Essay about How does Mary Shelley use Gothic Conventions in Frankenstein?

Essay about How does Mary Shelley use Gothic Conventions in Frankenstein?

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The period during which Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein there were many scientific developments in the world, that contributed to the gothic genre of her novel as well as the author’s personal experiences. The main scientific development that possibly may have inspired the author to produce a gothic novel is similar to Luigi Galvani’s experiment, during which Galvani observed the relationship between electricity and life. In chapter four, Shelley has mentioned the scientific improvement that occurred during the 19th century: “when I considered the improvement which every day takes place in science and mechanics”.

In this novel, Shelley focuses on the debate between scientific discoveries, religion and the moral ethics of how far man should pursue his desire for knowledge, which reflects the society of the 19th century’s concern of where the scientific advancements were going similarly to the present day debate on whether stem cell research is valid.

Using gothic conventions Frankenstein explores Mary Shelley’s personal views on the scientific developments, moral and economical issues that occurred during the 19th century and Shelley’s personal emotions and questions regarding her life. As an educated person, Mary Shelley had an interest in the development of the world such as political and moral issues and she challenged these issues in the novel.

The inclusions of gothic conventions of the same variety create a gothic genre for the novel. The use of the weather in the form of pathetic fallacies is particularly important in the way this forms the novel to be gothic. As the description of the weather evokes an atmosphere of suspense and the many connotations associated to the weather in particular the stereotype...


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... genre would have evoked immense terror whereas at present the novel will not have the same effect as horror is popular in this civilization.

Mary Shelley’s novel arises several questions relevant to the present day. A question that arises from the novel is whether man is born evil or made evil from his life experiences. The debate on whether how far man should pursue knowledge exists today as well as other questions challenged in the novel therefore “Frankenstein” is a popular novel at present as much as it was in the past.

Due to the conventions included in the novel, this is a perfect example of a gothic novel. The novel evokes in the audience fear and anticipation of the novels plot. The 19th century audience would have been overwhelmed with terror whilst reading the novel as the atmosphere creates suspense and the pace of the novel is fast.


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