The Gothic Theme In Frankenstein Essays

The Gothic Theme In Frankenstein Essays

Length: 1360 words (3.9 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

     The term Gothic refers to a genre that came about in the late eighteenth century. It can be a type of story, clothing, or music nowadays. In this paper it will refer to a style of literature. A very good example of this type of literature is Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. There is a sense of foreboding throughout the whole novel, which is one of the basic necessities of the Gothic. This theme of the Gothic has different characteristics that all fit into the story of Victor Frankenstein and his monster and make this one of the first horror stories every told.
     The very first characteristic of a Gothic novel is its sinister setting. The opening sentence in Frankenstein sets the mood for the rest of the book. Shelley begins her novel with, "You will rejoice to hear that no disaster has accompanied the commencement of an enterprise which you have regarded with such evil forebodings" (p. 13). At this point in the novel, Walton is on a ship in the middle of the North Pacific Ocean, on his way to the North Pole. He is being blocked from all sides by ice, and can see nothing but ice for miles. The landscape is barren, and all of his crew is in fear of running out of food and fresh water. This setting is very sinister in lieu of the imminent death that is facing the crew members.
     When the scene switches to the life of Victor Frankenstein, the reader finds out that everything is wonderful throughout his childhood. Later, when he goes away to college in pursuit of knowledge about alchemy and other sciences, everything gets darker and darker. When construction of the creature begins, Victor describes his workshop as "a solitary chamber, or rather cell, at the top of the house, and separated from all the other apartments by a gallery and staircase. This is where [he] kept [his] workshop of filthy creation" (p. 53). He goes on to describe the "dissecting room" and "slaughter-house" that provided his material (p.53). This, too, adds to the sinister setting and evil undertones of the novel.
     The setting also serves the purpose of reflecting the feelings of the characters in the novel. Whenever Frankenstein is upset or someone is going to jail, it is raining. A Gothic novel would not be complete without a lot of rain. ...

... middle of paper ... Frankenstein ends up dying and even Walton is in danger of being killed if he stays out to sea too long.
     Death, darkness, rain, and horror are all needed to make a good Gothic novel. Not only did Mary Shelly include all these things, she added a few to make the story even more interesting. Her novel meets all the characteristics for a work of Gothic fiction. As Malamund mentions, "Shelley's monster [is] at home amid the Gothic, and [is] able to march forward--undaunted by the landscape of terror" (p.45).

     Crowell, Thomas Y., et al. The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe. Boston: Desmond Publishing Co., 1902.
     Shelly, Mary. Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus. 1818. England: Penguin Putnam Inc., 1992.

     Malamud, A. "Frankenstein's Monster: The Gothic Voice in the Waste Land." English Language Notes 46 (1988): 41-45.
     Parkin-Gounelas, Ruth. "Learning What We Have Forgotten." English Language Notes 39 (1987): 215-219.

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

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]

Strong Essays
1554 words (4.4 pages)

Gothic Elements in Frankenstein Essay

- Frankenstein is a well know gothic story that is still popular today and will be for decades to come. “Mary Shelly’s 1818 novel Frankenstein has inspired an almost uncountable number of film adaptations, many of which have in turn spawned their own sequels, series, spin-offs, mega-franchises, and finally par- odies” (Miller). If you have not heard of Frankenstein you need to read or watch the movie. The man made monster that is lonely in a world that thinks he’s weird and evil. He gets created in an old haunted house looking castle with a crazy scientist while it’s lighting and storming outside....   [tags: gothic story, Mary Shelly, monster]

Strong Essays
1368 words (3.9 pages)

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein Employs Typical Features of the Gothic Tradition

- Mary Shelley's Frankenstein Employs Typical Features of the Gothic Tradition One of the most important aspects of any Gothic novel is setting. Mary Shelly's Frankenstein is an innovative and disturbing work that weaves a tale of passion, misery, dread, and remorse. Some would argue that Frankenstein is a classic Gothic novel. By a classically Gothic novel it is meant that the story employs a traditionally scary theme. This could include such things as dark and dreary castles set in isolated surroundings replete with dungeons....   [tags: Literature Shelly Gothic ]

Strong Essays
958 words (2.7 pages)

Exploring Deep Issues Through the Gothic Genre in Mary Shelley's Chapter 5 of Frankenstein

