Frankenstein Chapter 22 Summary

Instructor: Dori Starnes

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

In chapter 22 of Mary Shelley's ''Frankenstein'', Victor returns home and he and Elizabeth finally get married, despite the monster's threat. This lesson will focus on chapter 22 of ''Frankenstein''.

Review

After destroying his work-in-progress and encountering the monster's wrath, Victor Frankenstein wonders what else can go wrong. But then a body turns up, and Victor is dragged in for questioning. When he sees the body, Victor almost collapses in grief; it's his best friend, Henry Clerval.

Victor suffers from a mysterious illness and wakes up almost two months later. He realizes that he is in prison, accused of the murder of Henry. While he is awaiting trial, his father comes to see him. At the trial, Victor is found innocent of the crime, and he and his father prepare to return to Geneva.

Victor in Paris

Victor and his father, Alphonse Frankenstein, begin their journey to Switzerland, but Victor tires easily and they decide to stop for a while in France. Victor is still suffering from the encounter with the monster and the loss of his best friend, and he shuns the company of others. When his father presses him on why, Victor answers that he killed Justine and William and Henry.

Rather than pressing Victor for the truth of the statement, his father orders him to never mention it again. Victor slowly regains his strength, and a few days before leaving Paris he gets a letter from Elizabeth. In it, she tells him she has been tormented all winter with worry for him. She loves him dearly and cannot wait to be married. She goes on to ask him if he only loves her as a sister, or if he loves someone else. If so, she sets him free of the promise to marry her.

Victor does not love another, but he cannot forget the monster's threat that he would be with Victor on his wedding night. He thinks this is a threat to his life, and he considers his options. If the monster wins, at least Victor will be at peace. And if Victor wins, the monster will be gone. He sees it as a win-win situation, so he resolves to marry Elizabeth immediately. He writes and tells her that he wants to marry her right away, but that he has a big secret to impart, and he will tell her the day after the wedding.

Preparing for the Wedding

Victor returns home to Geneva, and Elizabeth rushes out to meet him. She looks thinner and sadder than she had when he left, and Victor is suddenly furious at the monster for the tragedy he's brought into the family. Elizabeth and Victor have long talks, and only she can bring him out of his misery.

Alphonse speaks with joy about the upcoming wedding, but Victor is filled with foreboding and the memory of the monster's threat. But Victor pushes aside that fear and tells his father to set the wedding date for ten days in the future.

Victor then reminisces of this time, wishing that he had known the monster's plans, and telling Walton that he never would have gone through with the wedding if he'd known the 'far fairer victim' the monster would have. The heavy foreshadowing here doesn't give us much hope for poor Elizabeth.

A makeup rendition of the monster
A makeup rendition of the monster

Victor's Wedding Day

As the date for the wedding gets nearer, Victor finds his heart sinking lower and lower, but he struggles to hide his feelings and pretend he's excited to be getting married. Still convinced the monster means to harm him, Victor arms himself and prepares to fight.

Alphonse has managed to get some of Elizabeth's inheritance set aside for her, including a piece of property on Lake Como. There, the newlyweds will spend the beginning of their lives together. Elizabeth is happy about this, but on the morning of their wedding, Victor notices that she looks sad and worried. He wonders if she is worrying about the secret he will tell her.

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