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Frankenstein Chapter 8 Summary

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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Meredith Spies

Meredith has studied literature and literary analysis, holding a master's degree in liberal arts with a focus on depictions of femininity vs masculinity in literature and art.

This lesson features a summary of Chapter 8 of Mary Shelley's 'Frankenstein.' You'll learn about the fate of Justine Moritz, a servant and friend to the Frankenstein family.

Previous Events

The focus of Chapter 8 is the trial and death of Justine Moritz, a servant in the Frankenstein household who was framed for murder by the creature. Justine had been treated well by the Frankenstein family, more like a family member than a housekeeper. When the creature murdered William Frankenstein, Victor's younger brother, he placed a picture locket that William often carried in Justine's possession. The item is used by authorities to accuse Justine of William's murder.

Summary of Chapter 8

Victor Frankenstein witnesses Justine's trial and is racked with guilt. He knows she is innocent but cannot admit it. Doing so would mean either implicating himself or revealing the existence of the creature, which would lead to further problems. Justine is found guilty of William's murder and sentenced to death. Victor's fiancee, Elizabeth, gives a defense of Justine during the trial, and Justine herself maintains her innocence. She explains how she was locked outside of the city gates at nightfall after joining the search for the missing William and spent the night in a hayloft. She did not know how the locket came to be in her possession, and she had loved William as her own brother and would not have harmed him in any way. The court is not swayed, and she is sentenced to hang the following day.

Victor and Elizabeth visit Justine in the jail the next day. They find out that Justine has given a false confession under duress, but she will not recant. She lied to prevent herself from being excommunicated and believed she had saved herself from Hell in doing so. She is sure of her innocence and is calm in the face of her execution because she knows she will go to Heaven.

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