Essay about Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

Essay about Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

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Mary Shelley's Frankenstein


In 1818 a novel was written that tingled people’s minds and thrilled literary critics alike. Frankenstein was an instant success and sold more copies than any book had before. The immediate success of the book can be attributed to the spine-tingling horror of the plot, and the strong embedded ethical message. Although her name did not come originally attached to the text, Mary Shelley had written a masterpiece that would live on for centuries.

Nearly 200 movies have been adapted from the text since the birth of Hollywood. Most recently though (1994), is Kenneth Brannaugh’s rendition entitled “Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.” Although Brannaugh makes a spectacular attempt to emulate Shelley’s masterpiece, the film does not accurately capture the presence of the original text, and nor could it be expected to. Although Frankenstein was considered a horror in the 1800’s, audiences today are much more desensitized to violence and scariness, thus Brannaugh had to manipulate the original text in order to shock the modern-day viewer. If Brannaugh had produced a movie that followed the original 1818 text, it would have been mind-numbingly static on screen. Also, the concept of Hollywood itself was a vice to Brannaugh’s reproduction. Today, the movie industry is about making as much money as you can, and this responsibility usually falls to the director and screenwriters of the film. It is believed that the more action packed and gory a film is, the greater the turnout at the box office will be, and hence the more money the movie will make. Although Kenneth Brannaugh’s movie offers the audience a greater thrill with the aid of gory cinematography, the book invokes the reader’s imaginatio...


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...o fight over her. She realizes what she has become, grabs a kerosene lamp and drops it on her head engulfing her, and the whole house in flames. This scene is remarkably overdone and totally ridiculous. Shelley never intended to have Elizabeth come back to life, this event is a total Hollywood creation; it has everything modern-day box office hits need: sex, violence, blood and suspense.

It is easy to see why a movie can never accurately recreate the intentions of the author, especially in today’s film industry. Movies must sell, and in order for that to happen they must have some sort of intensity. Although Kenneth Brannaugh created a viable version of Frankenstein, he was not able to convey Mary Shelley’s intentions as the text did. Brannaugh was wholly concerned with thrilling the audience instead of exposing the moral message embedded in the text.

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