Short summary - Frankenstein. The Modern Prometheus - Mary Shelley

British literature summaries -

Short summary - Frankenstein. The Modern Prometheus
Mary Shelley

VERY BRIEFLY

XIX century. The scientist creates and animates the monster, which begins to take revenge on its creator, destroying members of his family. Bringing the scientist to death, the monster commits suicide because of the pangs of regret.


Preface in letters

Twenty-year-old Robert Walton dreamed of traveling since childhood. He wanted to discover the mainland, presumably located at the North Pole of the Earth, with all its wonders and riches. A small inheritance helped to realize this dream. Robert described all the vicissitudes of the journey in detail in letters to his sister Margaret.

Having reached Arkhangelsk, Walton hired a ship with a crew and headed for the North Pole. Soon the ship fell into the area of solid ice, and was forced to lie in a drift. Around this time, the attention of the team was attracted by a dog team, which rode "a creature similar to a man, but of gigantic growth." Soon the ice opened, and the ship followed on. The next morning, Robert saw a man on one of the huge ice floes. He tried to ride a team with a single dog. Despite his weakness, the stranger asked which side the ship was heading before boarding.

Victor Frankenstein turned out to be a surprisingly smart and subtle person. He was severely frostbite and exhausted, but when he heard from Walton about the creature on a dog sled, he was full of spirit and began to recover rapidly. Recovering a bit, he told Robert his story, which he wrote in detail.

Frankenstein's story

Victor Frankenstein was born in the family of the most eminent citizens of Geneva. His father married the daughter of his friend Caroline Beaufort, and became a father "in his declining years." Victor was their beloved and long-awaited first-born, but Carolina wanted to have a daughter. Once, while resting on Lake Como, a woman went into a poor hut and saw a lovely blond girl, very different from other children, black-eyed and black-haired. She was a child of a German and Italian patriot. Her mother died during childbirth, her father was sent to prison, and the girl remained in the family of the nurse. The Frankenstein persuaded the peasants to give them the girl and adopted her. In the future, Elizabeth was to become Victor's wife.

Seven years later, after the birth of Ernest's second son, the Frankenstein refused to travel to Europe and settled in Geneva, where the youngest William was born. Victor grew up rampant and impetuous young man. His hot temper was balanced by calm, restrained Elizabeth and school friend Henri Clerval, sociable and dreamy. By the age of fifteen, Victor began to be interested in the natural sciences, but soon the young man decided that natural science would never cross the "threshold of genuine knowledge" and set about mathematics. This change of disposition could save Victor from his terrible fate, but Rock was stronger than the Spirit of Good.

At seventeen, young Frankenstein entered the University of Ingolstadt, where he again became interested in natural sciences. Before Victor left, his mother died of scarlet fever, and the Frankenstein family remained in the care of Elizabeth. Victor began to study hard. It turned out that the works of medieval alchemists, with whom the young man was fond of, were hopelessly outdated, so he had to study modern natural science, and especially chemistry, from the very basics. Two years later, Victor achieved great success. Carried away by physiology, he decided to determine "where is the beginning of life", and soon reached his goal - he discovered a way to revive lifeless matter. To put knowledge into practice, he assembled a body from various parts found in morgues, crypts and slaughterhouses. Victor dreamed of creating a perfect creature, a new breed of people.

On a rainy November night, Victor "saw the completion" of his labors. An animated creature of enormous growth, with yellow skin, watery eyes and a «narrow opening of a black mouth» was so terrible that the nerves of the young man could not stand it and he ran out of the laboratory. Returning in the morning, Victor discovered that the monster had disappeared, but the nerves of the young man were completely upset. In the morning, Clerval arrived at the University of Ingolstad to study philology and linguistics, but the arrival of a friend did not reassure Victor. A few hours later, he began a fever, which lasted several months. All this time, Henri courted Victor.

