This article by Custom-Writing.org experts contains the description of Frankenstein’s characters: Victor Frankenstein character traits, the Monster, Robert Walton, Henry Clerval, and others. In the first section, you’ll find a Frankenstein character map.
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🗺️ Frankenstein: Character Map
Below you’ll find a character map of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.
👨🔬 Victor Frankenstein
Victor should be the first in the Frankenstein character list, without a doubt. As the narrator and protagonist of the novel, he appears to be the trigger of all the tragic events. Moreover, he is the representation of the destructive power of human ambition.
The young man has an unhealthy obsession with the secrets of nature. In his attempts to solve this mystery, he creates a horrifying monster. He comes to realize that his creation is nothing more than the destroyer of his life and the lives of his loved ones. The fact deeply hurts his mind, body, and soul.
The irony is that Victor willingly isolates himself, while the Monster never wanted this loneliness. This rejection creates a vicious cycle of guilt and destruction. As the Monster swears revenge on Victor, the latter does the same in return. By the end of the story, Victor Frankenstein appears to have become the creation he hated and despised so much.
Victor Frankenstein: Quotes
In spite of the intense labour and wonderful discoveries of modern philosophers, I always came from my studies discontented and unsatisfied. Sir Isaac Newton is said to have avowed that he felt like a child picking up shells beside the great and unexplored ocean of truth.Frankenstein,
Life and death appeared to me ideal bounds, which I should first break through, and pour a torrent of light into our dark world. A new species would bless me as its creator and source; many happy and excellent natures would owe their being to me.Frankenstein,
I was formed for peaceful happiness… But I am a blasted tree; the bolt has entered my soul; and I felt then that I should survive to exhibit what I shall soon cease to be – a miserable spectacle of wrecked humanity, pitiable to others and intolerable to myself.Frankenstein,
Farewell, Walton! Seek happiness in tranquillity and avoid ambition, even if it be only the apparently innocent one of distinguishing yourself in science and discoveries.Frankenstein: Walton.
👹 The Monster
To the immense frustration of fans of the book (and even just those who know better), it is becoming more and more common to see the Monster mistakenly referred to as Frankenstein. However, he remains the nameless creation of Victor Frankenstein.
Originally gentle and kind, the only thing he wishes for is to be accepted. The Monster has such a hideous appearance that he becomes alienated and forced into exile. Some of Frankenstein’s Monster’s quotes highlight his misery. Since all anyone sees in the Monster is an ugly evil creature, he decides to become one. His anger and despair are so powerful that he impulsively kills William. One of the key lessons from the story is that the horrible events would have been prevented if people weren’t judging the Monster by his appearance.
As the reader finds out later, the Monster becomes one of the first Frankenstein characters to fall victim to Victor’s desires. After all, Victor’s initial prejudice causes the Monster’s character development to go wrong. All of that creates a dilemma for the readers. Who is the protagonist and who is the antagonist in Mary Shelley’s story?
Frankenstein’s Monster: Quotes
I have wandered here many days; the caves of ice, which I only do not fear, are a dwelling to me, and the only one which man does not grudge. These bleak skies I hail, for they are kinder to me than your fellow beings.Frankenstein,
Cursed, cursed creator! Why did I live? Why, in that instant, did I not extinguish the spark of existence which you had so wantonly bestowed?Frankenstein,
I am alone and miserable; man will not associate with me; but one as deformed and horrible as myself would not deny herself to me. My companion must be of the same species and have the same defects. This being you must create.Frankenstein,
Light, feeling, and sense will pass away; and in this condition must I find my happiness.Frankenstein: Walton.
🧔 Robert Walton
Robert Walton quotes Victor’s story to the reader and is, therefore, the one who passes this fantastic story into the world. In his letters to his sister, Margaret Saville, he talks about his expedition stuck in the ice.
Robert rescues Victor from the cold of the North Pole and takes him onto his ship. However, he doesn’t play any significant role during the development of the novel. Instead, he mostly listens to Victor’s version of events and then replays them to Margaret (and the reader).
A parallel can be drawn between Robert and Victor’s character traits. The example is Robert’s eagerness for exploration of this world and Victor’s obsession with the secrets of life. However, at other times their actions appear to contradict each other.
