Chapter 4

Synopsis of Volume 3 Chapter 4

The dead man, a stranger, has been strangled and a lone man is seen leaving the scene in a boat. Frankenstein is taken to see the body: it is Henry Clerval.

He falls into a fever and wakes in prison two months later. The magistrate, however, is not convinced of his guilt and has written to his father, who joins him in Ireland.

Frankenstein is tried for Clerval's murder, but acquitted, and he and his father set out for Geneva, Victor bearing an even greater burden of guilt.

Commentary on Volume 3 Chapter 4

a fever succeeded to this: for the second time in the novel, Victor succumbs to a serious illness at a crucial point in his life – the previous occasion was after the escape of the creature from his laboratory (Volume 1, Chapter 4). Victor's sense of responsibility for the creature's actions seems to be the trigger for this fever.

the assizes: sessions of a County Court.

two eyes that glared upon me: an allusion to Percy Shelley's poem ‘Alastor ' (1816; written 1815).

….two eyes,
Two starry eyes, hung in the gloom of thought,And seemed with their serene and azure smilesTo beckon him.
Lines 489-92

Laudanummaladie du pays: (French) homesickness

laudanum: drops of opium taken in alcohol, commonly used in the eighteenth and nineteenth century as a sedative, painkiller and an aid to sleep. Many people became addicted, including S. T. Coleridge and Thomas de Quincey, a friend of the Lake Poets, who wrote about his experiences of the drug in Confessions of an English Opium-Eater (1821). (see also Literary context: Romanticism).

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