Characters In Frankenstein

Frankenstein  Mary Shelley  #

We must remember that character creation is a construct; an artefact and central ones do not necessarily represent the author.  Characters are either portrayed sympathetically or unsympathetically.  The former are called protagonists, heroes or good guys while the latter are antagonists, villains or bad guys.  Sometimes main characters are picaresque – likeable but harmless rogues, larrikins or scoundrels –“loveable rogues”.

Martin Amis points out that over two millennia humans first told stories of Gods, then Kings, then Epic Heroes, then ordinary people , then anti-heroes, then villains, then demons and finally themselves.

Character List

 **Victor Frankenstein ** -  A scientist who dares to dabble in creation of fellow human beings. Studying in Ingolstadt, Victor discovers the secret of life and creates an intelligent but grotesque monster, from whom he recoils in horror.  Frankenstein knows he is toying with danger, but his scientific curiosity compels him to attempt to play God in recreating a human being.  However he is doomed because the creature he creates turns out to be monstrously ugly and unpalatable to others who reject him solely on the basis of his size and appearance.. 

I never saw a more interesting creature: his eyes have generally an expression of wildness, and even madness, but there are moments when, if anyone performs an act of kindness towards him, or does him any the most trifling service, his whole countenance is lighted up, as it were, with a beam of benevolence and sweetness that I never saw equalled. **  (Walton on Frankenstein  - 75) **

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. **(76) **

Even broken in spirit as he is, no one can feel more deeply than he does the beauties of nature. The starry sky, the sea, and every sight afforded by these wonderful regions, seem still to have the power of elevating his soul from earth. Such a man has a double existence: he may suffer misery, and be overwhelmed by disappointments; yet, when he has retired into himself, he will be like a celestial spirit that has a halo around him, within whose circle no grief or folly ventures.*  *** (78) 

Sometimes I have endeavoured to discover what quality it is which he possesses that elevates him so  immeasurably above any other person I ever knew.* *** (78)

The monster -  The eight-foot-tall, hideously ugly creation of Victor Frankenstein. Intelligent and sensitive, the monster attempts to become accepted by  humans  but is rejected due to his appearance.   As a monster  he is more human than he seems at first sight, while the people he meets appear more monstrous.

The effect of this rejection is to make him ant-social and strike out at society especially to Frankenstein and all his loved one.  He finally manages to destroy all the ones  who  Frankenstein loves and derange the scientist himself. as revenge against his creator.


How can I describe my emotions at this catastrophe, or how delineate the wretch whom with such infinite pains and care I had endeavoured to form? His limbs were in proportion, and I had selected his features as beautiful. Beautiful!- Great God! His yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath;  his hair was of a lustrous black, and flowing; his teeth of a pearly whiteness; but these luxuriances only formed a more horrid contrast with his watery eyes, that seemed almost of the same colour as the dun white sockets in which they were set, his shrivelled complexion and straight black lips  (105)

*** **Monster,   demoniacal corpse ,  fiend,  ***

I perceived in the gloom a figure which stole from behind a clump of trees near me; I stood fixed, gazing intently: I could not be mistaken. A flash of lightning illuminated the object, and discovered its shape plainly to me; its gigantic stature, and the deformity of its aspect, more hideous than belongs to humanity, instantly informed me that it was the wretch, the filthy daemon, to whom I had given life. 

**Robert Walton ** - The Arctic seafarer whose letters open and close Frankenstein. Walton picks the bedraggled Victor Frankenstein up off the ice, helps nurse him back to health, and hears Victor’s story. He records the incredible tale in a series of letters addressed to his sister, Margaret Saville, in England. 

Alphonse Frankenstein -  Victor’s father. 

Elizabeth Lavenza -  An orphan, four to five years younger than Victor, whom the Frankensteins adopt. 

**Henry Clerval ** - Victor’s boyhood friend, who nurses Victor back to health in Ingolstadt. After working unhappily for his father, Henry begins to follow in Victor’s footsteps as a scientist. His cheerfulness counters Victor’s moroseness. 

William Frankenstein -  Victor’s youngest brother and the darling of the Frankenstein family. The monster strangles William in the woods outside Geneva in order to hurt Victor for abandoning him. William’s death deeply saddens Victor and burdens him with tremendous guilt about having created the monster. 

Justine Moritz -  A young girl adopted into the Frankenstein household while Victor is growing up. Justine is blamed and executed for William’s murder, which is actually committed by the monster. 

**Caroline Beaufort ** -  The daughter of Beaufort. After her father’s death, Caroline is taken in by, and later marries, Alphonse Frankenstein. She dies of scarlet fever, which she contracts from Elizabeth, just before Victor leaves for Ingolstadt at age seventeen. 

Beaufort -  A merchant and friend of Victor’s father; the father of -Caroline Beaufort. 

Peasants -  A family of peasants, including a blind old man, De Lacey; his son and daughter, Felix and Agatha; and a foreign woman named Safie. The monster learns how to speak and interact by observing them. When he reveals himself to them, hoping for friendship, they beat him and chase him away. 

M. Waldman -  The professor of chemistry who sparks Victor’s interest in science. He dismisses the alchemists’ conclusions as unfounded but sympathizes with Victor’s interest in a science that can explain the “big questions,” such as the origin of life. 

**M. Krempe ** -  A professor of natural philosophy at Ingolstadt. He dismisses Victor’s study of the alchemists as wasted time and encourages him to begin his studies anew. 

**Mr. Kirwin ** - The magistrate who accuses Victor of Henry’s murder.