Frankenstein Setting In Book Versus the Film

Frankenstein Setting In Book Versus the Movie

Eudora Welty argues that “location has the most fragile control over character … by restricting character it specifies it.” This quote can not be any closer to the reality, as setting is known to be an integral part of any literature piece as it mentions where and when action is taken. The opening setting is likewise historical in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein as it was initially rooted from her stay in the environs of Geneva in the summer season of 1816, where she was challenged to tell the very best ghost story.

One may state the dwelling at Geneva triggered Shelley to produce the characters in mind along with the setting to elevate the plot of her classic scary. Location is not simply an area for the characters however the ignition behind the advancement of characters and guides the plot forward. The setting played a big function in James Whale’s 1931 adaptation that accounts, in big part to the present generation’s perception of Frankenstein to be a scarred and wicked beast of dead flesh conjured by an evil scientist in his murky lab upon a dark and stormy night.

Frankenstein Setting

Along with other comparable adjustments, distinctions develop when the source text is changed from one medium to another. One major modification is the domination that setting modifications from one medium to another. One example is Shelley’s usage of gothic literature gadgets such as making use of leaving an unclear description of setting or characters, therefore leaving a big part of the description to the imagination of readers.

However, the gothic technique is loosely used in Kenneth Branagh’s Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein due to rather large distinctions in mediums such as the use of filmic images that currently endures the description, thus leaving diminutive requirement for creativity from the audience. Nonetheless, the setting plays fundamental parts in both the source text and Kenneth Branagh’s movie as the adjustment tries to adopt near fidelity towards Mary Shelley’s original work.

Nevertheless, when an unique medium is adjusted to a movie medium, the setting varies and influences the advancement of characters, the mood and atmosphere and the novel’s plot. It is unreasonable to slam many of the changes Branagh has completed since some have enhanced the source text, such as the reincarnation of dead Elizabeth, but the setting changes the gothic characteristics that Frankenstein is mainly based upon along with the development of characters, the state of mind and atmosphere and the plot.

Shelley’s Frankenstein utilizes place and time as a source of a character’s development in the plot. In both mediums, Victor Frankenstein is fascinated with producing life, hence achieving the requirement to become a godlike being. Mary Shelley describes the setting of the reincarnation of Frankenstein

“on a gloomy night of November”

Mary Shelley, Frankenstein Setting, Page 58


“one in the early morning; the rain pattered dismally versus the panes, and my candle was almost stressed out, when, by the twinkle of the half-extinguished light”

Mary Shelley, Frankenstein Setting, Page 58

The setting in this produces a dull environment, a characteristic of Gothic culture and discussed later on, but it also provides an early insight of the monster’s solitude as it shows his dismal upbringing. This likewise points out Victor Frankenstein’s ability as a dad and godlike being to bring up his production in an environment contrasting in a different way to how God produced Adam in Book of Genesis in the Bible. However, similar to other film adaptations, setting is insignificantly imaginative as the gothic style of unclear description permits the reader to use his/her creativity to create a photo of the setting.

In a filmic medium, the film does not spend time describing the scene due to the fact that the audience sees the filmic images of the setting which constitutes to a phase of “what you see is what you get.” The description of the setting foreshadows character development such as in Shelley’s Frankenstein, the isolation and the approval of his deformedness is defined when the animal states,

“the desert mountains and bleak glaciers are my haven”

Mary Shelley, Frankenstein Setting, Page 171


” [I] had actually loitered in forests, concealed [] in caves, or taken haven in large and desert hearts”

Mary Shelley, Frankenstein Setting, Page 171

The animal’s stature forces him to invest

“the caverns of ice which I only do not fear are a residence to me and the just one which male does not animosity”

Mary Shelley, Frankenstein Setting, Page 84

thus evading the encounter of people. The setting in Branagh’s film adaptation prevents character advancement to the audience, as setting is not taken seriously however rather appreciated as background art. The movie then stops working to offer the gothic experience of imagination that Shelley had tried hard to execute in her novel.

Mood Of Frankenstein

Nevertheless, both mediums do use the key settings as they contribute to the development of the characters such as Frankenstein born with access to education, wealth and enjoyed ones in Geneva to a crazy obsession with the development of life and working in a lab setting while avoiding his family. When one medium is adjusted to another, numerous changes take place in setting that impedes a character’s development and develops a brand-new path into the plot. Shelley’s Frankenstein and Branagh’s adaptation use setting to produce climatic moments and state of minds in the story.

The setting emphases the state of mind of the story such as once again

“the dreary night of November”

Mary Shelley, Frankenstein Setting, Page 58

since it produces the audience with isolation and darkness as November is the time of the year where the day is shorter and the sun is out less. Mary Shelley even more affirms the state of mind by utilizing gothic traits to describe Frankenstein’s “anxiety that practically amounted to agony,” foreshadowing the continuing state of mind of foreshadowed misery and sorrow throughout the chapter, as well as the majority of the novel.

Meyer Howard Abrams, an American literature critic, argues that Shelley’s Frankenstein uses the

“gothic usage of a gloomy and shadowy scene for their settings”

Howard Abrams

while Branagh’s adjustment stops working to develop the mood that restricts creativity. He argues that Shelley’s literature and detailed gadgets of setting creates an embarking environment that takes the reader on an eventful journey, while filmic adjustments fail to resolve that. Yet, both mediums do not always produce a melancholy setting but sometimes flexibility and remembrance.