The young man recovered only in the spring. Clerval did not inform the family of the young man's illness, fearing to upset the old father. Recovering, Victor read a letter from Elizabeth. Unaware of the groom's illness, she talked about family affairs, including Justine Moritz, a kind and hardworking, but a little frivolous girl who lived with the Frankenstein from twelve as a member of the family.

After recovery, Victor left his previous studies. He could not look at his instruments and devices without a shudder. Throughout the following year, Clerval remained with his friend, supporting and entertaining him. Spring came again, the monster disappeared without a trace, and Victor with a light heart gathered home, in Geneva. Before his departure, he received a letter from his father, which reported on the death of William. The boy disappeared during a walk, and soon he was found strangled.

Victor arrived in Geneva in the evening, when the city gates were already closed. Tormented by insomnia, he decided to visit the place where William was killed. When Victor got there, a thunderstorm began. In the light of lightning, he noticed a creature of gigantic growth and immediately realized that the younger brother was killed by the monster he created. At home, Victor found out that Justine was accused of the murder, from whom they found William's medallion. In vain he claimed that the girl was innocent - no one believed him. He did not dare to reveal the truth, fearing that people would consider him crazy. A few days later, the unfortunate Justine was convicted and executed.

Victor was tormented by the pangs of conscience, undermining the nervous system, which was still fragile after the illness. Seeing his condition, the Frankenstein moved to his country house. Now Victor was looking for «relief from agony in physical movements and changing places.» Hiring a mule, he went on a trip to the Alps. Two months later, crossing a glacier covered with deep cracks, he faced his creation face to face. All this time the monster was watching him. The creature chose this deserted place to speak with its creator, and told Frankenstein its sad story.

The monster almost did not remember the first hours of its existence, he only felt cold, hunger and thirst. He came to his senses in the Ingolstadt forest, where he lived for some time. He learned to satisfy his basic needs and even learned what fire is when he stumbles upon a still burning fire. Occasionally, a monster met people who ran away from him with cries of horror. Some time later, he reached the village, but there everyone ran away from him. Finally he took refuge in a small shack attached to a poor village house. Through a small gap in the wall, the monster began to observe the inhabitants of the house. A small family lived in it - a blind father with his son Felix and daughter Agatha. Felix often read aloud to his father. Listening to him, the monster learned to speak. These meek and beautiful people were admired by the unfortunate and lonely creature. They were poor and the monster tried to help them, collecting firewood at night and folding it at the door of the house. Spring came, and the bride came to Felix, the "beautiful Arabian" Safia. The young man undertook to teach the bride his own language, not knowing that another student was present at the lessons. Soon the monster understood everything that his benefactors said, and even read a little. The textbook was the work of Volney «Ruins of the Empire», from which the monster learned about the structure of human society. He began to realize that he was different from other people. from which the monster learned about the structure of human society. He began to realize that he was different from other people. from which the monster learned about the structure of human society. He began to realize that he was different from other people.

Soon, the monster learned that until recently, the family of De Lacy was noble, rich and lived in Paris. Their troubles began because of the Turkish merchant, who was unjustly sentenced to death. Felix fell in love with his daughter Saffia and helped the merchant escape from prison. Instead, the Turks agreed to give his daughter his hand. The French government sentenced the De Lacy family to expel and confiscate property. The ungrateful Turk ordered his daughter to forget about Felix, but the girl left her father and returned to her beloved. She brought some money and jewelry, with the help of which she pulled De Lacy from impenetrable poverty.

