Elements of Romanticism in Frankenstein

Topics: Romanticism, Mary Shelley, Gothic fiction Pages: 2 (657 words) Published: June 27, 2009
To what extent do the Frankenstein extracts reflect the central concerns of Romanticism?

Romanticism, a literary movement that emerged in the late 18th century in reaction to the Industrial Revolution, inspired Mary Shelley's “Frankenstein.”Romanticism celebrated life and embraced ideas of intense emotion experienced by individuals, appreciation of the beauty of nature and non-restrictive power of imagination, all of which are explored in “Frankenstein.”Mary Shelley focuses on the central concerns of Romanticism whilst incorporating elements of the Gothic novel, thereby releasing a warning to the responder.

Shelley conveys the central themes of romanticism through the complex characterisation of Dr Frankenstein and Captain Walton, as revealed in the extracts. Both Walton and Frankenstein are driven by immense passion, a trait that is typically evident in romantic characters, Walton through his determination to reach the North Pole, and Frankenstein through his ambition of creating life. The similarities between the characters is evident, “I shall satisfy my passionate curiosity with the sight of a part of the world never before visited, and may tread a land never before imprinted by the foot of man,” and hence parallels can be drawn in Frankenstein's ambition of creating life, which no-one has ever done before, and Walton's desire to go to the North Pole, again, which no-one has done before. However, where Romantics rejected science and rationalism, Frankenstein constitutes of both these aspects – not only is he extremely passionate in undertaking his project, he also has a vast understanding of science as required for him to fulfil his task. In Shelley's creation of Walton and Frankenstein, she has reflected ideas of their extensive imagination, as a part of the Romantic influence.

The extracts reveal substantial evidence of intense emotion experienced by the characters and convey through language that is typical of Romanticism. Extremes sides of life...
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