The Gothic and Romantic Elements in Frankenstein

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Frankenstein by Mary Shelley is a perfect combination of Goth and Romance to make an unforgettable story.

Gothic novels generally have some type of mystery and include the supernatural. Shelley uses mysterious circumstances in the story such as when Victor is searching for body parts to put together his creation and she uses the supernatural aspect of raising the dead to give the story an eerie tone.

Gothic novels also take place is dark and gloomy places such as castles or old buildings and in this case the setting of Victors laboratory where he created his “monster” is a perfect example. Victor describes how: “It was on a dreary night of November” (Shelley 58). Also in the arctic, where Walton travelled through, is an unfamiliar place which adds mystery to the reading because the reader wonders what it is like.  In Gothic novels the theme of pain is also carried out through the story. In Frankenstein the creature also feels pain throughout the book especially when he ran out of the village after confronting the Delacy’s: “I am alone and miserable; man will not associate with me; but one as deformed and horrible as me would not deny herself to me” (Shelley 133).

Most importantly, Frankenstein deals with the most intense element of goth; death. There is lots of death throughout the book starting with the death of Victors Mother which sets a sad and gloomy feel. When the creature wants revenge on Victor he uses the act of murder by killing Victors brother and wife Elizabeth.

While the Gothic element adds to the story it also features Romantic aspects as well. Firstly, I will talk about the belief in the power of the individual. This is because this is the first thing I noticed when reading. I believe that Robert Walton and Victor Frankenstein both share the title of being an individual. This is because they both share the passion for discovery; Walton and his voyage to the North Pole and Victor with his goal of creating life.They both share their own thoughts and ideas making them individuals.

There is also the love and appreciation of nature. The story takes place in Switzerland and we can see how romantic of a character Victor is because of his response to nature: “Dear mountains! My own beautiful lake! Your summits are clear; the sky and lake are blue and placid” (Shelley 72). The creature also appreciates nature in the same way. Throughout the novel, the creature is seen admiring nature: “the pleasant sunshine, and the pure air of day” (Shelley 144). Nature, in a way, restores the creature back to peace and calms him.

With the thoughts of mountains and skies on one page to gloomy nights and death on the next, Frankenstein was truly an interesting and unforgettable read.

                      

The Lesson of Parenting in Frankenstein

In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein a message about the importance of parenting is projected through the relationship of Victor Frankenstein and his creation.

We understand that as a child, victor had a very good life and he states: “No human being could have passed a happier childhood than myself. My parents were possessed by the very spirit of kindness and indulgence. We felt that they were not the tyrantsto rule our lot according to their caprice, but the agents and creators of all the many delightswhich we enjoyed.” (Shelley 36) He was loved by his parents and friends and it would only make sense that he takes that knowledge and feeling of how he was raised and treated and portray that to someone/something else; however, that was not the case when he became the “parent”.

Although what Victor created was not human but does that mean that it should not be treated as one? He created something that felt just as any other human being and it should have the right to be loved but to Victor, he was a scientist and that was his experiment. When the creature is brought to life, Victor leaves in horror and leaves the creature to fend for itself. Before Victor leaves for university his mother gets ill and then passes away. Victor knows that his mother passing away is painful and traumatic and that his mother is now gone forever so he should have understood that this is how the creature felt when Victor leaves.

We can relate this to parenting because it would be seen as unethical if any parent left their child, especially because of the way it looks. No child should ever be left because as parents it is their job to guide and teach them. In the book, the creature had no guidance so he would go to nature for comfort.

It is odd to think for a man of such high intelligence, that is about to create life, he would not think about consequences or what will happen when the creature is alive.  In my opinion, Victor is extremely selfish because he does not really feel responsible for the creature until his brother is dead. Victor is the creator and he should have at least guided and taught the creature before leaving it. It is Victors choice whether he will love it or not but because the creature was uneducated and felt betrayed it caused the creature to do horrible things such as murder. So, we can see why good parenting is important, because without it, it will only do harm.

So it is left for me to wonder, how would the story unfold if Victor never left the creature?

 

Similarities between Walton and Victor Frankenstein

In the beginning of the book we are introduced to Robert Walton; who writes to his sister Mrs. Saville. In the first letters Walton explains his thirst for adventure as he wants to travel to the north pole. Walton has a burning desire for scientific discovery and he has dedicated his life to uncovering something great. He clearly holds a large amount of knowledge about exploring that is not known by the common person “for the first fourteen years of my life i ran wild on a common and read nothing but Uncle Thomas’ books of voyages” (Shelley 15), and with this knowledge he sets off for a life changing discovery.

We then read and learn about Victor Frankenstein. At only seventeen he leaves to go attend university and he studies philosophy. Victor becomes obsessed with his studies and ignores his social life. Alone and intrigued victor dives into his work and makes a great deal of progress.  Fascinated by creation of life Victor studies how the human body is built and after several years of endless work he beings to understand the secret of life. Privately, hidden away in his apartment, he begins to construct his creature. Devoting all his time to his work he neglects his family and friends which allows him to create new life.

After finishing the beginning of the book we can see the similarities between both Walton and Victor.  They both yearn for glory. They each as individuals want to make some discovery that will forever change the world and will bring greatness to their names. Victor and Walton can see this when they meet: “Unhappy man! Do you share my madness? Have you drunk also the intoxicating draught?” (Shelley 25).  They both are willing to put themselves and others in danger to achieve their goal regardless of the consequences. Both men are ambitious about their goal that they have devoted all their time and energy in hopes of making history. Victor and Walton share something in common that is also very important; knowledge. These men both have privileged knowledge that no one else has that make them superior. They have a lot of knowledge and they have to be careful with it. Robert Walton and Victor Frankenstein are both in search for something that will bring them meaning and self worth.

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