The events of the book are taking place in some time during the 18th century.
The novel includes a frame story, where Captain Walton exchanges letters with his sister, Mrs. Margaret Walton Saville. Captain Walton and his crew are exploring the North Pole. At first they see a figure of a gigantic man in the distance, and then discover and rescue another man, almost frozen to death. This man’s name is Victor Frankenstein, and after he partially recovers, he tells the Captain the story of his life.
Victor Frankenstein’s Story
First of all, Victor tells about his childhood. He was born in Naples and was one of three sons of a wealthy family. The children, Victor, Ernest and William, were encouraged since their childhood to study natural sciences, especially chemistry, and Victor becomes literally obsessed by these studies. Meanwhile, when he is 5 years old, his parents adopt an orphan girl Elisabeth Lavenza, who will later become Victor’s bride. Then they also adopt Justine Moritz, who eventually starts working as a nanny for William.
The grown-up Victor enters the University of Ingolstadt, further deepening his knowledge with the help of University professors. Soon he discovers how to make the inanimate matter alive. He starts constructing a humanoid creature from parts of animal and human bodies, and due to technical difficulties of obtaining small details makes it large, about 8 feet tall. The creature turns out to be very ugly and when Victor manages to bring it to life, he is scared and flees in terror.
In the town he meets his long-time friend Henry Clerval, and when they return to Victor’s home, the monster is no longer there, having ran away when Victor was absent.
Victor suffers a nervous breakdown and falls ill. He recovers only after 4 months. When he arrives to his parent’s home, he learns his brother William has been killed. Then he sees the Monster running away from the crime scene and makes a conclusion that the Monster was the killer. However, Justine Moritz is found guilty in this murder, and sentenced to death. Victor can do nothing to prevent it, because nobody will ever believe the story about the Creature.
Desperate, Victor goes away and meets the Monster. To his surprise, Monster can speak very well, and Victor has to listen to his story. After the Monster fled to the woods, he had to live there alone because people were afraid of him. However, he discovered a poor family living in a cottage amidst the woods, and became attached to them. While he secretly lived alongside them, he leant how to speak and then learnt to read after he found some books. When he once saw his reflection in the water, he realized his ugliness. He tried to befriend the family anyway, but they run away in terror. The feeling of injustice and rage made the Monster burn their house down and want revenge upon Victor who created him to live in misery. So he went back to Victor’s home and killed his brother.
The Monster asked Victor to create a wife for him, to let him have some companion. He threatens that if Victor disagrees, the Monster will kill his remaining family members and friends.
Victor has to agree. He and his friend Henry Clerval arrive to England, and Victor starts his work. Soon he becomes afraid that the new Creature will be even more malicious than the original Monster, or than they will breed and pose a danger to humankind. After one more meeting with the Monster, believing that more evil will come of it, Victor destroys the female Creature. The Creature then swears revenge and tells he will be with Victor “on his wedding night”. Victor believes that the Creature promised to kill him on his wedding night.
Then Victor goes to Ireland to meet his friend. However, the Monster strangles Henry to death, and Victor is accused of it. He manages to prove not guilty and later return home to his father.
After some time, he prepares to marry Elizabeth Lavenza. On their wedding night, he prepares for a deadly fight with the Monster, takes weapons and asks his bride to wait for him in her room, while he checks the house. While he is away, the Monster attacks Elisabeth and kills her. Victor shoots at him, but fails to kill him. The Monster escapes, and Victor aims to pursue him to the North Pole, but freezes and falls unconscious on his way. There Victor is found by Captain Robert Walton.
Captain Walton’s Concluding Story
Soon after the Captain’s ship gets caught in the pack ice; some of the crew members die because of the cold weather, and the Captain decides to return to the warmer regions as soon as it is possible. Soon Victor dies, and the Monster is found on the ship mourning over him. The Monster speaks to the Captain and tells he does not feel peaceful after Victor has died, but feels completely lonely because he has killed all the people somehow connected to him. The Monster regrets his actions, swears to commit suicide and drifts away of a piece of ice, until he disappears from view.