- Exploring Deep Issues Through the Gothic Genre in Mary Shelley's Chapter 5 of Frankenstein Introduction: Mary Shelly inquires into many issues using the Gothic genre. Shelly explores the theme of religion according to the society that she had lived in. Shelly also explores loneliness through Victor Frankenstein and the creation of Victor, the monster. Mary explores the taboo issues of Victorian society through her novel and looks deeply into the idea of 'playing God' using Victor; she investigates through her novel human anatomy and science which were great discoveries and issues in the Victorian era....   [tags: Frankenstein, Mary Shelley]

Strong Essays
1390 words (4 pages)

Frankenstein as Gothic Literature Essay

- In what ways can Mary Shelley's Frankenstein Be considered as a Gothic novel. Can Gothic literature still appeal to us today. Gothic Literature was most popular from about 1764 until 1832, a period of nearly seventy years. At this time there were many successful and famous authors who wrote books which contained a somewhat 'gothic theme'. These include the famous Brontë Sisters with the novels 'Wuthering Heights' and 'Jane Eyre', both of which can be found on many modern bookshelves of today. As well as the famous sisters, well know authors, of the time, also included Ann Radcliffe with her 'Mysteries of Udolpho' and Horace Walpole's 'The Castle of Otranto'....   [tags: Mary Shelley's Frankenstein]

Strong Essays
3557 words (10.2 pages)

Essay on Frankenstein, By Mary Shelley

- ... This concept comprises one of the most significant moral questions presented by Shelley. Transgression is often considered to be the foundation of Gothic literature, whether it be societal, moral, of natural law, or as described by critic Lucasta Miller, “the dissolving of normative boundaries”. The boundaries to be transgressed in Frankenstein could include; scientific transgression by Walton in his expedition and Frankenstein in his attempt to create life; societal transgression by Frankenstein in his incestuous relationship with his sister or in accordance with feminist and Freudian critical interpretations the oedipal desires which seem to be expressed when he describes that he was,...   [tags: Gothic fiction, Frankenstein, Mary Shelley]

Strong Essays
1300 words (3.7 pages)

Rejection Of Mary Shelley 's Frankenstein Essay

- ... The setting in this section of the story does not only describe rejection, but also foreshadows Victors meeting with the monster minutes before he sees the monster in the flash of lightning. Right before Victor sees the creature’s horrible features, he describes the night, “It was on dreary night of November that I beheld the accomplishment of my toils… It was already one in the morning; rain pattered dismally against the panes, and my candle was nearly burnt out, when, by the glimmer of the half-extinguished light, I saw the dull yellow eye of the creature open” (pg.36)....   [tags: Frankenstein, Mary Shelley, Paradise Lost]

Strong Essays
1253 words (3.6 pages)

Essay about The Theme of Justice in Frankenstein

- How important is the theme of justice in Frankenstein. Refer closely to the creation scene and Justine's trial scene. Justice is defined as justice is the administration of law; especially : the establishment or determination of rights according to the rules of law or equity which can be interpreted as adhering to laws of both a natural and civilised level. In Frankenstein many of the fundamental laws of both humanity and the world we live in are broken. Creation in he Christian faith is a marvel that only one being or person has the right to control....   [tags: Does Justice Exist in Frankenstein?]

Strong Essays
939 words (2.7 pages)

Mary Shelley 's Frankenstein And The Modern Prometheus Essay

- The novel Frankenstein is also considered the modern Prometheus. This novel got this title because of the story line that is followed. This story line is similar in many aspects as the myth of Prometheus. Shelley’s writing is evident in the romantic period as this novel falls into the gothic novel category. The revolution in America and France helped develop a culture of fear which then would be represented in gothic literature. This new category of novel was popular therefore, Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein to display the evolution of science in that time....   [tags: Frankenstein, Mary Shelley, Gothic fiction]

Strong Essays
935 words (2.7 pages)

Using Gothic Characteristics to Portray the Theme of Knowledge Essay

- Using Gothic Characteristics to Portray the Theme of Knowledge in American Gargoyles, Johnny Mnemonic, Frankenstein, Good Country People, and Cyberpunk     Gothic literature has been interpreted, and even criticized by many people as just being scary stories. They feel the author's only purpose for using gloomy settings and grotesque characters is to horrify the reader. This however is rarely true of Gothic literature, instead an author will use these characteristics to portray a deeper purpose rather than to just scare the reader....   [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]

Strong Essays
2236 words (6.4 pages)