"Both Mary Shelley's Frankenstein' and Bram Stoker's Dracula' are concerned with representations of "evil"". Which creation/character do you find most frightening and why?
Evil features in both Dracula' and Frankenstein' but the personification of this evil is different in both novels. A feeling of menace and doom pervades Dracula' because of his supernatural powers. One feels that he has control of the evil and he has the power to manipulate the environment and people for his own ends. Frankenstein' centres on the creation of a monster made from parts of dead bodies and the fear created by the monster due to circumstance and the ignorance of society. Also, one feels a certain amount of apprehension that the monster is deserted by his creator and loses control without his support and guidance.
The novels were written in the 19th century, Frankenstein' was first published in 1818 and Dracula' was first published in 1897. In this century there was a fanaticism with Gothic horror stories and these novels reflect this. In the last century, a wide audience would have appreciated these novels, although they are not great literary accomplishments, people of that period enjoyed reading this type of story, filled with horror, suspense and intrigue. The very idea that such an evil and frightening creature could exist shocked and aroused the curiosity of many people at this time. Society in the last century was extremely corrupt and immoral, the novel Frankenstein' reflects this, in which an innocent creature is shunned by society because of it's abnormal and somewhat shocking appearance. Nowadays, people are still enticed by fear, they have a curiosity for the supernatural, evil and frightening. Although modern day society is supposedly politically correct, we are still an immoral society and many of us would treat a creature like Frankenstein's creation or a vampire like Dracula like a monster. In this way, the novels still have social significance.
The atmosphere of each novel plays a significant role in setting the scene for the ensuing horror to evolve. The atmosphere in each novel is different; the horror in each novel is different
The fact that Frankenstein's monster kills out of revenge and anger is a form evil but one can understand and to a certain extent sympathise with his inability to reason right from wrong. Many examples of this inability are shown, for example, the creature strangles Frankenstein's innocent young brother because he cannot understand why the child abhors him. Initially this was a creature that only had good feelings towards others but this changed due to him being shunned by society. Many scenes in Frankenstein' are pastoral, thus creating a non-threatening atmosphere, however, it is circumstances and ignorance which result in the creature becoming despised and hunted which in return change his nature and character when he seeks revenge for the injustices done against him. Dracula, from the beginning, is the embodiment of evil - he plots and schemes. One could make excuses for him and say he needs blood or he becomes extinct and it is a form of self-preservation. This is so, however, throughout the novel we are faced time and again with examples of gratuitous malevolence he makes no distinction between man or woman, child or baby. Many scenes in Dracula' are set in the dark and ominous Castle Dracula, this results in a pervading atmosphere of apprehension.
In Frankenstein' there were reasons behind the monster's actions but this is not the case in Dracula', apart from him needing blood to exist. Dracula callously uses people and situations for his own ends, "Monster, give me my child!" here a woman from the village has had her baby snatched by Dracula, she knows Dracula has taken him and is pleading for the life of her child. The child is, of course, dead and this shows how little regard Dracula has for the innocence of any creature, then he uses his power over the wolves to...
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