Frankenstein: An Analysis of Characters

Frankenstein: An Analysis of Characters

Frankenstein is one of the earliest books about science fiction. The author, Mary Shelley, uses different characters to give life to the narrative. Each character has different traits, ambitions, and plays a unique role.

Victor Frankenstein

Victor Frankenstein is the main character of the novel. He grows up in Geneva, reading books on outdated alchemy theories. This knowledge creates an obsession to discover the secret of life. When he enrolls in university at Ingolstadt, he gains knowledge of modern science. In a few years, he creates a hideous creature from old body parts and brings it to life. The monster flees, kills Victor's brother William, his best friend and wife. Mary Shelley uses Frankenstein to represent the risks that come with enlightenment. She also portrays the responsibilities that associate with the acquisition of vast knowledge. Victor's scientific achievement turns out to be his downfall instead of a source of honor as he hoped. His selfish desire to succeed leads to the death of his loved ones. Eventually, he dies a painful, lonely death as he searches for the creature.

The Creature

The author refers to Frankenstein's hideous being as 'The Creature.' After creation, he is a sensitive soul looking for love. He is also vulnerable, intelligent and tries to assimilate to human social behavior. However, his scary appearance makes everyone he meets to run away. So, he feels abandoned, and this makes him to seek vengeance against Victor. In the end, he turns to be a creature full of rage and disappointment. The being validates the importance of understanding in the society. His behavior is an accurate picture of how a person's character can deteriorate when they lack human connection. The book portrays him as a complex antagonist who represents the consequences of making rash decisions from curiosity.

Captain Walton

The author limits the existence of this character to the beginning and end of the narrative. Walton plays a significant role in edging the story for readers. He is a captain on a mission to discover a new passage in the northern sea. The book begins as he writes letters to his sister describing his journey and need for companionship. His desire to achieve glory through discoveries and control over nature is similar to that of Victor. The captain rescues an ill, cold, and frail Frankenstein from the sea and listens to his tale. After learning of the traveler's predicaments, Walton faces a dilemma on whether to proceed with his expedition and risk his life or return home. He applies the lessons that the author wants readers to understand from the narrative by acknowledging that ambition can destroy relationships and human life; hence he goes back home.

Henry Clerval

Henry is Victor's childhood friend and son to a merchant of Geneva. Unlike Frankenstein, Henry's philosophical and academic pursuits are more humane than scientific. In his childhood, he enjoyed reading about romance and wrote songs about knights. Victor describes him as a kind and generous man who has an ambition to do good in life. He is also a loyal and caring friend as he takes care of Frankenstein when he is sick and accompanies him in travels. The author uses their friendship to show the importance of companionship and having a person to share feelings and experiences.


Published on: 25 May 2020

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