Frankenstein By Mary Shelley Summary and Analysis Chapter 21

Summary

A body has washed ashore; the method of death is familiar, the black marks of fingers on the neck. Since  Victor appears around this same time, several people put him near the scene of a crime even though he had not been present. At least two witnesses saw a large creature deposit the body of Henry Clerval on the beach and leave.

Mr. Kirwin, the local magistrate, suggests that the whole entourage go to see the body. Victor becomes violently ill and passes two months near death:"The human frame could no longer support the agonies that I endured, and I was carried out of the room in strong convulsions." Victor is held in prison, and Kirwin sends a nurse and doctor to return him to good health.

At the trial, Kirwin offers a spirited defense of Victor and manages to secure Victor's release when the court learns of Victor's residence on the Orkney Islands. The time of the murder and Victor's presence in his lab in the Orkney's proves that he did not commit the crime.

Alphonse takes Victor home. The pair travel from Ireland to Le Harve, France and overland to Paris for a brief stay.

Analysis

Victor is a wreck of a human being, having worked to create a second creature and enduring the toils of a prisoner. The "shadow of a human being," Victor is not himself because a "fever night and day" threatens his "wasted frame." Alphonse fears that his son will not survive the trek back to Geneva.

The ironic twist to the tour that Victor and Henry started is that they both wanted an adventure for pleasure and relaxation, but it has turned to tragedy for both, "You travelled to seek happiness, but a fatality seems to pursue you. And poor Clerval — ."

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