February 1st, 2013
Loathsome Creature in a Lovely Place
It can commonly be assumed that deplorable acts occur in decrepit places, and that excellent incidences take place in exceptional places. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is the exception to this well-known notion. She places her characters all over Europe, ranging from the Frankenstein home in Switzerland to the icy slopes of the Arctic, where the final scene culminates. The scenery, as described by the characters, is captivating and mesmerizing. The story itself, however, is something horrific and malignant. The viciousness of the actions taking place within the story deeply contrasts with the magnificent beauty of where it all transpires. From the very beginning, the scenery in the story plays a crucial role. Walton’s letters to his sister are sprinkled with bits and pieces of imagery, with Walton declaring, “There…the sun is for ever visible, its broad disk just skirting the horizon, and diffusing a perpetual splendor. There…sailing over a calm sea, we may be wafted to a land surpassing in wonders and in beauty every region hitherto discovered on the habitable globe. ” (1) Walton is enamored with the prospect of journeying to the Arctic and beholding all its wonders. He gives detailed descriptions of all the things he sees, and the scenery affects his all around demeanor. The Arctic landscape is the first glimpse the audience receives into how much the setting of the story will play into the story itself. The Frankenstein family is from Switzerland, a land known for its natural beauty and serenity. This is the first ironic device placed in the novel. Such a horrific turn of events, the entire contents of the novel, seem more likely to occur in a more vicious setting, not the sunny, languid hills of Switzerland. One could say that the environment is a foil for the story, both playing off each other in a magnificent way. Victor Frankenstein, the titular protagonist of the novel, mentions the...
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