Horror and Suspense with a Dash of Romanticism in “Frankenstein”
Mary Shelley displays a form of horror and suspense with a dash of Romanticism in her novel, Frankenstein. It contains a gloomy and dark setting to also create a better understanding and familiarity between the main character known as Victor Frankenstein and the creature. Victor’s creation sets off a vibe that shows how the flow of the novel will be and a twist of how he may or may not be as monstrous as he seems. Mary Shelley also includes imagery to show how gothic and romantic the novel is, whether it is setting, mood, or expressions that are used. The gothicism builds up because of Victor Frankenstein’s experimentation and how disastrous the creature becomes, causing fright and similar to horror. Every individual must have a taste of failure to understand their experiments and to better deal with the pressure and responsibility of success.
Frankenstein is developed mainly by the setting to spark the effect of emotions and thoughts. Shelley incorporates scenes containing a sublime nature, like Mont Blanc, to have an idea of what the novel describes and how it affects the characters and their thoughts or choices. Mont Blanc is exemplified as the main location because its where the creature spends some of his time and learns different materials as well as a form of threat within himself. The main idea that Shelley uses for the sublime nature is for the readers to realize and get a sensation of how the character is feeling, with a gothic or dense experience. However, it connects with feelings and a symbol of feeling in danger, pain, or terror. It has a dark depth for human experiences and a threat of death, which is basically written all over the creature emotionally or physically. Mont Blanc reflects on the creature on how bizarre and mysterious his personality is and somewhat to decipher his thoughts and emotions of what he has been going through, especially from not feeling like he belongs to this world or “fit in” due to the responses of the community. “”Never did I behold a vision so horrible as his face”. Robert Walton describes his view on how he sees the creature and how horrendous and unpleasing his physical appearance is. Between Victor Frankenstein and the creature, they didn’t exactly have a good relationship to begin with and got worse after the creature’s disastrous acts from the murders he has committed. Also, Victor was like a father figure to the creature but at the same time, wasn’t there for him when he needed someone, similar to Victor himself. The gothic theme of the novel creates a combination of how the creature’s appearance may also go with the setting because of how terrifying it is and also how the description portrays the mood, giving a slight image towards the reader’s emotion.
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Obviously, every person would be afraid of any creature even if it was just an animal. It is similar to seeing a human react to a bear right at the front door. Of course, most will scream or react in a fearful and frightened way. However, this is the main way Mary Shelley uses gothicism in the novel because of the fear the monster brings within all people. Being in the creature/monster’s shoes, he would react the same because he just needs to know why people around him react the way they do. It causes him to feel loneliness, depression, and unconfident about his appearance or just his inner thoughts. It could be understandable why every person is afraid and their first instinct is to panic. Unfortunately, the creature wouldn’t understand because he is basically a new born child that doesn’t know where to start and is out in the wild. It is definitely scary to see a creature like the monster but is unfair because of the gothic and horrendous feeling he sets off, but just wants to talk to someone and for someone to be there for him. On the other hand, Shelley’s use of Romanticism can express the monster’s rejection from the world and the misunderstanding of how this society works by looking from the outside. It isn’t the creature’s fault to be created or to be blamed but Shelley shows sympathy by allowing the creature to have a good heart and be gentle, despite his appearance.
Mary Shelley’s main device used is imagery and tone to emphasize the emotions and mental idea of relation to realize and compare reality with the novel. Gothic and romanticism play a major role with the devices to bring the imaginary thoughts as a visual or object in the novel together to idealize how it affects the novel’s reflection to the readers and relation toward the characters. Victor’s creation and experimentation are involved due to the fearful or suspense mood because of how descriptive it is from including the dead and the parts to create a whole human. The expectation of what is to come is not exactly expected, giving a form of fright and mysterious vibe. “Did I request thee, Maker, from my clay To mould me Man, did I solicit thee From darkness to promote me?” The creature questions himself as to why he was created or what his purpose is and after being abandoned by Victor, he still has some positive hope of trying to be understanding and somewhat kind. Shelley portrays Romanticism to show a value of emotion and individual’s connection with imagination as an art, dream, or fantasy in life. The quote also releases a slight amount of information based on the creatures thoughts and include imagery to represent how others may view him whether he likes it or not. Mary Shelley uses “darkness” and
objects to get an idea of the creation and about the creator to discuss how empty and lonely the he is.
In Mary Shelley’s novel, Frankenstein, she introduces how gothic and Romanticism plays with the relationship between the character, including the setting as one of the main points to give a mood for readers or an imagination. It follows up by deep meanings that conquer the emotions and a disposition of unwelcoming fear. The main characters are seen to go through their own struggle and hate but come to a spot of where they can be free and open, like Victor’s passion for experimentation and science. The gothic and Romanticism has a main idea in Shelley’s novel to how dark, suspenseful, and fearful it can be but also an expression to seek a relation or connection with the characters.