Nature's Role in Frankenstein

Topics: Frankenstein, Romanticism, Samuel Taylor Coleridge Pages: 3 (1129 words) Published: April 22, 2013
The writers of the Romantic period portrayed nature as a celestial source. In many Romantic works, nature's beauty is praised with pantheistic, almost pagan, terms. To these writers, the natural world was a direct connection to god. Through appreciation for nature, one could achieve spiritual fulfillment. The contrary, failure to surrender to natural law, results in punishment at the hands of nature. Mary Shelley, as well as her contemporary, Samuel Coleridge, depicts the antagonistic powers of nature against those who dare to provoke it. Victor Frankenstein offends nature in several ways. The first and foremost insult is his attempt to gain knowledge forbidden to humanity. Then, he uses this knowledge to create an unnatural being that serves no purpose in a natural world. Finally, Frankenstein refuses to take responsibility for his creation's actions, which have obvious and dangerous consequences for society. By daring to tread on the laws of nature, Frankenstein becomes the target of the natural world's wrath. He, much like the Ancient Mariner, suffers due punishment for his sin. In both "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" and "Frankenstein," nature is portrayed as a divine power. It is a deific force, capable of creating transcendental beauty, as well as inflicting horrific torment upon those who violate its laws. The Ancient Mariner's crime is his senseless murder of the albatross; his punishment presents itself through a series of natural phenomenon. Nature deprives him and his men of natural elements, food and water, "Water, water, every where, Nor any drop to drink." (Coleridge 433). Nature also uses other natural elements to cause him further suffering. For instance, the Mariner and his men must endure the heat of the sun as their ship halts, the wind stops and intensifies the heat, "Down dropt the breeze, the sails dropt down..."“All in a hot and copper sky, The bloody sun at noon." (Coleridge 433). Frankenstein also faces retribution for his disobedience to...
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