Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is a classic tale of a man-made monster seeking acceptance from society in light of his ghastly appearance and strange upbringing. With Europe as its backdrop in the 1790’s, the story begins with a series of letters exchanged between Captain Robert Walton and his sister that chronicled the story of a man, Victor Frankenstein, whom he meets on the North Pole.
Frankenstein, loved by many decades of readers and praised by such eminent literary critics, seems hardly to need a recommendation. If you haven't read it recently, though, you may not remember the sweeping force of the prose, the grotesque, surreal imagery, and the multilayered doppelgänger themes of Mary Shelley's masterpiece.
After being rescued from near death, Victor Frankenstein tells Robert Walton the story of his upbringing in a warm Swiss family and his fascination with studying how life was formed. He was an avid, amateur scientist who created a "perfect" human from spare body parts - only to have his plan backfire when the monster turned out to be extremely hideous and unappealing. During a brief study and recovery period with Henry Clerval, his closest friend, Frankenstein’s monster navigated the social scene for human friendship and was turned down again and again. After observing a family living in a small cottage, monster Frankenstein mustered the courage to seek an invite before getting rejected again. The last straw, he ventured out to seek revenge on the person who created him.
During his trip back to Geneva, Switzerland - the monster met Frankenstein’s younger brother and killed him for revenge. After his brother’s death, Frankenstein went back to Geneva and found the monster canvassing the same woods his brother was last seen, coming to the realization the monster was responsible for this brutal act. After a short trip to the mountains, the monster caught up to Frankenstein and ordered him to create a female monster from scratch for companionship. After agreeing, he fled to England to start and scrapped the project midway, citing the possibility of further disarray. Knowing his days were numbered after Henry Clerval’s murder, he hastily married his cousin Elizabeth only to find his new wife killed by the monster later.
After paying a visit to the cemetery to meet with his fallen family members, Victor realizes that his life’s goal from that point forward was to hunt down the monster and kill him. Prior, Victor already determines his fate and goes ahead with his wedding day, knowing the monster would catch up to him. Now, he sought to kill the monster to save humanity from his menace. Victor chases after him throughout Europe and the North Pole, where he temporarily loses track of the monster through a crack in the ice where he also meets Robert Walton and his crew. Ambitious, Victor gives a thorough lecture on how chasing glory was his Achilles heel and the dangerous of being too ambitious, citing "tranquility" as one of life’s goals.
The story ends with Victor’s death a while later and the monster’s cries for forgiveness. After a short contemplation by Robert Walton, who promised to kill him if offered the chance, the monster convinced him otherwise - disappearing back North to be never seen again.
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