Victor Frankenstein was born in Geneva in about 1790, son of a wealthy merchant and politician. Friendship with a fellow-student, Henri Clerval, led him into the study of natural forces, especially electricity and the sources of life. When he went to Ingoldstadt University he continued these studies and determined to
Pioneer a new way, explore unknown powers, and unfold the deepest mysteries of creation.
He decided to bring life out of death by using the bodies of the dead to create a magnificent superhuman being, about 2-4 meters tall and broad in proportion. After careful selection of the necessary components he assembled this creature and, by methods still unrevealed, brought it to life. But he was horrified by the result. In the report of his experiment he wrote:
His limbs were in proportion, and I had selected his features as beautiful. Beautiful! Great God! His yellow skin barely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath; his hair was of a lustrous black, and flowing; his teeth of a pearly whiteness; but these luxuriances only formed a more horrid contrast with his watery eyes, that seemed almost of the same as the dun-white sockets in which they were set, his shrivelled complexion and straight black lips.
Frankenstein was so appalled that he ran out of his laboratory, and when he plucked up courage to return he found that his creation had gone. He was glad to be rid of it, and tried to wipe the whole disaster from his mind. But some time later he recieved the dreadful news that his young brother William had been strangled. and that the boy's nursemaid, Justine Moritz, was accused of the crime. Frankenstein felt uneasily that his monster was to blame, and when Justine was executed for murder he was tormented by remorse.
About a year later, the monster suddenly confronted Frankenstein on the slopes of Mont Blanc. It told a pathetic story of how, after Frankenstein had run away, it had tried to attach itself to humans. Everyone had driven it away with horror and disgust. Even when it saved a little girl from drowning, her father had shot it in the shoulder. By ill fortune it encountered William, and strangled the little boy in a clumsy attempt to embrace him.
The monster blamed Frankenstein bitterly for creating it in the first place, and then condemning it to a life of solitude. It demanded the creation of a mate to ease its loneliness, and promised to take such a mate to the jungles of South America and vanish from human ken.
Consciense-striken, Frankenstein agreed. He and Clerval went to England to create the monster's companion, but he found the work so repugnant he could not continue. The monster tracked Frankenstein to England and appeared in the laboratory, to beg for his creator's sympathy and the continuation of the work. When Frankenstein still refused, it said
I go, but remember I shall be with you on your wedding night!
Frankenstein and Clerval fled to Ireland, but the monster followed and killed Clerval. Some time later Frankenstein married his childhood sweetheart, and the monster fulfilled his threat by strangling her on the wedding night.
Frankenstein then tried to escape by endless travelling, but wherever he went the monster followed. At last Frankenstein joined a ship bound for Arctic, feeling that the monster could not possibly follow him there. The ship was trapped in ice, and Frankenstein's life of torment and remorse ended with death in the Arctic loneliness.
The monster had discovered where he had gone, and came plodding over the ice shortly after the death of Frankenstein. It mourned over it's creator's corpse, told the surviving crew members that it had only wanted Frankenstein's affection, and then leapt from the ship with a vow to destroy itself.