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Free Study Guide-Frankenstein by Mary Shelley-Free Chapter Summary Notes
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CHAPTER SUMMARY AND NOTES

CHAPTER 5

Summary

The action reaches a climax in this chapter: Victor's creation is complete and he gives it life. Victor does not know how to react although he feels disgust at the creature's appearance. The features are ruined by his watery eyes, shriveled complexion and straight black lips.

He laments that the charm of a cherished dream vanished as he beheld the "horrid" sight of the creature. He runs out of the room in disgust. He goes to his own room. Sleep and rest have deserted him. He now tries to avoid the creature. He wants to get some sleep but has a terrible nightmare. He imagines that he is about to kiss Elizabeth, but she turns into the corpse of his dead mother. The creature, in the meanwhile, comes to his bedside to speak to him. But Victor rushes out of the room on seeing him.

He awakes the next morning and goes out on the streets to ease the load on his mind. Fortunately, he meets his dearest friend, Henry Clerval. This brings back memories of his home and family. Henry has been able to convince his father to let him study at Ingolstadt.


Victor brings him home, albeit fearfully, as he is dreading the appearance of the "monster." He behaves strangely, and Henry notices that Victor is not well. It is obvious that Victor fears that the monster will return. Victor imagines that he is seated beside the monster, struggles furiously, and then collapses in a fit. After this, Henry tries his best to take care of Victor. He even conceals Victor's serious condition from the family.

It is some time before Victor is restored to health. He is now in a position to re-establish contact with his family and reads letter of Elizabeth's.

Notes

Victor finally succeeds in his attempt to bring to life the gigantic creature. But he rejects the living creature (and his own achievement), however, when he sees its ugliness. He nearly regrets his decision as "horror and disgust" fill his heart at the sight. He avoids the creature as if he were trying to escape from reality, and as if he were afraid to confront the larger-than-life image of his ambition that now stands before him.

The nightmare he has is highly symbolic of his guilt at having set off a chain of casualties. He holds himself responsible for having the potential to lead Elizabeth to her death. He is now terribly overcome by guilt, even though he has realized his mistake. He is aware of the fact that he has overstepped his limits. Furthermore, he is oppressed by the image of his glorious dream turned into a nightmare.

Morning dawns but brings no hope, only rain from a "comfortless" sky. The weather itself seems to embody Victor's despair. The only solace he receives that day is the arrival of Henry, who realizes that something is amiss but cannot discover the reason.

The relationship between Clerval and Victor develops here, as Henry nurses his friend back to health while Victor tries to get over his disgust, fear and apprehension about the monster. His recovery is reflected in the weather, too, as it is now spring time, and buds and green shoots appear everywhere. Victor now gets his priorities straight and decides to re-establish contact with his family and especially with his beloved Elizabeth.

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