Each character in Frankenstein represents a wide range of complex traits and behaviors. If you need a quick primer on who is in the novel and what each character represents, then you've come to the right place.
Main Character Analysis
This look at Frankenstein characters comes with a brief Frankenstein character analysis that will make you look smart during class discussion.
Robert Walton: The novel opens with letters from Rober Walton to his sister. It is through these letters that Walton narrates the tale of Dr. Frankenstein.
- Walton shares many of Victor Frankenstein's character traits, including boundless ambition, a fascination with science and discovery, and a thirst for fame.
Victor Frankenstein: Frankenstein tells Robert Walton his life story, one which includes collecting dead body parts and bringing a creature/monster to life, a monster who wreaks vengeance on his creator for abandoning him and leaving him alone.
Critics argue that Victor Frankenstein is the true monster for his ill treatment of his creation. The subtitle of the novel, The Modern Prometheus, puts Dr. Frankenstein in the category of the overreacher. An overreacher is one who reaches for more than he can handle, akin to Prometheus in Greek Mythology or Lucifer in Milton's Paradise Lost.
- Some argue that Victor Frankenstein qualifies as an epic hero: he possesses a tragic flaw, pride or hubris; fate intervenes to harm him; he realizes his fault too late; and his journey takes in the entire world.
Elizabeth Lavenza Frankenstein: Elizabeth is adopted by the Frankenstein family and raised to be the wife of Victor. She represents all that is beautiful to Victor. She is the antithesis of the monster he creates.
- Beauty surrounds Victor his entire childhood. There's no wonder, therefore, that his reaction to his hideous creation is to flee and consider it evil.
Henry Clerval: Henry is Victor's best friend and follows him to Ingolstadt to help Victor recover from an illness.
- Henry is Victor's opposite. He prefers the arts as opposed to the sciences. Henry becomes one of the monster's victims.
The Monster: Victor's creation is referred to as the monster or the demon. He is created on a dark, dreary night in November.
- The monster has no name. His story is filtered multiple times. The novel's structure emphasizes this point insomuch that the monster's story is told to Victor, who tells it to Walton, who tells it to his sister, who tells it to the narrator, who tells it to us. The monster, in addition, has no family and no friends and compares himself to Adam without Eve.
Justine Moritz: Justine comes to live with the Frankenstein family and cares for the dying Mrs. Frankenstein.
- Justine symbolizes goodness, a goodness which stands opposite to the monster's evil, a goodness in Victor's life the monster vows to destroy.
The De Lacey Family: The monster observes a family in a cottage in the forest and becomes their secret helper. He befriends the blind Mr. De Lacey in hopes that his kindness will serve as a bridge to the rest of the family.
- The monster is amazed about the beauty and depravity of human nature. The story of Felix and Safie moves him and causes him to feel true affection for them. This affection turns to pain as the family beats him and flees after witnessing his deformities.
Alphonso Frankenstein: Victor's father unwittingly encourages Victor's study of science by a disparaging remark regarding Cornelius Agrippa.
- Alphonso was a kind, caring father to Victor. The monster can't bear to see Victor enjoy the presence of loved ones. That's bad news.
Minor Character Analysis
This analysis of Frankenstein characters will help you contribute in any class discussion or a casual conversation.
Margaret Saville: Mrs. Saville is the audience for Robert Walton's tale.
Caroline Beaufort Frankenstein: The daughter of Alphonso's close friend is left in poverty at her father's death. Alphonso takes care of Caroline and marries her a couple years later.
- Her death shortly before Victor leaves for Ingolstadt affects his desire to reanimate life.
William Frankenstein: Victor's youngest brother, murdered by the monster.
- Although the monster's story is heart breaking at times, the fact that he was capable of killing an innocent boy makes mercy difficult.
Professors Krempe and Waldman: Two professors at Ingolstadt who influence Frankenstein's work.
- Both recognized Victor's scientific inclination, yet had no idea that Victor had created life from dead body parts.