Why is Henry Clerval’s Death important in Frankenstein?

In Mary Shelley’s novel “Frankenstein,” Victor Frankenstein’s close friend, Henry Clerval, is killed by the monster, causing Victor to spiral into guilt and grief. Victor blames himself for indirectly causing Henry’s death by creating the monster. The intense psychological response to the death scene is typical of the gothic genre.

The death of Henry Clerval changes Victor’s motivation, and he becomes obsessed with seeking vengeance against the monster. The monster’s continued violence further fuels Victor’s desire for revenge. Henry’s murder deepens the novel’s themes, particularly the reversal of roles between creation and creator. The monster now dictates Victor’s motivations and actions.

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Moreover, Henry’s death highlights the disastrous consequences of Victor’s experiment. Throughout the novel, there is a clash between ideals and reality, as Victor fears his creation. This theme reaches its climax with Henry’s death, which causes Victor to realize that his experiment not only put his loved ones in danger but also resulted in the creation of a murderous creature. As a result, Victor takes responsibility for his actions and decides to destroy the monster.


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