- Year Published: 1818.
- Pages: 199.
Frankenstein: Summary of Chapters
Chapters 1 to 3
In the first chapter, Victor Frankenstein provides his parental background, informing the reader that his father looked up an old friend only to discover his friend’s orphaned daughter in an impoverished state. He took her home and married her, leading to Victor’s birth. Later, while Victor’s mother is traveling through Italy, she adopts Elizabeth – who grows up to become Victor’s playmate.
The author (Mary Shelley) dedicates chapter 1 to Victor’s love for alchemy and science. On seeing a tree destroyed by electricity, his passion for power grows.
In chapter 3, Right before Victor departs for Ingolstadt to further his education, his mother passes away – with the dying wish that Victor should marry Elizabeth. After the funeral, Victor leaves to Ingolstadt, where he meets M. Waldman and M. Kempf.
Chapters 4 to 7
Victor spends a year gathering various human body parts from the deceased to discover the essence of life. His chief ambition is to build an 8-foot tall human creature. While working on the project, he invariably neglects his health and family.
In chapter 5, Victor takes the parts collected from graveyards and charnel houses and joins them together. He also combines electricity with the essence of life only to be disgusted by the final appearance of his monster. He abandons the creature and goes on a stroll when he bumps into Henry – who is newly arrived in town – and falls ill for several months.
Over the course of Chapter 6, Elizabeth writes to Victor begging for a letter back. In the letter, she informs her adoptive brother that Justine Moritz has come to stay in the Frankenstein household.
On receiving news of the murder of brother (William), Victor returns home. Before his arrival, he spends the night in a neighboring town. Battling insomnia, he decides to go out for a walk when he chances upon the monster – who he later realizes murdered his brother.
He decides to keep the news to himself fearing that people would think he has gone crazy. When he gets home, he discovers that Justine is the prime suspect in the murder. Justine has already confessed to the crime, so Victor does not say anything about his monster.
Chapters 8 to 11
While Frankenstein pleads for Justine’s release and acquittal, Victor is silent on the issue. Victor also grieves the unfortunate turn of events and even contemplates committing suicide. He continues living in fear – particularly concerned about any future harm the monster may visit upon his family.
The monster approaches Victor while he is on top of a mountain and requests a meeting. He acquiesces to the request, and the two spend the next several chapters in conversation. In chapter 11, the monster catches Frankenstein up on everything that has been happening.
Chapters 12 to 15
The interview between Victor and the monster continues over the course of chapters 12 to 15. In the conversations, the monster reveals his study of human beings – their society, the value of family, and communication. He also informs Victor he knows how he was created, and narrates that his increased knowledge only makes him aware of the innate wretched existence he has adopted.
Chapters 16 to 18
After his interview with the monster, Victor considers creating a female monster to keep his original monster company. The monster threatens to get rid of the entire Frankenstein family if Victor fails to comply. Reluctantly, Victor agrees to the order.
Victor knows that he needs to create another creature but procrastinates. Eventually, he leaves for England with every intention to complete the monster before he can marry Elizabeth. While in England, he meets up with Henry Clerval.
Chapters 19 to 23
Victor spends two months in London before heading to the Orkney Islands to set up his new laboratory. The work involved repulses him.
While still on the brink of completing his new project, he changes his mind. As the lonely original creature looks on, Victor destroys his upcoming monster. This act angers the monster that he vows revenge – warning Victor that he will visit on the wedding night.
Victor then packs up and ties up his supplies to a rock before sinking them. While in his rowboat, he falls asleep and the waters direct the vessel to shore where Victor wakes up to an angry crowd. He is also arrested and charged with murder.
He learns that the man he has been accused of killing is Henry Clerval and collapses into another bout of sickness. After two months in his invalid state, his father comes to take him home.
Elizabeth and Victor finally tie the knot in Chapter 22 and set sail for Evian to celebrate this matrimony. However, the monster later kills Elizabeth – which causes Victor’s father so much grief that he dies of a broken heart. At these turn of events, Victor goes mad and is relegated to an asylum.
He is arraigned in court and informs the town about the monster. No one, all too naturally, believes him but Victor still vows to get his revenge by killing the monster.
Chapter 24 and Walton
Victor is released and visits his family’s grave. He reiterates his promise to kill the monster and leaves Geneva to track the monster. The monster continues taunting his creator and leading him on.
Angered by the taunts, Victor goes further north where he meets Walton and narrates his story. He also begs Walton to continue the search after his death. Walton takes charge and keeps the story going by narrating it to his sister in letter form.
Victor dies and the monster comes to grieve over the body. Walton encounters the monster and listens to its sad tale before the monster exits into the darkness.