Summary and Analysis
The De Lacey family history is told through this chapter. The monster tells that the family was once well regarded in France with wealth and social position. Felix aides Safie's father in a plot to subvert the biased French justice system and free the Turkish merchant from death on the gallows. The discovery of the plot by the French authorities causes the ruin of the De Lacey family, as the government confiscates the De Lacey's wealth for their aid in the escape of Safie's father. Safie also must endure her own trials to find her benefactors in a foreign country.
The De Lacey family was in the upper middle class of France, with Felix serving as a civil servant and Agatha who was "ranked with ladies of the highest distinction." Safie's father, a Turkish merchant who had been a businessman in Paris for many years, falls into disrepute for reasons Mary Shelley does not make clear to the reader. It is supposed that all Safie's father did was to suffer from a xenophobic — fear or hatred of strangers or foreigners — attack by local authorities. However, all of his property is taken away, and he is thrown into prison to later stand trial. Shelley's point here is that the monster is telling this story about the injustice that the De Lacey family has to endure. This gives him the idea that he's not the only one who has suffered from an injustice.