|Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus character|
|Portrayed by||Mae Clarke
Helena Bonham Carter
Elizabeth Frankenstein (née Lavenza) is a fictional character first introduced in Mary Shelley's 1818 novel Frankenstein. In both the novel and its various film adaptations, she is the fiancee of Victor Frankenstein.
Role in the novel
Elizabeth Lavenza was adopted by Victor's family which Caroline, Victor's mother, says, "I have a pretty present for my little Victor." She is referring to Elizabeth, treating her like something someone owns, not like a person. Elizabeth Lavenza is beautiful, which is the reason why she stood out to Victor's parents in her family's house. She is also quite dull, not the smartest of beings but one could say her beauty is a reasonable trade. Elizabeth Lavenza is first introduced as Victor Frankenstein's adopted sister; she lives with his family, and they call each other cousins even though they are not related. Victor describes her as his perfect woman: young, beautiful, and totally caring and wonderful. All through the novel, Elizabeth is writing letters to Victor, encouraging him and acting as a sort of positive force against the monster. After the monster begs Victor to create a mate for him and he agrees, he is furious when Victor destroys it upon completion and vows "I will be with you on your wedding-night." This grim foreboding turns out to be true: On the day of her marriage to Victor, the monster breaks into the bridal suite and strangles her. Her death is significant because it gives Victor a unique understanding of his creation: He now knows what it feels like to be completely alone in the world, with nothing to live for but revenge.
Role in the Universal films
Elizabeth is worried by how her fiancee, Henry, has secluded himself in his laboratory and refused to see anyone. After his experiments get out of control, Henry departs the laboratory and returns home to his ancestral village. The monster runs loose on the day of the wedding, and Henry tells Elizabeth to stay in one of the rooms. The monster climbs through the window and frightens her so badly that she faints. She is last seen by Henry's bedside as he recovers from his climactic battle with the monster.
In Bride of Frankenstein, Elizabeth and Henry are married. She is kidnapped by the monster as a means of making Henry agree to create the Monster a mate. Henry and Elizabeth are reunited at the end of the film after they escape the explosion of Henry's laboratory.
Role in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
Elizabeth plays the same role in Kenneth Branagh's Mary Shelley's Frankenstein as she does in the novel, save one significant plot point; after she dies at the monster's hands, a desperate Victor tries to reanimate her as an undead being, using the same technology he used to create the monster. He succeeds, but Elizabeth commits suicide after seeing her own reflection.
Elizabeth Lavenza was portrayed by Mae Clarke in Frankenstein, by Valerie Hobson in The Bride of Frankenstein, by Helena Bonham Carter in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, and Lacey Turner in Frankenstein's Wedding.
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