearance, abandons him.

Henry Clerval, Frankenstein's childhood friend, surprises him by arriving in Ingolstadt to join him at the university. When Frankenstein falls into a fever, Clerval nurses him back to health. Frankenstein is devastated when a letter from his father reveals that his youngest brother, William, was murdered and a young woman who grew up in the Frankenstein’s home, Justine Moritz, is accused of killing him. Frankenstein returns home, where Justine, though innocent, is executed. Frankenstein is sure the creature killed William and framed Justine, and he feels responsible for their deaths. He is also furious with the creature for causing this misery.

To soothe his despair, Frankenstein embarks on a solitary tour through the mountains. When the creature suddenly appears, Frankenstein threatens to kill him. The creature attempts to explain that his nature was once good, but loneliness and misery led him to commit monstrous acts. He also chastises Frankenstein for abandoning him and promises that if Frankenstein listens to his story and fulfills a request, he will leave humankind forever.

Frankenstein accompanies him to a hut, where the creature relates how he was abandoned immediately upon awakening. He spent his first nights cold and alone in the forest. He tried several times to communicate with humans but was rejected and attacked each time. He took refuge in a hovel belonging to some poor cottagers, whom he secretly observed for many months, learning their ways and growing to love them. He also performed anonymous acts of kindness for them. When he finally mustered the courage to try to speak with them, they attacked. At this point, the creature waged war on mankind.

When the creature encountered William, he hoped that the child’s innocence would prevent William from being prejudiced against the creature, but the child screamed in fear. When the creature realized he was Frankenstein’s brother, he killed him and framed Justine. The creature tells Frankenstein that he must create a female companion as hideous as the creature. If he refuses, the creature will kill the rest of Frankenstein’s loved ones.

Though furious, Frankenstein believes he has an obligation to the creature. He returns home, where he becomes engaged to Elizabeth Lavenza, his parents’ foster child who he grew up believing he would marry. Frankenstein and Clerval travel together to Scotland, where Frankenstein, touring alone, finds a remote hut to create the creature’s companion. However, when he is almost finished, he destroys her, fearing that she will be dangerous. The creature is wild with rage and promises to be with Frankenstein on his wedding night.

Frankenstein sails onto the sea to dispose of the companion’s remains. When his boat washes ashore in Ireland, he is arrested for the murder of Clerval, whose body was found the day before. After his release, he returns home, and he and Elizabeth marry. She is murdered by the creature on their wedding, and Frankenstein’s father later dies from despair.

Frankenstein dedicates his life to finding and destroying the creature. He begins a long chase, with the creature leading him farther and farther north, taunting him with messages saying he will make him suffer before killing him. He had been searching for him still when Walton found him on the ice.

The story returns to Walton’s perspective. Frankenstein asks him to promise to kill the creature and then dies. After Frankenstein’s death, Walton finds the creature watching over his body. The creature expresses remorse and reiterates to Walton that he only committed crimes out of desperation and loneliness. He says he intends to take his own life by setting himself on fire, then leaves the ship.

You may also like to read: Heart of Darkness Summary

Frankenstein Quotes

  • “Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change.”
  • “Beware; for I am fearless, and therefore powerful.”
  • “Life, although it may only be an accumulation of anguish, is dear to me, and I will defend it.”
  • “There is something at work in my soul, which I do not understand.”
  • “If I cannot inspire love, I will cause fear!”.
  • “I ought to be thy Adam, but I am rather the fallen angel...”
  • “There is love in me the likes of which you've never seen. There is rage in me the likes of which should never escape. If I am not satisfied int he one, I will indulge the other.”
  • “... the companions of our childhood always possess a certain power over our minds which hardly any later friend can obtain.”
  • “How mutable are our feelings, and how strange is that clinging love we have of life even in the excess of misery!”.
  • “The world to me was a secret, which I desired to discover; to her it was a vacancy, which she sought to people with imaginations of her own.”
  • “It is true, we shall be monsters, cut off from all the world; but on that account we shall be more attached to one another.”
  • “When falsehood can look so like the truth, who can assure themselves of certain happiness?”
  • “I was benevolent and good; misery made me a fiend. Make me happy, and I shall again be virtuous.”
  • “The fallen angel becomes a malignant devil. Yet even that enemy of God and man had friends and associates in his desolation; I am alone.”
  • “I have love in me the likes of which you can scarcely imagine and rage the likes of which you would not believe. If I cannot satisfy the one, I will indulge the other.”
  • “The whole series of my life appeared to me as a dream; I sometimes doubted if indeed it were all true, for it never presented itself to my mind with the force of reality.”
  • “Man," I cried, "how ignorant art thou in thy pride of wisdom!”.
  • “With how many things are we on the brink of becoming acquainted, if cowardice or carelessness did not restrain our inquiries.”
  • “Listen to me, Frankenstein. You accuse me of murder; and yet you would, with a satisfied conscience, destroy your own creature. Oh, praise the eternal justice of man!”.
  • “The world was to me a secret which I desired to devine.”


