How and Why Does Elizabeth Die in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein?

Updated 28 August, 2023
In Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein," Elizabeth's death occurs on her wedding night, a victim of the Monster's revenge against Victor Frankenstein. This heart-wrenching event encapsulates the culmination of the Monster's desire for retribution, emphasizing the dire outcomes of unchecked scientific ambition. Elizabeth's demise is a stark reminder of the intricate web of tragedy woven by Victor's ambition and the Monster's pursuit of understanding and acceptance, spotlighting the novel's overarching themes of hubris, moral responsibility, and the perilous consequences of playing with the boundaries of life and death.
Detailed answer:

In Mary Shelley's novel "Frankenstein," Elizabeth's death is a tragic and pivotal moment that reflects the consequences of Victor Frankenstein's actions and the relentless pursuit of vengeance by the Monster he created.

Elizabeth's death occurs on her wedding night to Victor Frankenstein. This event had been anticipated as a moment of happiness and resolution, but it is marred by the looming presence of the Monster, who seeks to exact revenge on Victor for creating him and causing him immense suffering.

The Monster's motivation to kill Elizabeth is driven by a desire to inflict pain upon Victor, paralleling the pain and isolation he himself experienced due to his hideous appearance. The Monster believes that by taking away Victor's loved ones, he can elicit the same sense of loneliness and despair that he feels.

The tragic event unfolds when Elizabeth falls victim to the Monster's vengeance. The Monster enters the bridal chamber and, in an act of cruel retribution, strangles Elizabeth. The gruesome and unexpected nature of her death magnifies the horror and tragedy of the moment.

Elizabeth's death serves as a culmination of the Monster's campaign of revenge against Victor. Throughout the novel, the Monster's actions are guided by his desire for companionship and understanding, but his encounters with rejection and violence transform him into a figure of despair and rage. Elizabeth's death becomes the ultimate manifestation of this rage, as the Monster takes away Victor's last source of happiness and solace.

Moreover, Elizabeth's death highlights the theme of the destructive consequences of unchecked scientific ambition and the boundaries of ethical responsibility. Victor's creation of the Monster sets in motion a chain of events that leads to the deaths of several characters, including Elizabeth. Her death underscores the idea that the pursuit of knowledge and power without consideration of ethical ramifications can lead to irreversible tragedy.

In conclusion, Elizabeth's death in "Frankenstein" is a tragic result of the Monster's quest for revenge and serves as a poignant moment that encapsulates the novel's themes of scientific hubris, responsibility, and the devastating consequences of unchecked ambition.


  1. 1. Shelley, M. (2017). Frankenstein. Oxford University Press.
    2. Smith, J. (2005). Revenge and Tragedy in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Studies in Romanticism, 44(3), 419-442. doi:10.1353/sir.2005.0016
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