Narration in Frankenstein and the Ancient Mariner Essay

Narration in Frankenstein and the Ancient Mariner Essay

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Mary Shelley and Samuel Taylor Coleridge are two recognized writers of the Romantic era. The influence of Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancyent Marinere is reflected in Shelley’s Frankenstein in terms of narrative structure, literary techniques and themes. For example, both stories address the act of storytelling from the perspective of the listener as well as the teller. Furthermore, the narrations have a similar structure as narrative concerns. The story of Victor Frankenstein is told within a frame narration, as in The Ancient Mariner in which an anonymous third-person narrator recounts how an old sailor comes to tell a young wedding guest the story of his adventures at the sea. When we refer to a frame narration, we are telling that is a narrative that recounts the telling of another narrative or story that thus “frames” the inner or framed narrative. So in Frankenstein, Walton’s letters shape a frame around the main narrative and Victor Frankenstein’s story, while in The Ancient Mariner, the story told about the mariner represents a frame around the mariner own story.
The novel Frankenstein is written in the first person point of view, but at different points in the book, different storytellers recount the tale. Therefore, it can be found three different narrators, being Robert Walton the first narrator, who in his letters cites, second narrator, Victor Frankenstein’s narration; Victor, at the same time, cites the third narrator’s story. Furthermore, Elizabeth Lavenza and Alphonse Frankenstein narrate parts of the story through their letters to Victor as well, but they are not as relevant narrators as the other characters. With Victor Walton’s character Mary Shelley uses a device denominated epistolary form, novel in the fo...


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...to every human being who, from whatever source of delusion, has at any time believed himself under supernatural agency.”
The narration of the poem is more or less constant up to the sixth part, which opens with a dialogue between two voices. These two voices provide a narrative and stylistic break in the poem. Firstly, the voices can be considered as an omniscient narrator in this part because they have a broad knowledge of everything that has happened up until now, and are able to offer a better explanation of the situation to the Ancient Mariner. Moreover, the way in which the dialogue is presented, makes the structure seems more of a script of a play. The structure of the poem is a key characteristic in displaying the theme, for by telling the story as a personal experience, it helps the reader understand the moral and theme intended as a warning to people.

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