Chapter 1

Synopsis of Volume 2 Chapter 1

After Justine's execution, the grief-stricken and guilt-ridden family travel to the Vale of Chamonix, in the shadow of Mont Blanc.

Commentary on Volume 2 Chapter 1

I was tempted to plunge into the silent lake: like the hero of The Sorrows of Young Werther by Goethe, Frankenstein is tempted by suicide (See Literary context: The monster's reading).

More on use of Goethe:

There is an irony in this echo of Goethe's novel, since later in Frankenstein (Vol. 2, Chap. 7) the creature finds, reads and is very much affected by the same novel. Werther is not the only person with whom both Frankenstein and his creation are to be compared: others are Satan and Adam.

picturesque: it was during the eighteenth century that this word – meaning like a picture or worthy of being painted – became a common description of wild scenery.

More on contemporary view of picturesque:

As opportunities for travel increased during the 18th century, a taste for rural scenery began to develop, encouraged by the work of painters who represented scenes of nature, preferably both wild and remote. There was a cult of the picturesque and the owners of large houses and estates began to employ a new kind of landscape gardeners who specialised in creating gardens that looked ‘wild' and ‘natural', often including waterfalls, miniature rocky crags and fake ruins.

aiguilles: (French) peaks

Investigating Volume 2 Chapter 1
  • In this chapter, the remaining members of the Frankenstein family go on a journey away from Geneva, high into the Alps.
    • What is the effect of this journey on the members of the family?
  • Think about other scenes in the novel set in the mountains. Do they have any features in common?
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