Before Chapter 10 of Frankenstein, Victor Frankenstein is wracked with guilt over the deaths of his youngest brother and family friend Justine. Victor is sure that the monster he created killed William, and Justine was executed for the crime. After contemplating suicide, the devastated Victor seeks solitude in the mountains surrounding his home.
Victor on Montanvert
In Chapter 10, Victor Frankenstein roams the valley and the glaciers outside of Geneva. The amazing scenery temporarily diverts him from his all-consuming misery. He even manages to sleep at night. In an attempt to recapture his happiness, he decides to climb Montanvert without the help of a guide.
Victor ascends the mountain, which is both beautiful and desolate. Alone on a glacier, he wishes that all he had to worry about was thirst, hunger, and desire. He blames his curious nature for the monster's creation and for the deaths of William and Justine.
At noon, Victor achieves the summit. His heart is full of joy, and he finally feels at peace with the world. But it doesn't last. He looks across the glacier and sees a huge, familiar form.
Victor and the Monster Meet
The hulking figure crosses the ice, moving much faster than any human would be able to. Victor's horror and depression return. He resolves to fight the monster until one of them is dead. Victor is so upset he cannot speak at first when the monster reaches him.
They talk. The monster is eloquent where Victor stutters, and he takes Victor to task for creating and then abandoning him. The monster points out the irony of Victor wanting to kill what he brought to life.
Victor's words fail him and he jumps at the monster, trying to attack. The monster easily steps away, reminding Victor that physically, the creation is far superior to any human. The monster is miserable and believes Victor is at fault. The creature tells Victor that he started out good, but that humans inflicted misery on him and made him a ''fiend.'' Only happiness can make the monster good again.
The Monster's Request
Victor again challenges the monster to a fight. The monster refuses. He says that the mountains and the ice caves have become his home. The empty skies are nicer to him than humans have been. The monster asks Victor to listen to his story and then they can fight if Victor still wants to.
Victor curses the monster and himself for creating him. The monster replies that it is up to Victor whether he is a curse on humanity or whether the monster ''quits forever the neighborhood of man.'' He begs Victor to listen to his story, where he will tell Victor what he wants. The monster wants only one thing beyond Victor's attention. If Victor will give him that one thing, he will go away permanently.
Victor tells himself that he will try to do whatever the monster asks, and he agrees to listen to the monster's story and request.
The monster leads Victor to a hut on the ice. Inside there is a fire, and they sit. The monster begins to speak.
In Chapter 10 of Frankenstein, Victor is seeking peace on an icy mountain when he finds himself face to face with his creation. Victor is understandably livid. He accuses the monster of murder, and the monster does not deny it. However, once the monster begins to speak, it is clear that he is intelligent and has thoughts and feelings, while Victor rages and speaks incoherently. The monster quite rightly takes Victor to task for abandoning him. Then he promises Victor that he will leave the company of humans forever if Victor grants him just one request.
The monster doesn't seem so bad, and after all, Victor is partly to blame for everything that has happened. So what's the harm in granting one small request? These are Victor's thoughts as he follows the creature to his hut. It would be worth almost anything to get rid of the creature and assuage his guilt over what he's done. But he hasn't heard what the monster wants yet.
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Frankenstein: Further Exploration
This lesson gave you an in-depth summary of chapter 10 of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Check out the following prompts for more information and activities that you can use to expand your understanding.
Mary Shelley was a member of the British Romantic poets, as was her husband, Percy Shelley. One of the ideas that the Romantics were particularly fascinated by was the sublime: an overwhelming sense of awe that verges on both wonder and fear. In this chapter, Victor feels a sense of the sublime before he encounters the creature on the glacier. Write a paragraph or essay comparing and contrasting this moment to another Romantic work that deals with the sublime.
Examples: Percy Shelley's ''Mont Blanc'' and Samuel Taylor Coleridge's ''Hymn before Sun-rise, in the Vale of Chamouni'' both deal with a similar concept, specifically when it comes to the sublime nature of mountains.
This chapter is told from the perspective of Victor, who fears his creature very much. However, it would be very interesting to understand what the creature thinks of his own experiences and of Victor. Rewrite part or all of this chapter from the creature's point of view. Think about how he perceives Victor, what his motivations are, and how he hopes the interaction between the two of them will go. Feel free to use dialogue and other elements from this chapter in your writing.
What do you think is going to happen next? What will the creature's demand be? Write a paragraph explaining your answer, or write the beginning of the next chapter in prose. Consider what the creature says in chapter 10 carefully when making your predictions. Once you have decided what the creature will ask for, consider also how you think Victor will respond.
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