Frankenstein and Fear
A classic gothic novel emphasises fear and terror. It has the presence of the supernatural, the positionings of occasions within a distant time and an unfamiliar and mystical setting. Romantic writer Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein complies with these conventional ‘timeless’ Gothic traits as well as to the contemporary conceptions of what is considered as Gothic.
Shelley’s Frankenstein is host to a variety of significant gothic elements, evident through Victor’s development of the massive creature, the dark setting of the novel, set in locations of gloom and horror, and the disempowered representation of women, in which women are threatened by the tyranny of males and are often in distress. Omens and visions are also evident in the unique, more boosting the Gothicism discovered in the book. Frankenstein is defined as a Gothic book through the many Gothic aspects it includes.
The connections, and importance it has to today’s modern society and the lessons that can be gained from it, is what categorizes it as being traditional. Shelley uses the supernatural aspects of raising the dead to frighten her readers. Through the eyes of Victor the monster is repulsive and altogether abnormal, stunning the reader out of reality, “I unexpectedly beheld the figure of a male, at some distance, advancing towards me with superhuman speed.” At a time of excellent clinical development this would have been a topical story that pressed the borders, providing readers with a really shocking idea removed from truth, but remotely possible.
Not just is this subject unknown and mystical, it is presented in such a frightening manner in which horror consumes the reader. Victor’s choice to stop making a female beast is driven by worry that “a race of devils would be propagated upon the earth who may make the really presence of the species of guy a condition precarious and loaded with terror” and this is the extremely feeling that has currently been sparked in the reader throughout the production of the first monster. It could be argued that the “gothic novel is mostly concerned with producing a physiological response, a story that chills the spinal column and curdles the blood”.
Victor himself experiences this physical response induced by worry– “Often my pulse beat so quickly and hardly that I felt the palpitation of every artery.” In this regard, Shelley’s novel clearly meets the criteria of the gothic customs. These traditions are boosted by the sensation of thriller that goes through Frankenstein, particularly from the moment the beast threatens Victor with the words, “I will be with you on your wedding-night,” an expression that remains with the reader through the novel from the moment it is spoken. Moreover, nature in the gothic book is presented as superb.
This appears in Victor’s journey to the mountains to restore his spirits and the beast’s joy when spring gets here. Nature is typically used integrated with darkness to construct a sensation of foreboding or evil. This holds true as Victor develops the monster, an effort that requires him to prevent daytime and lead a solitary life, “the moon looked on my midnight labours, while, with unrelaxed and breathless eagerness, I pursued nature to her hiding-places.” As the unique progresses we would not anticipate life to be “injected” into the monster on any other night but a “dreary night in November. Seemingly, through multiple narratives, Shelley forces us to question our sympathy. We are told the story of Frankenstein through Walton, who in turn informs the story of the beast. However, it is not till halfway through the novel that we are subject to the beast’s narrative and by this time we have already been affected by Victor’s biased account of occasions. Subsequently, we become aware of the complex nature of truth and the power of our own subjectivity. The supernatural becomes closer to natural than we might have first thought of.
Although we are terrorised in true gothic manner, we are simultaneously forced to question the source of this horror. However a realist understanding of supernatural events can be identified in the reaction of the magistrate as Victor discusses his story to, “He had heard my story with that half type of belief that is offered to a tale of spirits and supernatural events.” Basically, when it comes to Justine and Elizabeth, both females comply with the Gothic aspects of females remaining in distress. As the result of Justine being wrongly implicated of the murder of William, her presence is threatened as she deals with death if condemned.
Justine is eventually executed eventually due to the fact that of Victor’s selfishness. He created the animal, left it to do what it did and couldn’t can be found in Justine’s defence when she was on trial. The trial not just triggered distress to Justine, but to Elizabeth also. Both ladies experienced psychological distress, with Elizabeth likewise pleading in tears to the judges. The act of developing the animal and Victor’s inability to realise the vulnerability of others around him from the creature’s attack likewise led to the violent death of Elizabeth on her wedding event night.
However the act of developing the animal and the concepts behind it is in itself Gothic. In the pursuit of developing life, Victor was “animated by a practically supernatural enthusiasm” to observe the “corruption of the human body” and examining the nature of death. He dealt with items that are considered as revolting and spent days and nights in churchyards, charnel houses and vaults, gathering remains of dead bodies, in locations of dark and ghostly environment, stressing the fear and horror held within society of the time, eventually labelling Shelley’s text as a Gothic novel.