Preview
Preview

Essay on The Historical Perspective in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

:: 4 Works Cited
Length: 1035 words (3 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Purple      
Open Document
Need writing help? Check your paper »



- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The Historical Perspective in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein


Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is an early product of the modern Western world. Written during the Romantic movement of the early 19th century, the book provides insight into issues that are pertinent today. Similar to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Faust, Shelley's Frankenstein concerns individuals' aspirations and what results when those aspirations are attained irresponsibly.

While Mary Shelley (then Mary Godwin) wrote Frankenstein in 1816 she was living or in contact with both Percy Shelley and Lord Byron, the two predominant romantic poets who professed the romantic ideals of the age. One such ideal was the society transformed by the individual. For example, the British writer Thomas Carlyle wrote of romantic heroes making an impact on the world around them. Also, the concepts of uniqueness and self-realization were born in this era. Authors were writing about individuals' feelings and emotions regarding their daily struggles.

What is unique about Frankenstein is that it represents and almost foreshadows the romantic disillusionment with the established order. After the French Revolution, liberalism and nationalism were at all time highs. But with the response by the monarchies (e.g., the wars of 1848), romantic ideals were spurned. The effect this had was an increase in disillusionment among romantics. The possibility of a society transformed by individuals seemed less believable. Mary Godwin suffered from this disillusionment, but for different reasons. In his essay on Frankenstein, George Levine discusses the dream Godwin had which inspired the book: "The dreams emerge from the complex experiences that placed young Mary Shelley, both personally and intellect...


... middle of paper ...


...such ideals. In the case of Frankenstein, his aspiration for supernatural powers and knowledge created a monster who tormented him until the day he died. He sought a fame greater than his nature would allow and, while his monster knew nothing but a desire to be accepted and reunited with his creator, Frankenstein's own "overreaching" ambition was met with disillusionment.


Works Cited

Kerscmar, Rhonda Ray. "Displaced Apocalypse and Eschatological Anxiety in Frankenstein." South Atlantic Quarterly 95.3 (Summer 1996): 729-747.

Levine, George, and U.C. Knoepflmacher, eds. The Endurance of Frankenstein: Essays on Mary Shelley's Novel. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1974.

Shattuck, Roger. Forbidden Knowledge: From Prometheus to Pornography. NY: St. Martin's Press, 1996.

Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. 1816. London: Oxford University Press, 1971.


Click the button above to view the complete essay, speech, term paper, or research paper

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »







This essay is 100% guaranteed.


