|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 fiancée of Victor Frankenstein.
Role in the novel
Elizabeth Lavenza was adopted by Victor's family. While Victor's first cousin in the original release of the novel, in Shelley's 1831 rewrite, she is first introduced as Victor Frankenstein's unrelated, adopted sister. Victor describes her as his perfect woman: young, beautiful, and completely devoted to him. Elizabeth continually writes letters to Victor, encouraging him and acting as a positive force against his guilt at creating the monster.
After the monster begs Victor to create a mate for him and he agrees, he is furious when Victor destroys it before 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
She worries when Henry secludes himself in his laboratory and refuses to see anyone, and begs his mentor Professor Waldman, to talk some sense into him. 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. When the monster decides to destroy Franskenstein Castle with himself, his bride and the evil Septimus Praetorious inside, he allows Henry and Elizabeth to leave. The couple are last seen holding each other as the castle burns down.
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. Elizabeth is recreated as Eli in the Pemberley Digital web series Frankenstein, M.D.. Elizabeth is portrayed by Katie Weston in Frankenstein: The Musical.
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