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Chapter 9

Professor Regina Buccola of Roosevelt University provides an in-depth summary and analysis of Chapter 9 of Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein.

Frankenstein | Chapter 9 (Volume 2, Chapter 2) | Summary

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Summary

Victor explains that he and the others spent a day in nature, near the Arve River, and Victor's "grief" was "subdued and tranquillized." The following morning, Victor felt his depression recurring and decided to return to nature, this time climbing in the mountains and glaciers that partly cover them. Moved by the "solitary grandeur" of the scene, Victor quotes to Walton the last eight lines of Percy's poem "Mutability." Returning to his narrative, he explains that he arrived on the top of the glacier around noon and rested before walking on the glacier for two hours. Looking at the magnificent scene of Montanvert, a glacier, and Mont Blanc, he felt "something like joy."

He then saw what he assumed to be a man running toward him "with superhuman speed." As the figure came closer, Victor realized it was the Monster. Victor violently rejected the Monster, calling him "Devil" and saying, "Begone, vile insect! Or rather, stay, that I may trample you to dust!" Victor tried to attack and kill the Monster, but he was too slow. Nevertheless, the Monster convinced Victor to hear what he has to say. The Monster said to him, "I ought to be thy Adam; but I am rather the fallen angel, whom thou drivest from joy for no misdeed." He asked Victor to help him, to make him "happy," and described his lonely "wretchedness." He threatened Victor, saying that Victor must know his story and choose if the Monster will disappear or "ruin" his life. Finally, Victor agreed to hear him out. Victor realized that "for the first time, also, I felt what the duties of a creator towards his creature were, and that I ought to render him happy before I complained of his wickedness." Victor also hoped to confirm his suspicion that the Monster was his brother's murderer. They went to the Monster's hut so the Monster could tell his story.

Analysis

The Monster's plea that he should be Adam but instead is the "fallen angel" is an allusion to both Genesis and Milton's retelling of it in Paradise Lost. According to the Bible, Adam is the first human God created. The "fallen angel" is Lucifer, the angel God cast out after he tried to seize control of heaven. Lucifer becomes Satan, the ruler of hell, saying in Paradise Lost, "Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven."

  • The Monster is "fallen." He should have been Victor's finest creation ("I ought to be ... Adam"), but instead he has become Victor's greatest failure. Of course, the Monster is not like Adam until he has a mate, as Adam had. Equating himself with Adam, then, foreshadows his demand that Victor make a mate for him. He calls himself a "fallen angel," but that is Lucifer (Satan), who challenged God and thus fell from heaven. The Monster initially does nothing wrong, but Victor punishes him.
  • Victor is God. The Monster is suggesting that Victor should have cared for him as God does for all his creations. Thus, the fault lies with Victor, not with the Monster, for all of the evil the Monster has done. Victor, in feeling "for the first time ... the duties of a creator," recognizes this responsibility. He is always held back, though, by his horror at the Monster. A harmonious relationship between the two is impossible.

Earlier in the novel, Victor feared the Monster because of his hideous appearance. He is now aware of the Monster's great strength and stamina. The fact that the Monster speaks and alludes to Paradise Lost shows that he has acquired language and great learning, both of which make him a far more formidable foe than his mere brute strength and endurance did. Victor rightly fears the Monster's intelligence and cunning.

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