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In this essay, I will be writing about how Mary Shelley creates sense
of horror in Frankenstein. Horror stories are usually dark and
sinister. They are also very mysterious. They mostly use catching
background music and horrible settings to create a sense of horror.
Mary Shelley creates a sense of horror through the characters,
settings and the language. From the beginning of the story, the
audience's speculate that there was a reason behind Victor
Frankenstein's interest to the anatomy of science.
" A mind of moderate capacity, which closely pursues one study,
Must infallibly arrive at great proficiency in that study."
This creates a sense of horror because it suggests that Frankenstein
is obsessed with the subject. It isn't just a plain interest.
After his mother died, he was very upset and angry. He wanted to
create a living human being- bringing a dead body alive. He wanted to
do something that no one else has done. This can be looked at, as a
metaphor saying that, he wanted to make something that even nature
hasn't even created.
This creates a sense of horror because, people in the 19th century
were very superstitious and believed that going against the nature
means going against God, and that's the worst sin that can be
" Darkness had no effect upon my fancy."
This creates a sense of horror because he was different from the other
people as well as the human characteristics. He had no fear of death
or any superstitious belief. He appears as a person who would do
anything because he is contending to himself as well as God.
He wanted to create something that wouldn't have to follow the
procedure of life.
"I should attempt the creation of a being like myself"
This creates a sense of horror because it suggests that he wants to
break the natural chain. He is willing to create a human like himself
but it should live for eternity. He wants to prevent death. He wanted
to "succeed and arrive at great proficiency in that study".
He finally decides to learn everything about human bodies and create a
human creature from dead body parts so he started to make framework
with bones and organs as an experiment.
Frankenstein collects most of the materials that he needs from the
charnel house where dead bodies are kept, and also goes to other
places that are associated death such as churchyards, the dissecting
room and the slaughterhouse.
"Churchyard was the receptacle of bodies deprived of life" and
"The dissecting room and the slaughter house furnished many of his
All these settings creates a sense of horror because, it's set in a
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After he has collected all the materials he is forced to spend days
and nights doing this work in his laboratory, working day and nights
changed his life,
"Exemplified in the change from life to death and death to life".
He did not tell anyone about this as no one would agree with him or
understand what he wanted to do, as it was dangerous for him and every
one in the society.
His laboratory is a disgusting place that is dark and it smells as
well, he keeps all the dead body parts inside it; "I kept my workshop
of filthy creation". A place full of dead body parts seems filthy
creation to him. He describes his laboratory as, "A place of feeling
of disgust and a cell"this implies that he is feeling disgusting
staying in his laboratory all the time but still he will not come out
of it until he comes to an end.
Working in his Laboratory all day and night was not an easy job for
him, it was very hard, "work of inconceivable, difficulty and labour"
and it caused him physical and mental anxiety. His laboratory is like
a prison to him as he is in there all day and night.
This also creates a sense of horror because he is giving up on his
life to create a monster that would live for eternity. He doesn't
think that it may not be accepted to the humans, as it will be
something else. He doesn't even know the appearance of this creature.
Properly, he didn't even have time to stop and think for a moment
about what he is doing because his madness has driven him insane.
The weather in the story is described as cold and wet. Frankenstein
describes the weather as "Dreary and Rain pattered dismally" whilst he
was making the creature.
This creates a sense of horror because the weather reflects what is
happening, almost as if nature it self isn't happy with what is
We as readers notice that nature is telling him to stop and forget
about what his doing, but his obsession wouldn't let him read the
Frankenstein started to make the creature as soon as he finished
collecting all the instruments." I collected the instrument of my life
around me"; this tells us that the body parts that he collected were
his life. Nothing can now stop him from doing what he wants as he has
every thing he needed and wanted.
After two years of hard work and determination Frankenstein had
finally accomplished what he wanted, and had finished making the
He was determined to see what he created by rejecting his rest and
health. He was fulfilled with joy and anxiety but he was so
disappointed when he saw the creature that he created in two years.
"I felt the bitterness of disappointment".
The creature disappointed victor; it is definitely not how he wanted
it to be.
This is how Victor describes his feelings towards the creature that he
"The beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror
And disgust filled my heart"
This tells us that Frankenstein's dreams have vanished, he is feeling
disgusting to himself and he is scared. The monster is described as a
very ugly thing; colours of the creatures are not normal. The creature
"Dull yellow eyes, yellow skin and with pearl white teeth".
All this says that the monster is the opposite of what he had expected
and that he couldn't even stand looking at the precious thing that he
wasted two years on.
This creates a sense of horror because all the worst features were put
into the one thing that you have dreamed about being beautiful.
It is scarier inside Frankenstein because his dreams have been
tormented into tiny little pieces
"I started from my sleep with horror and my heart palpitated in the
sickness of fear"
This tells us that he cannot even sleep properly or rest because of
the fear he has inside him and it also tells us that Victor has now
realised what a dangerous mistake he has made but it is very late to
The horror fear inside him will not go and this is an experience he
will never forget.
In conclusion, I have shown how Mary Shelley creates a sense of horror
through the settings, characters and the language.
I have shown that Victor's obsession caused him to take advantage of
his knowledge, and create a creature that resembles the emblem of
We see how Frankenstein's obsession caused him to create something
that is totally against nature. It wasn't even what he wanted. He
wanted to create a normal mortal, but instead, he got a monster that
appeared to look worse then his worst nightmare. He unintentionally
tried to play God, and later realised that no one can have the power
that he has.
The settings helped the language create a sense of horror because they
combined well and suit everything that was needed to make a horror
It had all the requirements that were needed for a horror story but I
thought that it was unrealistic. I thought that because no one has
ever been able to create a life. No human have the power to make a
life, only God can.