"Life and death appeared to me ideal bounds, which I should first break through, and pour a torrent of light
|An 1831 illustration by Theodor von Holst|
into our dark world." — Victor Frankenstein'
Victor Frankenstein is the main character of Mary Shelley's novel, Frankenstein, or the modern Prometheus, and is the creator of The Monster.
Victor Frankenstein was born in Naples (according to the 1831 addition), but was raised in Geneva. He was raised with his two brothers, Ernest and William Frankenstein, his friend, Henry Clerval, and his cousin, Elizabeth Lavenza. Elizebeth moved in with the Frankenstein Family when Victor was 4 years old. As a boy, Frankenstein becomes intrested in the works of alchemists such as Cornelius Agrippa, Paracelsus, and Albertus Magnus. His father points out that the works are outdated, but he continues to read them nonetheless.
As a young adult, Frankenstein attends the University of Ingolstadt and becomes very proficient in chemistry. Before his arrival at the University, his mother dies of scarlet fever. Nearly two years later he completes his expirements with creating life, the idea beginning with the ancient works he studied as a boy. His experiments prove sucessful, and he creates a living creature, which terrifies him to such an extent that he flees his apartment and The Monster escapes. Afterwards he contracts a fever and becomes delusional, but is nursed back to health by Henry Clerval. He returns to Geneva after the murder of his youngest brother, William. He believes that the perpetrator is in fact his own Creation taking revenge. Shortly after, he and his family take a holiday to the mountains, where he meets The Monster. The Monster tells him what had happened to it in the time since it left his apartments and makes Frankenstein to promise to create for him a companion in exchange for its leaving Europe. Frankenstein agrees, and goes on a tour of Europe with Clerval, with the true intention of fulfilling his promise. He leaves Clerval and retreats to a remote island off of Scotland to create the second monster. He realizes the possible consequences of two monsters roaming the world and destroys it. The Monster vows to "be there with him on his wedding night'. When Frankenstein leaves the island and returns to the shore he is falsely arrested for murder. He then finds that the person murdered is his Friend, Henry Clerval. He falls into delusion. He recovers and returns to Geneva to marry Elizabeth, to whom his mother wished his marriage since they were children. He expects to have to fight The Monster, but it instead kills Elizabeth. Frankenstein again falls into insanity. When he recovers he swears revenge on the Monster.
Victor Frankenstein is picked up by a ship on an expedition to the North Pole. He never truly recovers from the effects of the ice, and dies a few weeks later of severe pneumonia.
In the novel, Frankenstein is portrayed as a tragic character. He has the tendency to become extremely wrapped up in his ambitions, and will not eat or sleep while working. After his initial experiments he becomes increasingly frail and contracts a fever more than once, and also suffered from bouts of hysteria and delusion. He can also be very stubborn, as when he chases The Monster through the arctic. He has great love for his family and friends, and also has an appreciation of the beauty of nature.