Frankenstein

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Elizabeth Lavenza Character Analysis

Victor's sister by adoption, and later his wife. Elizabeth is a stunningly beautiful and remarkably pure girl whom Victor's mother adopts. All the Frankensteins adore Elizabeth, and Victor, about four years her elder, quickly begins to "protect, love, and cherish" her. Eventually Victor and Elizabeth marry. Through all of it, Elizabeth remains gorgeous, pure, and passive. NOTE: In the first edition (1818) of Frankenstein, Elizabeth is Alphonse's niece and, therefore, Victor's cousin. In the revised 1831 edition, the Frankensteins adopt Elizabeth, as described above.

Elizabeth Lavenza Quotes in Frankenstein

The Frankenstein quotes below are all either spoken by Elizabeth Lavenza or refer to Elizabeth Lavenza. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Family, Society, Isolation Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the W. W. Norton & Company edition of Frankenstein published in 2012.
Chapter 22 Quotes
If for one instant I had thought what might be the hellish intention of my fiendish adversary, I would rather have banished myself forever from my native country and wandered a friendless outcast over the earth than have consented to this miserable marriage. But, as if possessed of magic powers, the monster had blinded me to his real intentions; and when I thought that I had prepared only my own death, I hastened that of a far dearer victim.
Related Characters: Victor Frankenstein (speaker), The Monster, Elizabeth Lavenza
Page Number: 137
Explanation and Analysis:

Victor has returned to Geneva, following Henry's death and his own nervous illness. He has become engaged to Elizabeth — and though he thinks about the Monster's final threat a great deal ("I will be with you on your wedding night"), he fails to understand that Elizabeth is in danger. Shelley makes no attempt to disguise Elizabeth's future demise in this section: we have no doubt that the "far dearer victim" is Victor's fiancée.

Victor believes he has grasped the situation, and this arrogant certainty "blinds" him to the truth. (He even announces that the Monster "blinded [him] to his real intentions.") Victor's ambition and his fallibility are inextricable: beset by lofty desires (either for revenge, glory, or the peace of death), he cannot always see the reality of a situation. 

Shelley reminds us of Victor's curious position, at once a loving family member and an outcast, and the word "native" is crucial to this quote. It should remind us of Chapter 4, when Victor tells Walton that a "man who believes his native town to be the world" is happier than an ambitious one. Victor is too caught up in his research to belong to his family or his environment; like Robert Walton and the Monster, he is not at home in the world. Shelley does not present this as a desirable state. 



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Elizabeth Lavenza Character Timeline in Frankenstein

The timeline below shows where the character Elizabeth Lavenza appears in Frankenstein. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
When he was five, his mother discovered a beautiful blond orphan girl named Elizabeth Lavenza in an Italian village and adopted her. (full context)
Family, Society, Isolation Theme Icon
Lost Innocence Theme Icon
Victor, his parents, and all the Frankensteins adored Elizabeth. She became to him a "more than sister." The two children referred to each other... (full context)
Chapter 2
Ambition and Fallibility Theme Icon
Romanticism and Nature Theme Icon
Lost Innocence Theme Icon
Victor describes his perfect childhood. He and Elizabeth got along perfectly, though she favored poetry while he longed to unravel the "physical secrets"... (full context)
Ambition and Fallibility Theme Icon
Lost Innocence Theme Icon
In addition to Elizabeth, Victor shares a close friendship with Henry Clerval, his well-read schoolmate. Like Victor, Clerval possesses... (full context)
Chapter 3
Revenge Theme Icon
Lost Innocence Theme Icon
Just before Victor turns seventeen, Elizabeth catches scarlet fever and passes it on to Victor's mother, who dies. Her dying wish... (full context)
Chapter 5
Family, Society, Isolation Theme Icon
...to send a letter to his father and family, and gives him a letter from Elizabeth. (full context)
Chapter 6
Family, Society, Isolation Theme Icon
Lost Innocence Theme Icon
In her letter, Elizabeth updates Victor on his brothers, and says that Justine Moritz, a former servant of the... (full context)
Chapter 8
Lost Innocence Theme Icon
...of the court, who says that Justine has already confessed to the crime. Victor and Elizabeth visit Justine in prison, and she explains that she was pressured into confessing by her... (full context)
Chapter 9
Revenge Theme Icon
Lost Innocence Theme Icon
One day Elizabeth tells Victor that she no longer sees the world the same way after witnessing the... (full context)
Chapter 18
Family, Society, Isolation Theme Icon
...Victor's distress, and thinks it might stem from some reluctance on Victor's part to marry Elizabeth. Victor assures his father he'd like nothing more than to marry Elizabeth. Alphonse suggests they... (full context)
Chapter 20
Family, Society, Isolation Theme Icon
Revenge Theme Icon
...night." Victor thinks the monster means to kill him on that night, and fears for Elizabeth left alone as a widow. (full context)
Chapter 22
Family, Society, Isolation Theme Icon
Revenge Theme Icon
While in Paris, Victor receives a letter from Elizabeth. She expresses her desire to marry Victor, but worries he may have taken another lover... (full context)
Family, Society, Isolation Theme Icon
Ambition and Fallibility Theme Icon
Romanticism and Nature Theme Icon
Lost Innocence Theme Icon
...father arrive in Geneva. The wedding takes place ten days later. Yet as Victor and Elizabeth sail to a cottage by Lake Como in Italy for their honeymoon, Victor's fear of... (full context)
Chapter 23
Family, Society, Isolation Theme Icon
Ambition and Fallibility Theme Icon
Revenge Theme Icon
...armed with a pistol and terrified that the monster will attack at any moment, sends Elizabeth to bed for her own safety. But as he searches the house, he hears a... (full context)
Family, Society, Isolation Theme Icon
Revenge Theme Icon
Victor rushes back to Geneva. The news of Elizabeth's death overwhelms his father Alphonse, who dies a few days later. (full context)