Chapter 5

Synopsis of Volume 3 Chapter 5

Frankenstein and his father arrive in Paris, where he finds a letter from Elizabeth that leads him to recall the monster's threat about his wedding-night.

Back in Geneva, plans are being made for the wedding, and Frankenstein assumes that the monster plans to kill him on the night of his wedding.

After the wedding, Victor and Elizabeth set off to spend the night in Evian before going to their new home in Cologny.

Commentary on Volume 3 Chapter 5

‘They all died by my hands': once again Victor speaks of his sense of Mer de Glace photo by Jean-Pol GRANDMONT available through Creative Commonsresponsibility and guilt but is unable to reveal, even to his father, why he feels like this.

the sea of ice: the Mer de Glace at Chamonix, where Victor and the monster have their long encounter in Volume 2, Chapters 2-9.

paradisiacal dreams … from all hope: this reference to the events of Genesis 3 suggests that Victor likens himself to Adam and his earlier life with Elizabeth as a kind of Garden of Eden before the Fall.

And the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband; and he did eat …

Genesis 3:6

So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

Genesis 3:24

… yet tears were in her eyes … blasted and miserable as I was: these physical details make clear the price that both Victor and Elizabeth have paid as a result of the family's sufferings.

we resolved to go by water: Victor and Elizabeth sail to Evian from Geneva, which stands at the southern tip of Lake Leman. The lake is roughly crescent-shaped and lies on an east-west axis. The Jura stands on its northern shore, opposite Mont Salêve, Montalêgre and Mont Blânc are to its west and south. This passage is another example of the novel's very precise topography.

The invader who would wish to enslave it: Switzerland was regarded as a symbol of democratic liberty, especially by those who sympathised with the French Revolution of 1789, so its invasion by Napoleon's forces in 1798 was a great disillusionment. From 1798-1802 it was a French puppet state, and remained under French control until, in 1815 the Congress of Vienna assured the independence of the Swiss Federation and its permanent neutrality.

Thus Elizabeth endeavoured … cling to me for ever: this passage demonstrates that the mountain no longer has a decisive effect on Victor's spirits. Both he and Elizabeth find it difficult to remain cheerful, in spite of the fact that it is their wedding-day.

Investigating Volume 3 Chapter 5

In this chapter, Elizabeth writes Victor a letter. What does it reveal about their characters and the nature of their relationship?

More on Elizabeth's letter:

  • The letter reminds Victor of his happy childhood and what he has sacrificed by his scientific pursuits and the creation of the monster.
  • Elizabeth reveals her trust, love, fidelity and selflessness: the strength of her feeling for him is such that she is prepared to give him up if, as she suspects, he is in love with someone else.
  • She demonstrates great concern for his welfare, and thus tells the reader something about Victor's absorption in his own situation.
  • Above all, the letter reminds Victor of the monster's threat to be with him on his wedding-night.
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