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Frankenstein Plot Summary

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Frankenstein Mary Shelley Summary

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Frankenstein Chapter Summaries

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Frankenstein Synopsis

Questions about Frankenstein Plot

What is the main message of Frankenstein? The main message that Frankenstein conveys is the danger in the pursuit of knowledge and advancement in Science and Technology. In the novel we see Victor try to push forward the limits of science by creating a creature from old body parts. The creation of the creature backfired on Victor once the monster escaped.

What is the Short summary of Frankenstein ending? At the end of Frankenstein, Victor Frankenstein dies wishing that he could destroy the Monster he created. The Monster visits Frankenstein's body. He tells Walton that he regrets the murders he has committed and that he intends to commit suicide.

What is the main conflict of Frankenstein? The major conflict in Frankenstein revolves around Victor's inability to understand that his actions have repercussions. Victor focuses solely on his own goals and fails to see how his actions might impact other individuals.

What are 3 themes in Frankenstein? Frankenstein, by English author Mary Shelley, tells the story of a monster created by a scientist and explores themes of life, death, and man versus nature.

What Frankenstein teaches us? One message conveyed by Frankenstein is the danger that lies with considering the negative consequences of science and technology after-the-fact, instead of before. More generally speaking, when people neglect to consider the potential negative impacts of their actions, it is a form of willful ignorance.

What is the meaning of Frankenstein? a monster in the shape of a man especially in popularized versions of the Frankenstein story. : a monstrous creation. especially : a work or agency that ruins its originator.

Why did Frankenstein create the monster? Victor creates the monster in hopes of achieving glory and remembrance through his contributions to scientific advancement. However, he does not ever consider the many implications involved with the creation of life.

What is ironic about the ending of Frankenstein? ' The monster kills Victor's bride, Elizabeth, on their wedding night as the last and most hateful act of revenge on Victor. Victor refuses to give the monster a bride, so the monster takes away Victor's. The irony here is that Victor has changed the nature of the family itself.

What is irony in Frankenstein? The best example of irony in the novel is that Victor, who aims to create life, brings death to his family. Further, Victor, the creature's maker, does not take care of it and leaves. Irony makes Mary Shelley's Frankenstein a valuable piece of literature with a hidden meaning.

Who is the protagonist of Frankenstein? Victor Frankenstein is Mary Shelley's protagonist (not to be confused with the monster) in her novel, Frankenstein.

Who killed William in Frankenstein? William is murdered by the Creature, who discovers that he is a relation of Frankenstein, and Justine Moritz is framed for the murder.

Why is Frankenstein so important? 'Frankenstein' is not only the first creation story to use scientific experimentation as its method, but it also presents a framework for narratively examining the morality and ethics of the experiment and experimenter.

Is Frankenstein a Romantic novel? Frankenstein by Mary Shelley is a science fiction novel, but it is also a Romantic work.

What are 3 Gothic elements in Frankenstein? Gothic Elements in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. There are numerous gothic elements in Frankenstein, including wild and exotic settings, the dark secret carried by the main character, the looming threat of the monster, and the destruction of the family.

What are the symbols in Frankenstein? Mary Shelley makes use of gothic symbolism in Frankenstein. The most prominent symbols in the novel are light, darkness, Adam, Satan, and fire. They reflect the most important themes and concepts of the book. For the same reason, Shelley often resorts to allusions.

How is Frankenstein a feminist novel? One of the most obvious examples of feminism in Frankenstein is the creation of the monster itself. When Victor Frankenstein dares to subvert the laws of nature, using science alone to harness the powers of life, he essentially violates the laws of maternity. He omits the mother entirely.

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