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Frankenstein | Chapter 13 (Volume 2, Chapter 6) | Summary

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Summary

Here, the Monster recounts the history of the De Lacey family. Some years before, they were wealthy and distinguished in Paris, France, but the family was ruined by Safie's father, a Turkish merchant. Running afoul of the French government, Safie's father was unjustly jailed and sentenced to death. Felix, present at the trial by chance, decided to help the merchant. Felix went to the prison, where he met the beautiful Safie. Felix refused the merchant's offer of both money and marriage to Safie in return for his rescue, although he hoped to marry Safie anyway. The Monster cites letters between Felix and Safie in his possession that will corroborate the story he is relating and says he will show them to Victor.

The Monster then returns to the narrative of the De Laceys' story. The night before the execution of the merchant was scheduled to take place, Felix helped him escape from prison; after those two and Sadie escaped to Italy, Felix and Sadie's relationship grew. However, Felix's involvement in the escape was uncovered by authorities, and M. De Lacey and Agatha were imprisoned for five months. Felix hurried home to Paris, leaving Safie in a convent, but his family was ruined, their fortune confiscated by the government and their reputation shattered. The De Laceys had to leave France for Germany. The Turkish merchant betrayed Felix by ordering Safie home to Turkey, but she managed to escape to return to Felix, which explained her arrival at the cottage.

Analysis

The Turkish merchant suffers an unjust punishment—imprisonment and a death sentence. The De Lacey family suffers an unjust punishment—the loss of their money, land, and reputation. The Monster suffers an unjust punishment—the loss of all human companionship and comfort. In addition, all are outsiders: the merchant because of his nationality, the De Laceys because of their exile, and the Monster because of his appearance. Felix's courage in helping the merchant contrasts Victor's cowardice in not helping Justine; Felix's sympathy for Safie contrasts Victor's deep loathing of the Monster.

The offer of Safie to Felix in marriage in return for her father's freedom is another example of female powerlessness. Like Victor's mother had once been, like Elizabeth and Justine had been as children, Safie is at the mercy of a dominant male. Felix is unusual in being "too delicate to accept" that offer and in hoping they can develop love. That desire parallels the reality for Victor and Elizabeth, but it also contrasts with the Monster, who wants to be given a mate but never is.

The Monster's stated intention to show Victor the Felix-Sadie letters reinforces the idea of evidence and proof set up in the Walton framing story. He wants to be believed; it is important to him to be seen as credible.

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