Title Length Color Rating  
Mary Shelley's Frankenstein Essay - ... Since Victor created the monster, he had to be punished, and he wound up paying with his life as well as the lives of all of the people he loved (Rauch). She was trying to instill the message that humanity cannot be replaced. In 1811 there was a revolt by the workers who did not like the way machinery was being implemented into their work (Industrial). They felt that due to the machines they could not use their skills and that the jobs became degrading. These people thought that they had proven their worth already and did not need these machines to assist them in their jobs, especially since they were now being paid less....   [tags: historical analysis] 1089 words
(3.1 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Essay about Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and Structuralism - Frankenstein and Structuralism    Professor John Lye of Brock University, California describes literary theory as: "a collection of related theoretical concepts and practices which are marked by a number of premises, although not all of the theoretical approaches share or agree on all of them."   The first segment of this essay aims to define the main views of structuralism, one of these theoretical approaches. Structuralism, in particular the work of Ferdinand de Saussure, created controversy as it directly challenged some of the values of the everyday reader in the way it attempts to disregard the actual content of writings, and instead concentrates on form and diagrammatic...   [tags: Frankenstein essays]
:: 14 Works Cited
1891 words
(5.4 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Essay on Self-Education in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein - The Importance of Self-Education in Frankenstein   Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein tells a story about the creation and the destruction of a man considered by society to be a “monster”. In the novel, there is profound meaning to be found in the monster’s self-education. Patterned after the evolution of human learning, the monster’s spontaneous learning proceeds through major stages. First, is the accidental discovery of fire, this is followed by a realization by the monster that knowledge yields power....   [tags: Frankenstein essays] 1124 words
(3.2 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay on Frankenstein by Mary Shelley - The novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley was written in the era of Romanticism which occurred between the eighteenth to the nineteenth century as a direct stance against The Age of Enlightenment. This particular historical time elevated both science and reason to be the ultimate goal. In contrast, the Romantic Movement namely aimed towards having intuition dominate reason and consider nature as a healing place for humans to flee urbanization and industrialization, Romanticism also celebrated the individual as a force to rebel against the status quo....   [tags: Romanticism, Literary Analysis, Novel, Review]
:: 5 Works Cited
1064 words
(3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley Essay - Frankenstein by Mary Shelley The novel Frankenstein is a gothic horror story and was written by Mary Shelley in 1816, based on a nightmare she had while on holiday in Geneva. It was influenced by the social and historical events that were happening during the period in which it is written. It also draws heavily on events that had occurred in her past and were happening in her life at the time of writing the novel. Her mother died in childbirth so she grew up without a maternal influence, and her father was either absent from her life or was often surrounded by his friends, so she did not have ideal parental figures to look up to....   [tags: Papers] 1855 words
(5.3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Mary Shelley's Frankenstein Essay - Shelley’s Frankenstein does an excellent job at demonstrating the ideas and accomplishments of the enlightenment period. Shelly expresses these ideas and thoughts through the character of Victor Frankenstein who is an aspiring scientist seeking an intellectual challenge. Victor Frankenstein live s his hometown of Geneva and leaves in quest of a valued education in Ingolstadt. When Victor arrives at college he is lonely and finds himself in a new world in which he lives by himself. He than meets Mr....   [tags: essays research papers] 838 words
(2.4 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
Essay about The Character of Victor Frankenstein by Mary Shelley - The Character of Victor Frankenstein by Mary Shelley Look at the significance of chapter five to the novel as a whole. Focus on the relevance and effect of writer’s use of language to describe setting, character and what it shows about social and historical influences....   [tags: Papers] 1079 words
(3.1 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
A Feminist Reading of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein Essay - Feminist Reading of Frankenstein When reading Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, one cannot help but notice that the women characters seem to have little substance compared to the male characters. This may have been caused by the time period in which she wrote: one in which females were considered inferior to males. This difference between the sexes can be looked at using a variety of different perspectives. Johanna M. Smith, a professor at the University of Texas at Arlington, discusses this issue using feminist eyes in her essay entitled "'Cooped up': Feminine Domesticity in Frankenstein." The main points in Professor Smith's essay are that the female characters are there only to reflect the...   [tags: Feminism Feminist Women Criticism] 591 words
(1.7 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Gothic Theme in Chapter 5 of Frankenstein Essay - Gothic Horror has been described as “delightful horror”. Focusing on Chapter 5 of Frankenstein, how has Shelley used the Gothic Genre to explore deeper issues. The term ‘Gothic’ conjures a range of possible meanings, definitions and associations. It explicitly denotes certain historical and cultural phenomena. Gothicism was part of the Romantic Movement that started in the eighteenth century and lasted about three decades into the nineteenth century. For this essay, the definition of Gothic that is applicable is: An 18th century literary style characterized by gloom and the supernatural....   [tags: Mary Shelley] 1554 words
(4.4 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Essay on The Significance of Chapter 5 in Frankenstein by Mary Shelley - The Significance of Chapter 5 in Frankenstein by Mary Shelley Frankenstein was written by Mary Shelly in 1816 and has become perhaps one of the most famous novels in the gothic, horror genre. Shelley was brought up in the 19th century where there were a lot of medical and scientific breakthroughs. These have influenced the novel because during the 19th century people had just discovered new information about the body and that electrical impulses were send via the body to the brain....   [tags: Papers] 1010 words
(2.9 pages)
Good Essays [preview]