Romanticism & Technology in Frankenstein

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Romanticism as defined in the American Heritage dictionary is a movement "characterized by a heightened sense in nature, emphasis on the individual's expression of emotion and imagination, and rebellion against established social rules and conventions." Technology is defined as "the practical application of knowledge especially in a." Mary Shelley joins these two realms in Frankenstein, to create one of the most memorable characters in literature, Victor Frankenstein.

Historically situated, Frankenstein falls into the age of Romanticism. The age has been dated from the late eighteenth to mid-nineteenth centuries. Frankenstein was written in 1816 and published in 1818. In her novel, Shelley conforms to many of the aspects of the Romantic novel. Some of the most noticeable trends were setting, focus on emotional behavior (internal and external), the deviation from common or ordinary characters and the acceptance of intuitive and emotional characteristics in place of intellectual and rational characteristics.

Shelley places her first narrator in a Romantic environment and state of mind, as all of the above components are present in his situation. Before reaching the story of Victor and his monster, we are introduced to our first narrator, R. Walton. Our narrator is preparing for a long journey on a vessel to discover uncharted lands in the north. He is surrounded by raw nature. He is isolated and left with his own thoughts and imagination. Finally, he has rebelled against his social rules. He is a failed writer who has decided to venture out in the world to find himself.

The letters that Walton writes to his sister set the tone of the story. We the readers have softened ourselves to the narrator. We are ...

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...he age of technology and the Industrial Revolution, the time in which Frankenstein was written. Shelley might have seen the dangers of the technological society and the exploitation of nature. She expressed this danger in the creation of her monster.

Frankenstein marries two very different schools of thought. Through the character of Victor, the possible outcomes of the fusion of both theories are elucidated. With the influence of Shelley's views on the technological advancement of the age, the intermingling led only to disaster, even though Victor's intentions were good. Shelley successfully portrayed both the romantic and technological attributes of Victor and the consequences his actions played on the world around him. Victor represented a society on the verge of great changes; changes that Shelley apparently thought would negatively affect the world.
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