Henry Clerval is considered as Victor’s childhood best friend. We could even go as far as saying that he is part of the Frankenstein family. Henry is the one responsible for nursing Victor back to health in Ingolstadt after he created the Monster. Eventually, Henry goes on a trip with Victor in Europe for his personal pleasure (contrarily to Victor who goes to gain knowledge and build resources to create a female monster). At one point during their expedition, Victor and Henry part in Scotland. Then, Henry is killed by the Creature because of his thirst for revenge after Victor’s destruction of a female creation. Dr. Frankenstein is arrested for the murder of Clerval, but will eventually be set free due to a lack of evidence.
Henry Clerval has a meaningful impact on the story, and even more on Victor Frankenstein. He is almost the exact opposite of Victor, and the contrast between the two characters helps the reader to understand Victor better (he acts as a foil character). For example, Henry has no interest in science as he is more into the moral relations of things. Moreover, Henry is always cheerful, which contrasts Victor’s despair and sadness. In addition, Clerval’s death is extremely significant to Victor considering he was his childhood friend, and also that Henry was full of life and always in a delighted mood. Mary Shelley, the author, most definitely had Clerval die to show how truly horrible Victor’s life became and how the Monster devastated his life.