The section of the novel to which I am writing this blog response is marked by yet another tragedy, the death of Victor’s best friend, Henry Clerval. Clerval is a beautiful young man, and he appears to be almost too perfect to be a real character. Victor’s relationship with him is profound and deeper than with the other characters. Clerval’s nature is opposite to Victor’s. He is smart and savvy but unlike Victor, he has no interest in science. He studies humanities. Languages are his forte. He serves as Frankenstein’s only real connection with society. He comes to Ingolstadt right after Frankenstein creates the monster, and helps him restore his sanity. This is what Victor says upon seeing his best friend, “Nothing could equal my delight on seeing Clerval; his presence brought back to my thoughts my father, Elizabeth, and all those scenes of home so dear to my recollection.” Clerval always reminds Victor of all the good things in life. The world appears better when seen through his friend’s eyes. Clerval has a great heart and can sympathize with Victor’s pain but is never intrusive. He is well mannered and respects his friend’s privacy.
He also possesses the boundless love for nature. He is content with himself and enjoys life. His positive energy is in direct opposite to Frankenstein’s melancholy. He represents the light in Victor’s otherwise dark life. Consequently, Clerval’s death leaves Frankenstein devastated. He is tormented by his best friend’s death since he sees himself as the cause of it. The monster kills Clerval in revenge to Frankenstein. Frankenstein starts creating a mate for the monster but decides to destroy his work. This infuriates the monster and he kills Clerval. Victor’s “freedom” after Clerval’s death feels like a punishment and he says “The cup of life was poisoned for ever; and although the sun shone upon me, as upon the happy and gay of heart, I saw around me nothing but a dense and frightful darkness.” Victor knows that the monster won’t stop inflicting misery upon him, and he fears for those he loves the most.