The monster lived in the annex until the winter. Having once found a bag with books in the forest, among which was «Lost Paradise», the monster realized that he, like Adam, was also created by someone. In the pockets of clothes captured from Frankenstein’s laboratory, the creature found Victor’s notes from which he knew who his creator was. The unfortunate creature worshiped De Lacy, dreamed of faithfully serving them, and in return to receive a little love. The monster thought for a long time how to appear to these beautiful people and not to scare them. Finally, he decided to win over the blind old man, hoping that he would persuade his children to accept the unfortunate creature. He chose the time when the old man was left alone, went in and spoke to him, trying to soften his terrible voice. At this time, the rest of the family returned. The girls fainted, and Felix grabbed a stick and drove the creature out of the house. Then the family of De Lacy hastily surrendered the estate in the hiring and left. That same night, the monster set fire to the house and went to Geneva in search of its creator. Finding the Frankenstein family, the monster killed William and put his locket in Justine's pocket.

The monster accused Frankenstein of having created it and abandoned it to its fate, and demanded to create a female creature. Having found a girlfriend, he intended to leave "in the vast deserts of South America," away from people. The monster threatened to destroy Victor's family if he did not fulfill his demands. Frightened by the threats, Victor agreed. This work was so disgusting to him that he, as he could, delayed its beginning. The creature constantly watched him. In the end, Victor, accompanied by Henry Clerval, had to leave for England to set about creating a bride for the monster. Returning from England, Victor was to marry Elizabeth. Only this thought supported him.

Frankenstein rented a hut on one of the secluded islets and set to work. Everything was almost ready when Victor realized that he had no right to give life to another creature, because it could turn out to be evil and destroy many people. In addition, two monsters could have children and bring death to humanity. With this thought, Victor destroyed all the prepared materials. Upon discovering this, the monster said: "I will be with you on your wedding night," vowed to take revenge and disappeared. Victor decided that it was he who was in danger on their wedding night and decided to bring it closer.

Victor put all his tools and instruments in a basket, took her out into the open sea at night and drowned her. Relieved, he fell asleep right in the boat. Waking up, Frankenstein discovered that he had been carried away from a familiar shore. Victor spent many hours at sea. Finally, he came ashore near a small town where he was immediately arrested. A tragedy occurred in the town - an unknown traveler was brutally strangled, so all the strangers were arrested. Seeing the murdered, Victor recognized him as his faithful friend Henri Clerval. So began the revenge of the monster.

Victor again suffered a nervous fever. Two months later, he woke up in prison. A month later, a trial took place, at which Viktor was acquitted. His father, who came after him, took him to Geneva, where preparations for the wedding began immediately. Immediately after the ceremony, the newlyweds went on a honeymoon. They were supposed to spend their wedding night in a secluded hotel. Leaving his wife in the room, Victor armed himself to the teeth and began to walk along the corridor. He wanted to sell his life dearly and try to destroy the monster. Suddenly, a terrible cry came from the room. Having burst there, Victor discovered that his young wife was strangled. The awful face of the monster was visible in the open window. Victor fired, but missed.

That very night he hastily set off for Geneva, fearing that the monster would get ahead of him. He found his father alive, but the old man was so weak from the misfortunes that had fallen on him that he soon died in Victor's arms. His despair was so great that Victor was considered crazy and locked up for several months in a solitary ward. Leaving the clinic, he went to the local judge and told the whole truth about the monster, but the judge did not believe Victor, deciding that he was still sick.


After this, Frankenstein went on a journey following the monster, dreaming of only one thing: to destroy it. Pursuing a creature with incredible strength and endurance, he went around all the continents of the Earth and found himself near the North Pole, where he was picked up by a ship.

Walton's diary continued

Frankenstein's story lasted a whole week, during which the ship was surrounded by ice. In the end, the sailors demanded that Walton turn the ship back to England, and he had to agree. A few days later the wind blew, the sea cleared, and the ship was able to turn home. By this time, Frankenstein had completely weakened. Before his death, he regretted only one thing: that he had not caught up with his worst enemy. Entering the cabin where the dead Frankenstein lay, Walton found there a monster who mourned over its creator. He told Robert about the pangs of remorse he experienced. To stop these torments, he was going to burn himself alive. Having said this, the monster jumped out of the window onto the ice raft and "disappeared into the dark distance".