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Henry Clerval in Mary Shelleys novel Frankenstein was a friend and schoolfellow of Victor and Elizabeth

from childhood.The author describes Clerval as a poethis mind was filled with the imagery and
sublime sentiments of the masters of that art , and throughout the story, she fleshes out the habits and
characteristics that solidify his embodiment of the role of the Romantic poet. Despite his feelings toward
the care of his childhood companion and his ability to bolster the spirits of Frankenstein with his poetic
outlook, the pursuit of natural philosophy by the latter ultimately destroys Clerval. Shelley demonstrates
the virtues of Romanticism through the character of Henry Clerval; through his interaction with
Frankenstein and the monster throughout the book, she posits that in hard science lies the doom of the
flowering poetic movement.

Henry Clerval serves as a foil character for Victor Frankenstein. Clerval is almost the complete opposite
of Victor and this is made evident throughout the entire story. Especially in Volume 3 we see more of
Clerval and the contrasting emotions of the two. Victor is sad and depressed for almost, if not all, of the
last volume, while Clerval is able to marvel and experience happiness by all the sights and places the two
visit on their journey. As Victor says, The delight of Clerval was proportionally greater than mine. .
Throughout this entire last volume we constantly see Clerval experiencing happiness, while Victor feels
guilt for the loss of his family and pressure to fulfill his goal of finding the monster he created.

Clerval is extremely significant in the life of Victor, as the two have known each other since childhood. In
the story Victor completely deviates from telling his story to Walton in order to talk of how great Henry
Clerval is as a friend and person. Victor states that, the voice of Henry soothed me. He calls him his,
beloved friend. However, Victor is fascinated by science and alchemy the University of Ingolstadt and
Henry, being no natural philosopher, studies languages at the university, including Hebrew, Persian,
Arabic, Greek, and Latin.

The description of Henry contains vivid natural imagery, referencing the noble attributes of the eagle
and the divine spark of his soul. These emphasize the Romantic tenets of reliance upon the wisdom of
nature and natural intuition, as Clerval emulates the attitude of the eagle and values utmost the
guidance of his own mind, which originally read soula significant indication toward the belief in
the reason instilled within humanity prior to obstruction by empirical knowledge. When Victor falls ill,
the poet then commences a nursing regimen of his ill friend for several months. Acting as a soothing
balm, Clerval restores the senses of Victor, awakening him once again to the pleasure and healing of the
natural world without striving to violently probe its depths for information.

Unfortunately for both the character, the creation of Victor driven by revenge and fury, kills Henry.
Adding more to the woes of Victor, he is arrested for the murder of his friend. Victor is devastated and
upon seeing the form of his friend, Victor exclaims, Have my murderous machinations deprived you
also, my dearest Henry, of life?.

The development of Clerval as a figure representative of Romanticism parallel to the infection of


Frankenstein with the disease of scientific knowledge attributes meaning to both. Through their
contrast, we see a strongly positive presentation of the ideas of the Romantic movement, held in high
esteem by writers and poets during the time in which Shelley composed Frankenstein.