Mary Shelley

Frankenstein (1818)


Mary Shelley (1797-1851)

1797   Mary Wollstonecraft Goodwin born to Mary Wollstonecraft, a renowned feminist, and William Goodwin, a radical thinker. This exposed her at an early age to radical ideas and to the friendship of Lord Byron.

1814   Ran away with Percy Pysshe Shelley to for a tour around Europe.

1816   On a summer trip to the Swiss Alps, trapped by rain in their lodgings, Mary and Percy decided to try to come up with the best ghost story. Frankenstein was the result.

1816   Percyís pregnant wife drowned herself, Mary and Percy married soon after.

1815-1819     3 of their children died in infancy, leaving them with 1 child

1822   Percy drowned in Tuscany

1851   Mary dies in London at the age of 54.



Robert Walton sends letters to his sister narrating the events of his dangerous mission in the North Pole where he meets Victor Frankenstein, crossing the ice in his dog-sledge. Victor tells him his story while he is being nursed back to health.

Victor grew up with his cousin/adopted sister Elizabeth Lavenza.

He studied natural philosophy and chemistry at the University of Ingolstadt where he believes to have discovered the secret of life.

He begins creating a creature out of old body parts. When the monster comes to life, Victor escapes in terror, returning with his friend Henry to an empty apartment.

Resolved to return to his home in Geneva, Victor hears that his brother William has been killed.

Passing through the woods where William was strangled, Victor sees the monster and is convinced that he killed his brother.

Justine Moritz, a girl adopted by Victorís parents, is accused, tried and executed for the murder of William. Victor feels guilty with his knowledge of the monster as the killer.

Escaping to the mountains, Victor meets the monster who begs his forgiveness for having killed his brother in an attempt to injure Victor for leaving him alone. The monster also begs Victor to create him a mate. Refusing at first, Victor eventually gives in.

Before the female monsterís creation is complete, Victor spots Frankenstein and becomes terrified of repeating his mistake so he kills his female creation.

The monster vows revenge on Victor, promising him to haunt him on his wedding night.

Upon coming back from dumping the body in the water, Victor is captured for the murder of his friend Henry. He sees the imprints of the monsterís hands on Henryís neck.

Victor is acquitted, returns to Geneva with his father, and soon marries Elizabeth.

Fearing the monsterís threat, he sends Elizabeth away, but soon hears her screams, realizing that the monsterís revenge will be killing Victorís wife, not Victor himself.

Victor returns to his father who dies shortly of grief. He vows to find the monster.

Almost catching up to the monster, Victor meets the narrator and we are back at the present point of the narrative.

Walton continues his letters to his sister, telling her how Victor became sick and died, and how upon returning to where Victorís body is, Walton spots the monster grieving over his creator and deciding to end his own life by going north.