kenstein essaysFrankenstein as a Gothic Novel One of the most important aspects of any gothic novel is setting. MaryShelly’s Frankenstein is an innovative and disturbing work that weaves a taleof passion, misery, dread, and remorse. Shelly reveals the story of a man’sthirst for knowledge which leads to a monstrous creation that goes against thelaws of nature and natural order. The man, Victor Frankenstein, in utterdisgust, abandons his creation who is shunned by all of mankind yet still feelsand yearns for love.
The monster then seeks revenge for his life of lonelinessand misery. The setting can bring about these feelings of short-lived happiness,loneliness, isolation, and despair. Shelly’s writing shows how the varied anddramatic settings of Frankenstein can create the atmosphere of the novel and canalso cause or hinder the actions of Frankenstein and his monster as they go ontheir seemingly endless chase where the pursuer becomes the pursued. Darkly dramatic moments and the ever-so-small flashes of happiness standout. The setting sets the atmosphere and creates the mood. The dreary nightof 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 alongwith the desolate isolation. Yet there were still glimpses of happiness inShelly’s vivid pictures of the grand scenes among Frankenstein- thethunderstorm of the Alps, the valleys of Servox and Chamounix, the glacier andthe precipitous sides of Montanvert, and the smoke of rushing avalanches, thetremendous dome of Mont Blanc (Goldberg 277) and on that last journey withElizabeth which were his last moments of happiness. The rest goes along withthe melodrama of the story. Shelly can sustain the mood and create a distinctpicture and it is admirable the way she begins to foreshadow coming danger.
Shelly does this by starting a terrible storm, adding dreary thunder andlightning and by enhancing the gloom and dread of her gothic scenes. Shellywrites so that the reader sees and feels these scenes taking permanent hold onthe memory. Furthermore, the setting can greatly impact the actions in a novel suchas this. Frankenstein’s abhorred creation proclaims that: the desert mountainsand dreary glaciers are my refuge. I have wandered here many days; the caves ofice which I only do not fear, are a dwelling to me, and the only one which mandoes not grudge (Shelly 84). The pitiful creature lives in places where mancannot go for reason that the temperatures and dangers of these settings are tooextreme.
But near the end, Frankenstein’s rage takes him all over the world inan obsessed search for his doppelganger enduring terrible hardships, which themonster, too, has endured. Frankenstein pursues his creation to the Articwastes, revenge being the only thing keeping him alive. This serves only tothicken the strange darkness that surrounds and engulfs them (Nitchie 274). Here it seems as if Frankenstein may finally capture his adversary, but naturethinks otherwise. The monster tempts his enraged creator through a world of iceand the setting becomes a hindrance as the wind arose; the sea roared; and, aswith the mighty shock of an earthquake; it split and cracked with a tremendousand overwhelming sound. the work was soon finished; in a few minutes atumuluous sea rolled between me and my enemy (Shelly 191).
Because of thisgothic setting amid the Artic ice floes, the despair hits both Frankenstein andthe reader. So Frankenstein, Mary Shelly’s strange and disturbing tale personifiesthe gothic novel. With her compelling writing, she creates the setting thatsets the gloomy mood and causes as well as hinders actions creating dramatictension. The entire story is mysteriously set in the cold Artic which adds tothe dark and foreboding atmosphere. Frankenstein pursues his monster there,fails to destroy him, and dies appropriately in the cold of the Artic thatmatches the cold of his heart.
Likewise, Frankenstein’s monster dies on hisown terms, springing to his ice raft, borne away by the waves and lost indarkness and distance (Shelly 206). Works CitedShelly, Mary. Frankenstein. Bantam Books.
New York, New York. 1991