In a work of fiction, a writer uses different characters to evolve a story and convey his idea through their personality. Sometimes they become mouthpieces of writers’ philosophical outlook toward life or society and also reflect their dreams and futuristic visions. Frankenstein’s characters show a futuristic vision of Mary Shelley. Some of the major characters of Frankenstein have been analyzed below.
Characters in Frankenstein
Victor Frankenstein is a major character from Naples, studying at the University of Ingolstadt in Geneva. While studying with a reputed Professor Waldman, he becomes aware of the creation of the process of life. He has studied all the chemistry-related literature at the university, ultimately cultivating a keen interest in “the elixir of life.” Finally, he succeeds in creating the Creature (Frankenstein’s monster). The Creature requests Victor to create a female companion for him, and Victor denies his request. Knowing he created evil, Victor runs away. The Creature kills Victor’s best friend, framing him for his murder. After Elizabeth’s murder before his wedding, he vows to take revenge but fails. Finally, he meets Robert Walton and dies after narrating his story.
The Creature / Frankenstein’s Monster
He is the second most important character and is Victor Frankenstein’s creation. He is created through an experiment when finding “the elixir of life”. Though he is portrayed as an antagonist, he is actually sensitive and emotional. The Creature becomes lonely and begs Victor to create a female companion for him. He then kills Victor’s friend, fiancée, and others because he feels isolated and rejected. During his escape, he meets a poor family where he takes refuge. He helps that family, but they demonstrate hatred when they see him in reality. Finally, he regrets his actions in the end and feels sorrow over his creator’s death and disappears, vowing to end his own life.
Robert Walton is the third important character in the novel. The novel starts with his letter written to his sister, Mrs. Saville. He states that he is a stubborn person and that his resolution of going on expeditions makes him happy. Working as a captain of a ship, he meets Victor at the end of the novel. Victor then narrates his story to the captain who shares everything with his sister through letters. Walton feels depressed after seeing the death of a great scientist, and writes about the works of Victor and his death to his sister in England. In fact, Walton works as a conduit to tell the story of the Creature and Victor.
Although Alphonse Frankenstein is not a very important character, he plays an important role as the father of Victor Frankenstein. He has another son William and an adopted daughter Justine Moritz. The success of Victor in studies and in creating a new life lies with his father who has worked very hard to send him to Ingolstadt, the best university of that time. Alphonse, however, has to face great tragedies, first William’s murder and then hanging of Justine Moritz on the charges of that murder. Finally, when Victor’s wife is murdered by the Creature, Alphonse dies, of a broken heart.
The character of Elizabeth Lavenza is very interesting, as she is Victor’s adopted cousin, but she becomes his wife. She has taken care of Victor after the death of his mother, Caroline. They regularly exchange letters when he is at the university and both plan to marry at the behest of his father, Alphonse Victor. However, Victor enters the room on his wedding night and sees Elizabeth being killed by the Creature.
Henry Clerval is one of the best friends of Victor. According to Victor, Henry Clerval is not very scientific or intelligent but good enough to pass through the university. His fondness and love for Victor could be judged from his death that the Creature has caused to increase Victor’s agony. After Clerval is killed by the Creature, Victor is accused of his murder until he is acquitted with the help of a lawyer.
The youngest brother and the most beloved of the family, a young boy with “dimpled cheeks”. Elizabeth and Victor both love William very much. However, he becomes the victim the Creature’s revenge. The Creature kills him to hurt Victor and frames Justine Moritz for his murder. This incident causes imprisonment and death of Justine Moritz which devastates Victor.
Justine Moritz is an adopted daughter in the Frankenstein family. The family never belittles her, and her role is always critical. It is shown that Victor’s mother loved her very much too. However, the tragic incident leads to her untimely death, when she is framed for murdering William by the Creature. When she is sentenced to death, Victor mourns the loss.
Caroline Beaufort is the mother of Victor and William and wife of Alphonse Frankenstein. Although her appearance is very brief in the story, she has an important role to play that she adopts Elizabeth and becomes a foster mother to Justine Moritz. It is Caroline’s dying wish that Victor should marry Elizabeth after completing his education. However, this wish is never fulfilled, as Elizabeth becomes the victim of the Creature on her wedding night. She, however, had already died of fever long before the adverse events start.
De Lacey, Felix, and Agatha
DeLacey family live in extreme poverty but shower love, care, and sympathy towards each other. When the Creature leaves Victor, he observes hatred everywhere. Later, he builds a shelter for himself away from the city and observes this family. He also longs for the same love and care until a new family member, Safie, the beloved of Felix, arrives. He learns their tale of happiness and suffering but faces rejection when they spot him in their cottage. This encounter further disappoints the Creature. Their presence in the story enhances isolation of other characters such as Victor, the Creature and even Robert Walton.