Frankenstein By Mary Shelley Summary and Analysis Chapter 20

Summary

Victor sets about his work, creating a second female monster. After following Victor and Henry through mainland Europe and England, the monster comes near Victor's workshop in Scotland to see his mate. In a fit of anger and guilt, Victor destroys the half-finished creation in front of the monster and tells the monster he will not continue. The threat the monster makes is an ominous one:"I shall be with you on your wedding-night." The monster then disappears into the night.

Victor now contemplates who will be the creature's next victim. He receives a letter from Henry Clerval urging him to come back to London to begin planning a journey to India. Victor rushes to leave his island within two days, once he dismantles the laboratory and hides the remains. He sets out in a boat around 2:00 or 3:00 a.m. to dispose of the remaining body parts. Once the task is complete, he lays down in the boat to rest when the rising sun and wind awaken him.

A storm pushes the sailboat out to sea, and Victor finds himself in a dire situation. He fabricates a sail from his own clothes to steer him toward a town near shore. Surprised to find the local folk hostile towards him, he asks, "Surely it is not the custom of Englishmen to receive strangers so inhospitably." A man answers "it is the custom of the Irish to hate villains." Victor is immediately taken into custody, accused of murder, and sent to the local magistrate, Mr. Kirwin, to await sentencing. Victor goes along peacefully.

Analysis

Victor has begun the process of creating a new female creature, when he realizes that he had been in a similar position three years previously:"I was engaged in the same manner and had created a fiend whose unparalleled barbarity had desolated my heart and filled it with the bitterest remorse." This guilt forces him to reexamine his past and present situations. He is distraught at the idea that the new creation may be worse than his first creation. The new creature may not agree to the promises made between Victor and the monster, and he ponders that "she might become ten thousand times more malignant than her mate and delight, for its own sake, in murder and wretchedness." Could he continue his work in good conscience? Perhaps his evil work could endanger the entire human race. Mary Shelley does not tell the reader how Victor got the pieces to create a new creature.

Victor, giving up the work, says"[I] made a solemn vow in my heart never to resume my labours." The monster returns to Victor's laboratory to find out why Victor ruined his mate. The two argue, and the monster issues a threat of "I shall be with you on your wedding-night." The monster will fulfill his warning later in the novel.

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