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Romanticism In Frankenstein Essay Prompts

Romantic and Gothic Forces in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein Essay

2028 Words9 Pages

Romantic and Gothic Forces in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

Sometimes considered one of the first science fiction novels of supernatural terror, Frankenstein proved itself an instant success when released anonymously in 1818. The mad scientist Victor Frankenstein and his creation provoke readers with the fear of the unknown and the power of natures forces. A deeper look into the character of Victor Frankenstein, the role of scientific experimentation and the intricate settings of nature in which the story evolves, prove Mary Shelley's novel, Frankenstein , a worthy example of both Romantic and Gothic representation in nineteenth century British Literature.

When Mary Shelley was born (1798), her husband's famous predecessors,…show more content…

. ." (Drabble 853). As to emotions, Romanticism "expressed an extreme assertion of the self and the value of individual experience . . ." (Drabble 853). The Romantics also "sought reassurance in the face of change by thinking about the relationship between the human mind and what is out there . . ." (Anderson 606). It was within this faith of change that the ideas of the Romantics originated.

Another area where the thoughts of the Romantics originated, is their understanding of the mysterious forces of nature. As Robert Anderson puts it," . . . they prized experiences of the beauty and majesty of nature. . . but they had a strong sense of its mysterious forces, partly because these forces hinted at the cause of change" (606). "If you do something to nature, even a small part of it, there may be large, unforeseen results like those that threaten us" (Anderson 605). In Frankenstein, Victor Frankenstein acknowledges these forces when he says:

It was the secrets of heaven and earth that I desired to learn; and whether it was the outward substance of things, or the inner spirit of nature and the mysterious soul of man that occupied me, still my inquires were directed to the metaphysical, or, in its highest sense, the physical secrets of the world. (Shelley 28)

On the other extreme of Romanticism, Frankenstein can also be considered a gothic novel,"tales of macabre, fantastic . . . usually set in graveyards, ruins, and wild picturesque

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Romantic and Enlightenment Ideas in Frankenstein Essay

1153 Words5 Pages

The Enlightenment age encouraged everyone to use reason and science in order to rid the world of barbarism and superstition. In fact, Kant argued that the "public use of one's reason must always be free, and it alone can bring about enlightenment among men" (Kant 3). Enlightenment thinking not only influenced philosophy and the sciences, but also literature (especially in Pope's Essay on Man). In reaction to Enlightenment's strict empiricism, Romanticism was born. In Frankenstein, Shelley argues (1) that Victor Frankenstein's role as an Enlightenment hero, not only pulled him out of nature, but made him a slave to his creation; (2) that Frankenstein's role as a revolting romantic failed, because he didn't take responsibility for his…show more content…

Victor commented on Clerval's view of nature:

He was alive to every new scene, joyful when he saw the beauties of the setting sun, and more happy when he beheld it rise and recommence the new day. He pointed out . . . this is what it is to live (139).

Once Victor had created his monster, he became a slave to his own creation.

As a Romantic, Victor studied metaphysics and alchemy (through his study of Agrippa, Magnus and Parcelsus) in order to find "the elixer of life" (26). Mr. Krempe, professor of natural philosophy, complains: "I little expected, in this enlightened and scientific age, to find a disciple of Albertus Magus and Paracelsus" (31). So though he studied the sciences, his "inquiries were directed to the metaphysical" (23), which would please most Romantics. His studies of alchemy and metaphysics led him to the romantic act of creation. But instead of loving his creation, his "heart sickened and . . . [his] feelings were altered to those of horror and hatred" (132). He cried that he was "unable to endure the aspect of the being I had created. . ." (Shelley 42). The monster complained that he was born "benevolent and good; [but because of his creator's mistreatment] misery made me a fiend" (84). Shelley alludes that Victor's creation of the monster, is likened to God creating a "fallen angel" (84). The irony is that God never created

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