Mock Trial

Frankenstein

Introduction

Students often learn more about a literary work by taking on the roles of the characters in some type of role-playing or simulation activity. In this activity students will stage a trial that answers the question: Is Victor Frankenstein responsible for the murders his creation committed?

Class Time

It will take approximately two weeks of preparation time for this activity. The teacher will determine how much of the prep needs to be done in class and how much can be done as homework assignments. Students will need class prep time for :

Objectives

By completing this activity, students will:

Scenario

As a result of Victor Frankenstein's experiment in creating life, many people died. Should Frankenstein be held accountable for the deaths that his Creation committed? Because Frankenstein purposefully created a being through unnatural means, he is being tried for that creation's crimes. Since Frankenstein created the being without assuming the responsibility to care for it and acclimate it to the society in which it was "born", Frankenstein is being tried in court for negligence. Witnesses from the novel as well as fictional experts will be called to the stand to testify in this situation. Attorneys will determine whether witnesses will be primary defense or prosecution witnesses.

Participants will have to suspend their disbelief for purposes of the trial because most of the participants in the trial - including the defendant - are dead by the end of the novel.

Roles

  1. Judge: Maintains order in the court and may be called upon to make the final decision, even over-riding the jury if he deems it necessary. Also rules on all the objections. He will also write up his view of Victor's guilt or innocence after hearing the arguments and evidence.
  2. Prosecutors: Organize and prepare each of their witnesses, prepare questions for each witness and defendant, prepare and deliver opening and closing statements, take notes during the defense's direct questioning, and then cross examine the defense witnesses. (a team of 3 attorneys)
  3. Defense Attorneys: Organize and prepare each of their witnesses, prepare questions for each witness and defendant, prepare and deliver opening and closing statements, take notes during the prosecutors' direct questioning, and then cross examine the prosecutor's witnesses. (a team of 3 attorneys)
  4. Witnesses: Meet with prosecutors and defense attorneys to prepare testimony, review the novel to answer questions, turn in answers to questions supported by quotes from the novel, stay in character, answer as a person in 16th century Europe would.
    1. Victor Frankenstein (defendant)
    2. Alphonse Frankenstein
    3. Robert Walton
    4. Creation
    5. Justine Moritz
    6. Elizabeth
    7. Ernest Frankenstein
    8. Henry Clerval
    9. Frankenstein's science professors
      1. M. Krempe (natural philosophy)
      2. M. Waldman (another professor)
    10. Experts (scientists, psychologists, clergy)
    11. Court Bailiff (announces the entrance and exit of judge, swears in witnesses, must also write an essay explaining what his decision would be, based on the evidence)
  5. Jury:
    1. Head juror (1): Leads the discussion of the jury, conducts secret ballots, and renders verdict before court, as well a the other juror duties.
    2. Jurors (11): Take notes, discuss with fellow jurors, render a decision based on the evidence. Must write a paper explaining their own position, based on the evidence heard.
  6. Court Reporters (1-2): Take notes on courtroom events, interview witnesses, interview jurors (after the trial), write the article covering the case, as a reporter in 16th Century Europe would do.

Procedure

Requirements