Victor Frankenstein is the title character and protagonist of Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus. He is a scientist who, after studying chemical processes and the decay of living beings, gains an insight into the creation of life and gives life to his own creature (often referred to as Frankenstein’s monster, or often incorrectly referred to as simply “Frankenstein”.
The character of Frankenstein was born in Naples according to the 1831 edition of the novel and raised in Geneva. He was the son of Alphonse Frankenstein and Caroline Beaufort, who died of scarlet fever when Frankenstein was 17. He describes his ancestry thus: “I am by birth a Genevese and my family is one of the most distinguished of that republic. My ancestors had been for many years counsellors and syndics and my father had filled several public situations with honour and reputation.”Frankenstein has two younger brothers William, the youngest, and Ernest, the middle child. Frankenstein falls in love with Elizabeth Lavenza, who became his adoptive sister (his blood cousin in the 1818 edition) and, eventually, his fiancy