Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein: Gothic Horror

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein: Gothic Horror

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Shelly’s ‘’Frankenstein’’ is regarded as the first modern horror
novel. It is in fact, a Gothic horror. The story came about mainly
from a dream shelly had. The dream was heavily influenced by her
background and past personal experiences. These include her visits to
galvanism experiments, a visit to the Rock of Franks; a castle which
translated gives ‘’Frankenstein’’ and her surroundings at the time,
which where the Alps that made up the setting for some of the book.
Other issues, which might have affected the outcome of the book, are
her failed pregnancy, which could be linked to victors mother dieing.
Events of the time had led to a near breakthrough to bring the dead to
life and the near full exploration of the Earth leaving only the poles
unexplored. Romantic and Gothic styles are used in the book the
romantic style is the awe of nature a good example is ‘‘the abrupt
sides of vast mountains were before me; the icy wall of the glacier
overhung me’’ and the Gothic style is the psychological that
encompasses the very personal themes of life and death this is shown
by ‘’how delineate the wretch whom with such infinite pains I had
endeavoured to form’’.

The Story begins with Walton’s letters to his sister, he talks a lot
about his ambitions of mapping the arctic and finding a companion who
shares his ruthless ambition. After awhile he finds Frankenstein
floating on a sheet of ice. After being nursed back to health
Frankenstein begins his story. Victor talks about his childhood, how
his mother died in childbirth, his younger brother Edward, and how he
has read books about philosophy and alchemy most of which have been
long disproved. Then he continues about when he was at university and
his growing obsession with creating a being from the dead parts of
humans also known as galvanism. Then he moves on to how he becomes
obsessive and how it is only after he succeeds he realises what he has
done and realises the implications of his dream. After being nurse
back to health by his friend Henry Cherval Victor realises how badly
he has treated his family and decides to return to his family, however
before he can do this he receives a letter about his brother being
murdered, the killer is presumed to be the family servant Justine and
because Victor makes no mention of the monster she is hanged, victors
farther also dies short after of a broken heart after losing William.
Victor decides to travel to cope with his grief. It is at this point
the monster appears and asks for a bride.

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The monster also explains
that he has lived a blameless life until he was badly beaten and
agrees that if victor does make him a bride he will live in the arctic
until he dies. Victor agrees but wonders what this monster will be
capable of. He moves to Ireland and constructs the monster but then
realises what he is doing and tears it limb from limb under the watch
of the monster. For this the monster kills Elizabeth on their wedding
night and then Henry Cherval as well. Victor; now determined to
destroy the monster, pursues it all over the globe until he is found
by Walton exhausted and near death. The dreams of the three men play a
big part in the book. Walters dream is to map the North Pole and to
have a companion with his same ruthless ambition, Victor. The Monsters
ambitions are to have someone to love and for Victor to be a proper to
him. Victor’s ambitions are to create life from the dead and later on
to destroy it. As you can see the ambitions of all three characters
are closely interlinked.

Walton’s childhood can explain his dreams. Before he left and isolated
himself from his family he read books on the arctic he saw this as a
calm, beautiful place this is shown by ‘’May we be wafted to a land
surpassing in wonders and in beauty’’ and because he left his family
he then longed for a companion who had done the same because of their
own ruthless ambition. One example of this is when Victor replies ‘‘do
you share my madness’’. Walton’s dream of mapping the arctic fails
after he turns back when Victor and The Monster die, but his dream of
finding a companion who shares his own ruthless ambition is partly
fulfilled as he find Victor floating on the ice. However Victor dies
shortly after. Walton’s personality changes immensely all through the
letters and the rest of the book; he starts very romantic in his
letters ending ‘‘your affectionate brother R. Walton’’ but further
into the letters he starts to shorten his endings, a good example is
‘’R.W’’ in the final letter. This shows he is being rushed or is
becoming impatient. Walton uses very descriptive and romantic
language, he focuses more on the setting than what is going on this
gives great detail to his dreams and the arctic especially shown by
‘’The dangerous mysteries of ocean to that most imaginative of modern
poets’’ .In the letters Walton is the narrator, this makes the story
bias towards Victor and he speaks highly of him shown by ‘’what a
wonderful creature he must have been before his decline’’ .It also
introduces scepticism to whether the monster really exists which at
that point in the story creates tension and makes the reader think.

Victor Frankenstein’s dreams is to create a being from the dead parts
of others and to use this for the good of medical science and he says
’’renew life were god had apparently devoted to corruption’’. Towards
the end of the story Victor has become obsessed with the monster and
his dream turns him into a man with ruthless ambition much like the
character of Walton who wants a companion who shares this quality. His
dream is fulfilled when the monster comes to life but at this point he
realises how wrong what he has done is and it turns into a nightmare
this can be shown by ‘’how can I describe my emotions at this
catastrophe’’ this shows his horror as he realises that to create a
being from the dead and to play god is wrong. Victor destroys the
monsters dream of having a family by trying to kill him and not
treating him like a proper family he then destroys the monsters dream
of having a bride by ripping the lifeless corpse of the bride to be
limb by limb under the monsters careful watch. Lessons learned by
Victor are that you should think about the outcome of a dream before
you pursue it and Walton also learns that it is wrong to disregard
everyone for his dream and turns back toward his homeland. We react to
Victors character positively and feel sympathy that when he made the
monster he fell made a mistake he can never correct. Victor uses a lot
of romantic and religious language that shows us he really does care
about people even though he becomes obsessed with his dream he also
uses a lot of this language in the chapter when he dies as he realises
he will never rid the world of his creation, he does this to try to
make Walton undertake his task of killing the monster a good example
of this is ’’they were dead, and I lived; their murderer also lived,
and to destroy him I must drag out my weary existence’’.

The Monster’s dream is the most humble of the three and is to join the
human race and not to be an outcast, later however after his first
dream becomes impossible he longs for a companion to live out the rest
of his days with. Victor destroys both these dreams, the first he
doesn’t treat the monster as his son and the monster ends up living
out in the wild and Victor destroys the second dream by ripping his
bride to be limb from limb. The readers reaction to the monster
changes because we at first think of him by his hideous looks but we
son realise he means well and only kills because he is treated badly.
We also come to the monsters side because of his persuasive language
he uses language like ‘’Instead of threatening I am content to
reason’’ and refers to people as ‘’my friends’’, ‘’beloved cottagers’’
and ‘’my creator’’ these are all very formal and good for persuading.

‘’The modern Prometheus’’ the sub title for the book and refers to
Prometheus who went against the gods and was punished by being tied to
a rock and having a vulture come peck his liver out but every night it
grew back and so on. This continual punishment is like the monster who
is always just out of reach to torment Victor who must continue. The
book can also be related to modern research, which goes to great
lengths and takes great risks of creating deformed beings like
Frankenstein’s monster. The moral of the story is to follow your
dreams but not to become obsessed with them and make silly decisions
like Victor and Walton nearly makes. The monsters dream is the most
important because it is a dream everyone shares and is a common need
of life where as Victor and Walton picked theirs up from books.
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