Frankenstein: Chapter 10 - Summary

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Instructor
Dori Starnes

Dori has taught college and high school English courses, and has Masters degrees in both literature and education.

Expert Contributor
Sasha Blakeley

Sasha Blakeley has a Bachelor's in English Literature from McGill University and a TEFL certification. She has been teaching English in Canada and Taiwan for seven years.

In chapter 10 of Mary Shelley's ''Frankenstein'', Victor tries to escape the horror he's caused by climbing in the mountains. But instead, he meets the monster. This lesson will focus on a summary of chapter 10 of the novel. Updated: 05/06/2021

Frankenstein: Review

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.

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  • 0:04 Review
  • 0:25 Victor on Montanvert
  • 1:12 Victor and the Monster Meet
  • 2:05 The Monster's Request
  • 3:02 Lesson Summary
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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.

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Additional Activities

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.

The Sublime

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.

Get Creative!

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.

Prediction

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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