Frankenstein: What Makes it a Gothic Novel?
One of the most important aspects of any gothic novel is setting. Mary Shelly's Frankenstein is an innovative and disturbing work that weaves a tale of passion, misery, dread, and remorse. Shelly reveals the story of a man's thirst for knowledge which leads to a monstrous creation that goes against the laws of nature and natural order. The man, Victor Frankenstein, in utter disgust, abandons his creation who is shunned by all of mankind yet still feels and yearns for love. The monster then seeks revenge for his life of loneliness and misery. The setting can bring about these feelings of short-lived happiness, loneliness, isolation, and despair. Shelly's writing shows how the varied and dramatic settings of Frankenstein can create the atmosphere of the novel and can also cause or hinder the actions of Frankenstein and his monster as they go on their seemingly endless chase where the pursuer becomes the pursued.
Darkly dramatic moments and the ever-so-small flashes of happiness stand out. The setting sets the atmosphere and creates the mood. The "dreary night of November" (Shelly 42) where the monster is given life, remains in the memory. And that is what is felt throughout the novel-the dreariness of it all along with the desolate isolation. Yet there were still glimpses of happiness in Shelly's "vivid pictures of the grand scenes among Frankenstein- the thunderstorm of the Alps, the valleys of Servox and Chamounix, the glacier and the precipitous sides of Montanvert, and the smoke of rushing avalanches, the tremendous dome of Mont Blanc" (Goldberg 277) and on that last journey with Elizabeth which were his last moments of happiness. The rest goes along with the melodrama of the story. Shelly can sustain the mood and create a distinct picture and it is admirable the way she begins to foreshadow coming danger. Shelly does this by starting a terrible storm, adding dreary thunder and lightning and by...
Cited: 2. Shelly, Mary. Frankenstein. Bantam Books. New York, New York. c1991
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