Frankenstein Chapter 9 Summary

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.

Victor Frankenstein finds himself in anguish over what his creation has become and what it is capable of doing. This lesson is a summary of Chapter 9 of Mary Shelley's ''Frankenstein''. It also includes a brief review of the previous chapter and analysis of an important theme in the novel.


Victor Frankenstein has just witnessed the trial and execution of Justine Mortiz, a family servant who was close to the Frankensteins and treated more like a sister than a housekeeper. His creature murdered William, Victor's younger brother, and framed Justine. Justine made a false confession to prevent herself from being excommunicated, and she was hanged, knowing she would go to heaven. Victor was agonized because he knew he was ultimately at fault for all the harm caused by the creature. But he was unable to bring himself to admit what had happened and his role in it.

Fleeing Geneva

After Justine's execution, Victor sinks into a deep depression. He is in a much darker place than he was several years earlier in Ingolstadt, after his experiments succeeded and the creature was given life. Victor is restless and anxious. His father sees how depressed he is and tells Victor that he should try to find happiness, as living in sorrow will make life unbearable.

Victor, his fiancee Elizabeth, and his father Alphonse leave Geneva and go to the Frankenstein home in Belrive, a bucolic village near the shores of Lake Geneva. To Victor, the village is the opposite of Geneva, with its gates and strictures. Alphonse recommends Victor seek happiness so life does not become a burden, and Elizabeth feels that perhaps Victor has gone a bit mad with his grief. Victor finds Elizabeth a changed woman after Justine's execution. She now recognizes injustice is an inherent part of the world around her. Victor feels responsible for her loss of innocence and the change in her personality. Elizabeth's more jaded, less optimistic view of the world weighs on him. He is also burdened by the deaths of William and Justine, and the havoc wrought by his creature.

Lake Geneva by J. M. W. Turner
Lake Geneva by J. M. W. Turner

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