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Frankenstein, Edited by Stuart Curran
STUDY AIDS : CHARACTERS

Safie


Daughter of a Turkish merchant, adopted by the De Lacey family.

The Creature watches Safie's arrival at the cottage, admiring her "countenance of angelic beauty" (II:5:4), and noting her cheering effect on Felix. He soon notices that as she "appeared to have a language of her own, she was neither understood by, or herself understood, the cottagers" (II:5:6); the Creature resolves to use this to his advantage, learning the French language by overhearing Safie's language lessons.

As the Creature learns a language, he learns the shared story of Safie and the De Laceys. Safie was the daughter of a Turkish merchant resident in Paris and a Christian Arab, enslaved by the Turks, who had raised her as a Christian (II:6:8). Her father's arrest (on unspecified political grounds) leads Felix to vow to free him, and this attracts Safie to him. The night before his scheduled execution, he frees the Turk and conducts him to Leghorn with Safie. The Creature notes that "The Turk allowed this intimacy to take place," not wishing to lose Felix's help (II:6:12). But when the De Lacey family is imprisoned for assisting in his escape, "the treacherous Turk, for whom he and his family endured such unheard-of oppression, on discovering that his deliverer was thus reduced to poverty and impotence, became a traitor to good feeling and honour, and had quitted Italy with his daughter" (II:6:15).

Safie, averse to the thought of living in Turkey, fled her father and traveled to Germany to stay with the De Laceys. As the Creature notes of their cottage, "The presence of Safie diffused happiness among its inhabitants" (II:7:10). The Creature's last sight of her is as she flees the cottage in horror upon discovering him with old De Lacey (II:7:38).

Original publication date

1818
1831

Published @ RC

May 2009