Frankenstein By Mary Shelley Summary and Analysis Chapter 23

Summary

While Victor is prowling the halls of the inn where the couple was living, the monster makes good on his threat to Victor, enters their bedroom, and strangles Elizabeth. Victor shoots at the monster when he flees, but the monster gets away without being wounded.

When Alphonse learns of Elizabeth's death, he is overcome with grief and dies. Victor goes to a local magistrate and tells the entire story to him. With the local authorities hamstrung as to what their action should be, Victor sets off in search of the monster to exact revenge.

Analysis

At 8 p.m. on the day of their arrival in Evian, Victor and Elizabeth go to the inn where they expect to spend their honeymoon night. A storm arises during the night as Victor wanders the halls to look for potential hiding places for his foe. During this search, the monster steals into the Frankenstein's room and strangles Elizabeth, like his other victims. As other guests rush into the room, Victor tells of the presence of the monster and a search ensues. The grief overwhelms Victor and he falls down "in a state of utter exhaustion." He vows to return to Geneva to protect his remaining family.

The setting is key because the storm signals that something evil is going to happen (another Gothic element). Victor feels "exhausted" and mad after a murder; each incident of murder throws him off several months, but the monster waits for him to get better before hurting him again. This is a quality of Gothic fiction, the psychic communication between characters.

In Geneva, Alphonse learns of his daughter-in-law's demise and he dies of a broken heart a few days later. Victor's mind turns from a victim to a seeker of revenge, to avenge the deaths of his friends and family at the hands of his creation. He says, "I have but one resource, and I devote myself, either in my life or death, to his destruction."

Even when Victor talks to the magistrate, he mentions that he feels the monster is still lurking around. This is a common thread that goes through the novel. The monster knows where Victor is at all times, and Victor can sense when the monster is very close. This is another mysterious, Gothic element.

Glossary

exordium the beginning part of a speech (the opening part of an oration, treatise, etc.).

ennui boredom, weariness, dissatisfaction with life (weariness and dissatisfaction resulting from inactivity or lack of interest; boredom).

maladie du pays homesickness.

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