Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
The main narrator of the story’s events. Captain of a ship northbound toward the Arctic pole. A self-learned man who desires, above all else, companionship. Encounters a near-death Victor Frankenstein while on his voyage and takes him aboard, faithfully transcribing his life story.
The main protagonist whose story figures as the dominant narrative of the story. A man whose obses-sive intellectual pursuits lead to his demise and irrevocable break from humanity.
The culmination of Victor’s frenzied experiments to discover the secret of life. A creature that longsfor human society but can never attain it. As the product of Frankenstein’s unnatural, individualisticendeavors, it severs Frankenstein’s ties to humanity by destroying his family.
Discourages Victor from studying mystical teachings (e.g. Cornelius Agrippa), which would later give way into a “predilection for [natural philosophy]” (21) and lead to his doomed scientific inquiries.His happiness and well-being throughout the work lies contingent upon that of Victor. While hepersists in his appreciative attitude toward life even in times of tragedy, he dies of heartbreak upon re-ceiving news of Elizabeth’s death.
The thread holding the Frankenstein family together. Victor’s childhood companion and eventual wife. Killed by Victor’s Creature on their wedding night.
Victor’s longtime friend and companion. Represents what Victor could’ve been—inquisitive but notto the point of unnatural excess and still a member of society. Also killed by the Creature.
Victor’s younger brother and the first of the Creature’s victims.
The Frankensteins’ servant, wrongly executed for the murder of William.
In letters to his sister Margaret Salville, R. Walton reflects on his desire for glory and knowledge in reaching the ends of the earth. During his voyage, he recounts a strange accident in which his ship was surrounded and trapped by ice; afterthe ice broke, freeing his ship, Walton found his men talking to a man who had been drifting in the arctic waters on hissled. The stranger is welcomed aboard and restored to good health. Walton then relates how the stranger, seeing a mir-ror of himself in Walton (“You seek for knowledge and wisdom, as I once did; and I ardently hope that the gratificationof your wishes may not be a serpent to sting you, as mine has been.”), proceeded to relate his unfortunate history, servingas something of a cautionary tale. The stranger’s narrative, which Walton faithfully records in his letter, thus com-mences.Victor Frankenstein, born in Geneva, relates his family’s history—one of his father’s dearest friends, Beaufort, escapedthe shame of debt by retreating to live a life of obscurity. His grief of self-exile eventually gave way to sickness, and hisdaughter Caroline tended to him endlessly until his passing. Two years after Beaufort’s funeral, Victor’s father and Ca-roline were married. Sometime during Victor’s childhood, his father brought his sister’s daughter Elizabeth Lavenza intotheir household and the two children quickly took to each other. Frankenstein then introduces Henry Clerval, one of his schoolfellows who also came to be included in his blissful “domestic circle” (21). Victor is an especially inquisitivechild, and mystical studies appeal to him strongly, despite his father’s attempts to discourage his reading of such “sadtrash” (22) written by the likes of Cornelius Agrippa, Paracelsus, and Albertus Magnus. His first thunderstorm at the ageof fifteen stimulates his intellectual curiosity further.