When Victor Frankenstein returned home after the death of William, he used the setting of nature to describe his sensations and the mood of the story. He wept inconsiderably and wails out:

“Dear mountains! My own stunning lake! How do you welcome your wanderer? Your tops are clear; the sky and lake are blue and placid”

Mary Shelley, Frankenstein Setting, Page 76

The setting of nature launches his feelings, well-known in gothic playwrights, in discovering temporary peace of mind from his science fixation in his laboratory and this opens the state of mind and another side to Frankenstein.

However, the filmic adjustment stops working to address his emotionally tension duration utilizing nature and other literature devices such as the repetitive use of “darkness” spoken by the animal when explaining his story. He explains the setting where he gains from a neighbouring family through a spy-hole and

“all the light I took pleasure in came through the sty and that was efficient for me”

Mary Shelley, Frankenstein Setting, Page 109

The book’s compelling setting and description sustains the state of mind throughout the story and epitomises gothic characteristic and melodramatic tension.

In the end of both mediums, the attractive setting of the Arctic plays a crucial role as a dark and definitive environment to the story. The cold and sunless setting played a best role in permitting both Frankenstein and the animal to show their regret and compunction about one another. The climatic mood climaxes at the end as in both versions, as Triumph Frankenstein dies in the cold and dark Arctic, in loneliness and the animal does the same by leaving into

“the waves and lost in darkness and distance”

Mary Shelley, Frankenstein Setting, Page 225

However, both versions slightly by the end as Branagh’s version produces a final conclusion as witnessed by the death of the beast by the melting ice sheet opposed to Mary Shelley’s version of the beast leaving into the darkness producing a gothic mood of an unfinished story. Hence, when one medium is adapted to another, numerous changes occur in setting that develops a various state of mind and in some cases the adjustment fails to attend to the same mood comparable to the source text.

It is quite apparent that when adjusting from one medium to another changes lots of features of the source text however the most changed function is typically the plot. It is mentioned that setting plays an important function in any medium and together with character development, it fires up the plot. Like a lot of movie adaptation kind novel source texts, they usually do not follow the very same course due to various restrictions such as time and financial resources however Branagh has done an appropriate job in following Shelley’s original piece.

One example is the setting of the dark and gloomy lab where the creature is developed, foreshadowing evilness, solitude and deep sorrow later in the plot. The setting along with the characters creates the plot of the story. Frankenstein’s roots come from a popular and rich household in civilized Geneva where he ends up being thinking about alchemy and the sciences, later to the creation of the horrible monster. However, would the plot have been the same if Frankenstein were born poor in the tasks? Certainly not, the plot would be entirely different.

How would he have entered university or travelled to various areas? The plot is certainly altered in both mediums such as the in Shelley’s Frankenstein, Frankenstein

“tore to pieces the important things on which I was engaged”

Mary Shelley, Frankenstein Setting, Page 171

However, in Branagh’s adaptation, Frankenstein follows through with the strategy of creating a beast bride-to-be by utilizing the remains of Elizabeth. Nevertheless, the significance depend on the original text, the creature promises to damage the ones he likes and finishes this task by killing Elizabeth.

In the adjusted version, Elizabeth eliminates herself after she sets herself on fire with a kerosene light, a setting that followed a different path and produced a theme of fire as a sign representing danger and the need to ruin the secret of developing life. The lab was the setting of Frankenstein’s ambition for the understanding on the production of life in Shelley’s unique but in the adjustment, Frankenstein is less called a mad researcher because it was Teacher Waldman’s research that resulted in the production of the monster and one may state that Frankenstein was trying to finish Waldman’s dream (and his).

When one medium is adjusted to another, many changes happen in setting that changes the instructions of the plot in a significant as seen in Shelley’s Frankenstein, the initial source text and Kenneth Branagh’s adjustment. Eudora Welty argues that

“place has the most fragile control over character … by restricting character it specifies it. “

Mary Shelley, Frankenstein Setting

Place plays crucial strides in both Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Kenneth Branagh’s Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein as the authors produce the characters in mind along with the setting to elevate the plot of their stories.

Location is not simply a location for the characters but the ignition behind the advancement of characters and guides the plot forward. However, the very same issue emerges along with other adaptations that points out major modifications take place when one medium to adjusted to another. Kenneth Branagh’s film tries to embrace near fidelity towards Mary Shelley’s original work as the medium change affects the advancement of characters, the environment and plot of the story.

Nevertheless, it is affirmative that various mediums will bring various changes from the original source text and it is the filmmaker’s duty to develop near fidelity to the source text, if fidelity is to be desired. The setting plays a substantial function in the fidelity of 2 mediums because in influences a number of the other components of a story in a domino effect. Tony Hillerman, an acclaimed American author one said, “always try to make the setting fit the story in mind.” Works Cited Abrams, Meyer, et al.

. The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Sixth Edition: The Romantic Period Through the Twentieth Century and After. Ney York: W. W. Norton, 1993. Hunter, J. Paul, et al. A review of the Norton Crucial Edition of Frankenstein. New York City: W. W. Norton, 2007. Glut, Donald. The Frankenstein Archive: Essays on the Monster, the Myth, the Films, and More. North Carolina: McFarland and Company, 2002. Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. England: Penguins Group, 2003. Hillerman, Tony. Brainyquotes. com. BrainyQuote, 2009.

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