The novel, ‘Frankenstein’ written in 1816 approaches many key issues, which were as relevant then as they are today. At the time there were many scientists who were experimenting in the area of making life, and Shelley addresses this as the main point of her novel. The novel is still as popular as it was in 1818 (when it was first published) due to the way it discusses issues, such as prejudice and parent/child relationships, which are still relevant to modern society. The novel was written my Mary Shelley when she was challenged to write a horror story.
Shelly was a part of the Romantic Movement and much of the scenery she describes reflects this. An example of this in volume two, chapter two, in which Shelley describes the scenery as sublime. Many of the storylines also seem to describe some of her personal turmoil, such as the death of her mother. This mirrors Frankenstein’s experience in the novel. She also did not get on with her step-mother, so this type of relationship may have inspired the type of relationship Frankenstein is seen to have with the monster.
This theme of parent/child relationships plays a big part in the novel, and I will discuss this in my essay. I will also discuss the main themes of prejudice and justice. This essay focuses on the way in which chapter four bring together all the main points of the novel. Shelley first sets this scene by saying, “on a dreary night of November”. This use of pathetic fallacy immediately makes the creature’s horror seem inevitable. We can begin to fee the tension that victor Frankenstein is feeling as he builds up to the ‘birth’ of the creature.
The tension is shown when Frankenstein says “an anxiety that almost amounted to agony. ” The alliteration used tells us that Frankenstein’s mind is concentrated on one thing only, therefore helping us to feel the tension. The atmosphere is also being built by saying “the rain pattered dismally against the panes. ” This makes us think of a stereotypical gothic-horror scene, and so we begin to associate the next events with horror. My doing this, Shelley is allowing us to create a hideous image in our minds even before the creature has been born.
The mental image which we have created is then reinforced when the creature’s first movements are described. Frankenstein speaks of his birth, saying “I saw the dull yellow eye of the creature open… a convulsive motion agitated its limbs”. We are then easily led to thinking it is horrible, as the words “dull yellow” are associated with dirt. The “convulsive motion” described is also quite the opposite of a graceful, smooth movement, and so we are made to think of a horrible, twitchy movement, which is also connected with illness, and therefore makes us connect the monster with disease.
After the birth, our premonitions are confirmed. Frankenstein uses words such as “catastrophe”, “wretch”, “horror” and “disgust” to describe what he has created. He is judging the monster by his appearances, and not considering his personality. This demonstrates Victor’s prejudice against the being, and is very unfair. Frankenstein is disturbed and runs away to hide in his chamber. He says he is “unable to compose [his] mind to sleep”, yet he manages to sleep. However, he “was disturbed by the wildest dreams”. He described the dream as seeing Elizabeth (his fianci??
e), but as he “imprinted the first kiss on her lips, they became livid with the hue of death. ” Her shape then becomes the corpse of his dead mother, which is infected with grave worms. The way he describes Elizabeth’s death, makes us link the monster with death and horror, and also makes her death seem inevitable. The monster then reappears, to reinforce this. Frankenstein describes his actions, saying “he muttered some inarticulate sounds, while a grin wrinkled his cheeks… one hand was stretched out, seemingly to detain me. ” In this description, Victor uses the word “seemingly”.