Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" Analysis
Throughout Mary Shelley’s trailblazing take on gothic horror “Frankenstein”, Shelley’s use of many Gothic tropes helps it remain a classic even to this day, through her many thought-provoking moments.
Midway through the novel, Shelley creates themes of the uncanny through her use of blurring the lines, between reality and fiction. By describing the creation as “infuse(ing) a spark of being into the lifeless thing” Shelley is Juxtaposing the idea of Birth Creation and Innocence, which is something we view as a natural process, with the thought and imagery of Sinister and Artificial.
Which is very uncanny to the reader and can be unsettling to think about. This links to the theory of Galvanism which was being tested at the time and would have been quite polarizing for romanticists such as Shelley, who believed in all power of Nature. Additionally, the word “Thing” shows the little respect Victor has towards the monster, and emphasizes the blurring of the lines, as his description is the antithesis of the reaction we believe someone would feel towards their creation and echoes the gothic trait of a tragic hero as his superiority and lack of empathy are eventually his downfall.
The scene of the creation would have been fairly new to the audiences of the time, as this was one of the first novels to involve such interesting technology, and may have been frightening to some due to the supernatural elements of the novel.
Later on, in the text Shelley uses the gothic trope of a “Passion driven Villain” and “Revenge” through the monster exclaiming “If I cannot inspire love, I will cause fear” This is quite a powerful statement, as it is a stark contrast of the loving and caring beast the monster tried to lead us to see him as and increases the elements of fear and destruction. This could link to Mary Shelley losing most of whom she loved; her Mother, Father and Husband, and seeing that she had no one to “Inspire love” she would now use her writings to “cause fear”. Additionally, you could say this sudden outburst makes him a “Villain-Hero” as the monster who up until then had only sought companionship, had once again came close to receiving it, and yet again had it yanked away from him at the last second. This outburst from the monster would have been very frightening to audiences of the time, as the thought of a loving person finally having enough, and decided that they would only incite fear may have very frightening to audiences of the time.
Then, in the end, another gothic trope is revealed, in Walton’s final letter in which he encloses the Monster’s final words we hear in the Novel “I, the miserable and the abandoned, as MSN abortion, to be spurned at, kicked and trample on.” This use of the gothic trope, where a villain is revealed as justified, evokes sympathy from the reader, as the very thing the book has tried to make us hate for his cruel actions, now shows us the extent of the torment he has suffered. This tragic statement mirrors that of the feelings held by Mary Shelley, who during their birth had lost their mother, and felt as if they are being punished, solely for their creation, and their existence. Additionally, you could say his statement, is a motif for “Abortion”, the monster, who is unwanted and unloved, is cast aside and shunned by their creator.
In conclusion, Shelley’s use of many Gothic tropes helped her forge a thought-provoking take on the gothic horror genre.
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