Romanticism in Frankenstein

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Having lived between 18th and 19th century, author Mary Shelley was greatly influenced by the intellectual movement of Romanticism. Since she was closely associated with many of the great minds of the Romantic Movement such as her husband Percy B. Shelley and Lord Byron, it is natural that her works would reflect the Romantic trends. Many label Shelley¡¯s most famous novel Frankenstein as the first Science Fiction novel in history because its plot contains the process of a scientist named Victor Frankenstein creating a living human being from dead body parts, but that is only a part of the entire novel. At its core, Frankenstein is a product of Romanticism featuring the traits of a Romantic hero on a Romantic quest, the embracement of nature¡¯s sublimity, intense emotions felt by fully experiencing life, imagination breaking away from social conventions, and anti-enlightenment.

One of the key features found in Romantic literature is the Romantic hero, also called the Byronic hero after Lord Byron, pursuing a Romantic quest. Victor Frankenstein¡¯s life story, which is at the heart of Frankenstein, is a Romantic quest toward self-destruction, and Frankenstein represents the Byronic hero almost exactly. The Byronic hero is not as virtuous as conventional heroes but, instead, has many dark qualities. He is an extremist considering his pride, intellectual ability, passions, hypersensitivity, and self-destructiveness. Frankenstein is such a person with genius, arrogance, and passion for the study of natural philosophy and knowledge of the world. These are the reasons that drive him to the obsession with discovery of the secret of life. As the novel progresses, Frankenstein becomes increasingly self-centered, moody, irresponsible for his creation of the monster, and self-destructive, ultimately leading to his complete isolation which is yet another characteristic of the Byronic hero.

Another feature of Romanticism found in Frankenstein is the attitude...
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