My name is Capitan Walton. My ship was exploring the Arctic when we found a man on a piece of floating ice. He was called Victor Frankenstein. One night, he told me a strange tale.
My dear captain, how shall I begin? I grew up near Geneva. I was a happy child. My parents had two other sons, Ernest and William, and they took in an orphan, Elizabeth. When I was seventeen, I went to the University of Ingolstadt. A professor there inspired me to study chemistry. This changed my life as I became obsessed with the search for the secret of life. I worked day and night for two years and, finally, I found the secret. To test my discovery, I decided to create a new life in the laboratory. My dear captain, how shall I begin? I grew up near Geneva. I was a happy child. My parents had two other sons, Ernest and William, and they took in an orphan, Elizabeth. When I was seventeen, I went to the University of Ingolstadt. A professor there inspired me to study chemistry. This changed my life as I became obsessed with the search for the secret of life. I worked day and night for two years and, finally, I found the secret. To test my discovery, I decided to create a new life in the laboratory.
I collected parts of bodies and, after two years, I was ready to bring my creature to life. But when I saw the monster I had created, I felt horror and disgust. How can I describe the monster?
You could see the muscles under his thin, yellow skin. His hair was long and black, his teeth were pearly white, but his eyes were watery and his lips black. When my friend Henry Clerval arrived, I said nothing about the monster, which by now had left my house. Henry brought news of my family. They were well and ha taken in a servant called Justine. Imagine my shock when a letter arrived from my father – my young brother William had been murdered!
I went to my parents house. Just before I got there, I saw the monster running through the trees. I realised the monster I had created killed my brother! When I got to the house, I was horrified to discover that Justine, who had been found near the scene of the crime, was accused of the murder. I knew she was innocent but could say nothing. She was hanged. Soon afterwards, while I was spending some time alone in the mountains, I met my evil creation again. The monster begged me to listen to history. This is what he said:
When I left your house, I came across a cottage and lived secretly in the barn watching an old, blind man and his children. I learned how to speak and I realised how miserable I was. I had no family, no memories, no childhood. One day, I decided to speak to the old man. He was kind and couldnt see my ugly body. But as soon as his children returned, they screamed and hit me with sticks. I ran away. On one occasion, I saved a girl from drowning in a river but when her friend saw me, he fired a gun at me. This was the reward of kindness. I promised eternal hatred and revenge on mankind. My first victim was your young brother. But now I want you to make me a female companion and we will live together far away from all humans, I promise.
I agreed to his demand, though the idea was terrible to me. When I returned home, my father mentioned his wish for me to merry Elizabeth, whom I loved dearly. But before the marriage, I needed to go to England to complete my work. Henry came with me to England and I completed my second creation. But suddenly, my monster arrived. He said: You are my creator but I am your master! In my confusion, I broke the body into pieces. The monster left, saying: I will be with you on your wedding night!
The next day the police arrested me. I was accused of the murder of a young man. They showed me the body – it was my friend Henry! My monster had claimed his third victim. They put me in prison but, in the end, I was proved innocent. I was hunted by what the monster had said about my wedding night and I wanted to destroy him. On our wedding night, I was checking for the monster outside when I heard screams.
I ran upstairs, only to find Elizabeth dead! The monster was at the window. He laughed before he ran off into the night. The destruction of the monster was now my only aim. I followed him all over the Earth – the Mediterranean, the Black Sea, Russia – but he always escaped. He went north. I followed him to the frozen wastes of the Arctic but he was one step ahead. I was drifting on a piece of broken ice when, dear captain, you found me. I am dying. Please believe me and promise me to kill this monster.
Those were his last words. He died in my cabin. I went out and then I heard strange noises. When I returned to my cabin, I saw the monster, a horrible creature, kneeling next to Frankenstein and crying. He told me how miserable he had been and how guilty he felt. He wanted to die and assured me he would destroy himself. Then, he jumped out of the cabin window onto the ice and was taken away by the waves into the darkness.