Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Study questions (read the chapters and answer the following questions)
1. Is Walton a reliable narrator? Why or why not?
2. Is Walton’s goal to “confer on all mankind . . . a passage near the pole” noble or overly ambitious?
3. How does Robert’s desire for a friend affect his relationship with Dr. Frankenstein? How might this relationship affect the reader’s trust in Walton as a reliable narrator?
1. How does Victor’s statement that “the world was to me a secret which I desired to divine” serve as characterization?
2. How do Henry and Victor differ? Why might Shelley be setting them up as character foils?
3. What is Shelley’s intent when she has Victor characterize Elizabeth as “the saintly soul (who) shone like a shrine-dedicated lamp in our peaceful home?” What role does this characterization set for Elizabeth?
4. Is Victor’s fascination with the Philosopher’s Stone an admirable one?
1. Victor’s obsession with natural science results in two years passing with no visits home. How would you evaluate his character at this point?
2. Describe the shift in tone when Victor says, “Learn from me, if not by my precepts, at least by my example, how dangerous is the acquirement of knowledge and how much happier the man is who believes his native town to be the world, than he who aspires to become greater than his nature will allow.”
3. During his summer experiment, Victor admits “his eyes were insensible to the charms of nature.” What role might nature (or the lack of it) play for Victor?
4. What message might Victor be missing when he dreams that his kiss turns Elizabeth into a corpse?
1. Who is at fault for William’s death? Is anyone other than the murderer responsible for what happened?
2. How might Justine’s trial have differed in today’s court system?
3. How does Victor’s guilt affect his health? What is Shelley’s purpose in this recurring plot...