Just before Victor turns seventeen, Elizabeth catches scarlet fever and passes it on to Victor's mother, who dies. Her dying wish is for Victor and Elizabeth to marry. Still in grief, Victor says goodbye to Clerval, Elizabeth, and his father and leaves to study at Ingolstadt, a university in Germany.
Victor's perfect family suffers its first pain. His loss of innocence begins with his mother's death and continues with his quest for knowledge at University.
He meets with his professor of natural philosophy, M. Krempe, who tells Victor that his previous studies have all been a waste of time. Yet Victor then attends a class with M. Waldman, a chemistry professor, whose lecture on the power and recent successes of science inspire Victor to dedicate himself to revealing "to the world the deepest mysteries of creation." The next day Victor visits Waldman, who supports his plan.
Victor's ambition is both to gain glory and an innocent desire to aid society through his scientific achievements. Note how Victor ignores Krempe just as Walton ignores Victor: both are blinded by ambition. It's interesting to ponder whether his mother's death inspires Victor's ambition.