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Robert Walton: Quotes
I am already far north of London, and as I walk in the streets of Petersburgh, I feel a cold northern breeze play upon my cheeks, which braces my nerves and fills me with delight.Frankenstein:
“I said in one of my Letters, my dear Margaret, that I should find no friend on the wide ocean; yet I have found a man who, before his spirit had been broken by misery, I should have been happy to have possessed as the brother of my heart.Frankenstein:
How all this will terminate, I know not, but I had rather die than return shamefully, my purpose unfulfilled. Yet I fear such will be my fate; the men, unsupported by ideas of glory and honour, can never willingly continue to endure their present hardships.Frankenstein: Walton.
👨 Henry Clerval
On Frankenstein’s character map, Henry Clerval takes quite an important position. He is a childhood friend of Victor, continuing to support him throughout the whole story. Victor finds much comfort in his loyal companion. Victor Frankenstein’s quotes tell quite a lot about their friendship.
Henry is also charmed by the development of this world, believing that hard work pays off. However, unlike Victor, his ambition doesn’t cross the line. Some of Henry’s quotes might shed light upon his personality.
Henry Clerval: Quotes
“I have seen the mountains of La Valais, and the Pays de Vaud; but this country, Victor, pleases me more than all those wonders. The mountains of Switzerland are more majestic and strange, but there is a charm in the banks of this divine river that I never before saw equalled.” (Frankenstein, chapter 18)
🎭 Other Characters in Frankenstein
Elizabeth Lavenza, the adopted child of the Frankenstein family, plays a vital role in the story. After the death of Victor’s mother, Elizabeth takes her place in caring about him. She plays many roles in his life, fulfilling the relations of wife, sister, mother, and friend. That is why, when the Monster kills Elizabeth, Victor feels so empty.
Despite her prominent role, Elizabeth is one of the less developed characters in Frankenstein. Her character description is, in fact, quite vague. She is described more as Victor’s possession. Victor doesn’t even suppose that she might be killed on their wedding night instead of him. It shows how rarely he considers her.
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Alphonse Frankenstein appears as Victor’s father and also quite a prominent public figure, a magistrate. The readers can see how much love there is in his heart. He is always the one to remind Victor about the vital role of the family. His belief in the power of family and society stays with him till his last day.
Tragically, he dies after finding out about Elizabeth’s murder. Due to his age, he is probably already weakened by some illness. He is too depressed and devastated to live with it.
Caroline Beaufort Frankenstein
Caroline Beaufort Frankenstein has all the traits of a perfect mother and wife: loving, kind, smart, and generous. Caroline’s heart is big enough not only for charity work but also for adoption, hence she takes Elizabeth into her family. Unfortunately, she dies of scarlet fever when Victor is about to leave for Ingolstadt.
Ernest Frankenstein is the younger son of Alphonse and Caroline. Victor describes him as being his “pupil” since the boy is six years younger. It appears that Ernest has been ill for most of his life. By the end of the story, however, he is the only family member who remains alive.
William is the youngest of the three Frankenstein brothers, greatly loved by everyone in the novel. However, he is found strangled in the woods, murdered at the hands of the Monster. Victor is deeply traumatized by this first sacrifice in what turns out to be a long chain of sacrifices.
M. Waldman is the chemistry professor and the motivator of Victor’s interest in science. He doesn’t believe in the conclusions made by alchemists of the past as they are not based on facts. M. Waldman answers some of Victor’s questions about life and encourages him to continue on his educational path.
Justine Moritz is a kind and gentle girl who is adopted by the Frankenstein family. She is unjustly tried and executed for the murder of William. Even though the whole family believes she’s innocent, she can’t escape the punishment. Victor is plagued by guilt over her death as he created the Monster and indirectly kills the girl.
The DeLacey family are not the main Frankenstein’s characters, but they play their role. It comprises an old man and his two children, Felix and Agatha. There is also Safie, a foreign woman of Arabic appearance who, going against her religion, wants to be with Felix. The Monster learns to speak after watching the lectures she receives from the DeLacey family. However, they reject him just like everyone else does.
We hope that the above analysis of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein characters is useful. If you want to learn more about the meaning of the novel, check out Frankenstein Themes and Symbols sections. And if you’re looking for exciting essay ideas on the story, please read this article.