Gothic novel is a terrified story in which most of the actions as well as the setting are the mysterious and terrifying one. Mary Shelly's Frankenstein is a good example of a gothic novel, but this novel is not a mere gothic one, it is a mixture of gothic and romance in which gothic is the dominant element.
Frankenstein is a story of Victor Frankenstein, a young scientist, who wants to know how to create life, and finally he makes a monster out of the rests of some dead bodies.After Victor did this he became regretful, abandoned his university, and came back home, but the monster wants to get revenge from his creator because of his loneliness. At last the monster kills all the members of victor’s family, and finally he goes back North where he disappears for the last time. One of the most important elements of a gothic novel is its setting which transmits terror and fear to readers. This atmosphere can happen in dark, miserable, and desolate places as well as lonely characters.Frankenstein somehow has all these elements together; this novel starts with some letters that Robert Walton, a sailor, writes to his sister, he talks about his loneliness and his need to a friend. Although he has so many crews, he thinks he is alone and needs a friend to share his feeling with.
So at the beginning of this novel we face with a lonely person and a very cold, icy, and dark place as he describes in his letters, Walton also describes that sometimes his sheep is in danger of huge tornado; therefore with these elements at the beginning of the story, Mary Shelly wants to ready readers for her horror novel.So after making readers ready, Mary shelly starts to describe the story of Victor Frankenstein, the main character of her novel. In first two chapters of the novel, every thing is normal actually, a calm and smooth life with few ups and downs that is normal in each life. Every thing starts when Victor decided to go to Ingolstadt College for research and study. Before he left his home, his half-sister became sick and his mother died.His loneliness and the gloomy atmosphere of his mother’s dead make readers sure that a terrified event is going to happen. Victor starts his journey to Ingolstadt, and from here he initiated in the idea of creating life out of dead body with electricity.
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In the college he became familiar with professor Waldman who helps victor somehow in his research. At first the setting of this part of the story is calm and beautiful, but how Victor became closer to his idea, the atmosphere f the story became darker, at first he was happy from coming to college and 1 everything was ok, days were shiny and pleasant but every day that Victor became closer to his research we see a dark and rainy weather much better, he didn’t send any letter to his family for a long time, even in summer victor didn’t go out to see the beautiful scenes because of his study, sometimes he forgot the place of God in his life and because of this he feels guilty, but he was thirst of science and continued his work till the end.All these elements help readers to feel a sad and horrible situation. On the last days of his work he became sick because of hard work, his guilty feeling was much more than before, the weather is really dark, cold and rainy, and the place that Victor is working in is also dingy and frightening one. So with all these vivid and clear elements we become ready for the birth of monster, Mary Shelly explains the day of the monster’s birth in this way “It was on a dreary night of November that I beheld the accomplishment of my toils…….. , and also we see Victor as a very tired and frightened person when he saw the monster in his dimly-lit lab, he escapes to his room and sees nightmares all through the night.
In the morning he didn’t dare to go to his lab so he went to streets, the morning was a wet and dismal one that is not very pleasant for readers. Till now Mary shelly makes a perfect scene of horror; every thing, the setting, the atmosphere, the main plot has a very good harmony with each other, and all these things transmit tangible terror to readers.In the street he saw his close friend, Henry Clerval, and both of them became very happy, Victor was sick and Henry took care of him for some months, in these periods we didn’t read anything about the monster. The situation is not very bad, Victor is becoming better, and he received a letter from Elizabeth, his half-sister and also his lover, who wants him go back home. Victor and Henry came back to college, Victor tried to forget the monster and didn’t tell his secret to his friend, but very sad news makes Victor and also the readers shocked, that was the news of William’s murder, the youngest brother of Victor.The situation of the story again became dark and dismal, Victor and Henry decided to come back home, in the wood Victor saw the monster and became sure that he was the murderer, from here to the end of the story a huge fear is dominant on readers; they don’t know who the next candidate is for death. The setting of the novel from here is almost dark, cold, and rainy; readers can simply feel horror.
Mistakenly Justine was condemned to death because of William’s death, when this event happen, readers become more frightened.Now readers know that the monster comes back just for revenge, the setting is not pleasant and fear is clear in all parts of the novel. Here we as readers are waiting for the next revenge, but Mary Shelly beautifully pictured another scene for the readers, 2 this scene is the meeting of the monster and Victor. As I say at first, in Gothic novel we have a lonely character as well, and in this scene Mary shelly shows this elements very clearly; We can see how isolated the monster feels when he says, “The desert mountains and dreary glaciers are my refuge.I have wandered here many days; the caves of ice, which I only do not fear, are a dwelling to me, and the only one which man does not grudge. ” The monster asks for a mate and Victor accepts to make one because he was threatened by the monster. He came back to his lab in England, here the atmosphere of the novel is very frightening, Victor started to make a mate for the monster, but one night he becomes disgusted that he is creating another monster, and destroys it in a sea.
The scene in which the monster vows that he will murder Victor’s partner, Elizabeth, on their wedding night, and also the dark and rainy situation of drowning the dead body of the monster’s mate are really scary one. Mary Shelly describes the scene of drowning the dead body of the monster’s mate in this way “at one time the moon, which had before been clear, was suddenly overspread by a thick cloud…” as it is clear she makes the setting in balance with the action of Victor, and both of them transmits fear to readers, and it makes them sure that this action makes the monster more angry, so they are waiting for a very cruel revenge.The next candidate for death is Henry, when Victor comes back to shore, he understood that he was murdered, and after that the last person for death is Elizabeth, Victor’s wife, as the monster promised to kill her in his wedding night, and finally he kills her. By murdering Victor’s partner, the monster is putting Frankenstein in the same lonely isolated position as him. The situation is a sad one and makes the readers shocked. Victor decided to find the monster and kill him, the situation in which he tracks the monster is a very cold and icy place in North, and revenge is the only thing that keeps him alive.All these serve to thicken the strange darkness that surrounds them.
The gloomy setting and the feeling of revenge between Victor and the monster in the last chapter put the readers in horrible situation. The monster tempts his enraged creator through a world of ice and the setting becomes a hindrance as the wind arose. At last Victor died because of his miserable life and tiredness of the long trip, the setting is dark and icy like before, the monster is really sad because of his creator’s death, and became disappear in a waved sea with a tremendous and overwhelming sound for ever.The novel finishes with a close letter that Walton wrote to his sister to inform her from his return to home. I believe that Mary Shelley’s intention for “Frankenstein” was to stop people stereotyping things on looks alone, and almost every scene in Frankenstein 3 deals with some aspect of emotion. The adoption of underprivileged children, the death of William, and the devotion of Victor and Elizabeth are examples of scenes dominated by emotions. So, in conclusion, I think that “Frankenstein” is a gothic novel as it all the elements of one, but the novel also has some aspects of romantic literature.
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