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Common things about Gothic Literature.

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Introduction

Common things about Gothic Literature "Frankenstein" fulfils the description of a novel of the Gothic genre in many ways, and the influence of this highly original piece of gothic literature on our modern day culture cannot be questioned. The statement: 'Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" is widely regarded not only as a fine example of Gothic Literature but also as a seminal text in its fictional exploration of the possibilities of scientific endeavour and the consequences this has for our humanity,' is a statement that can be proved true on in many respects. An element common to gothic novels is that the story is set in the context of some sort of social upheaval. Frankenstein was written in the early 19th Century - a time when the industrial revolution was beginning in Britain. The advent of machinery, that beginning to be widely used, created a lot of interest in machines which eventually led to the investigation of science and scientific methods. One of the underlying themes throughout the novel of Frankenstein is the pursuit of knowledge - in Victor Frankenstein's case, the pursuit of the 'physical secrets of the world.' Frankenstein later states that 'natural philosophy is the genius that has regulated my fate,' which again emphasises his "predilection for that science." This theme may reflect Britain's growing inclination to encourage scientific pursuits, spurred on by the industrial revolution. ...read more.

Middle

After Frankenstein realises his folly and the grave mistake he has made after the monster is brought to life, we are also able to empathise with Frankenstein, and truly understand how he might feel; the 'extremest agony' or be filled 'with joy,' due to the close rapport between reader and character created by the intimate and revealing first person narrative. A gothic element which has been taken further by Shelley is the usage of the first person perspective to try and create such empathy for the character through such an explicit conveyance of his thoughts and the machinations of his mind. Another characteristic of Gothic literature is that it deals with the outsider - someone who is outside the normal social parameters and can easily be recognised as the antagonist of the novel. It often happens that the very reasons the character has been cast out of society are those which constitute a transgression for which he must be punished. However, the novel "Frankenstein" is a more complex example of this, on owing to the effective and clever employment of duality by Shelley. By cleverly using duality, Shelley has created a link between the protagonist and antagonist - the monster created by Frankenstein reflects his own dark side, and it can be viewed that the transgressions of the monster were engendered by the architect of its creation - Victor Frankenstein. ...read more.

Conclusion

Thus, the death of Justine, which Frankenstein calls "two injustices" and the subsequent murder of Elizabeth really emphasises this gothic theme in a way few novels are able to. There is, however, one failing point of the gothic genre, which applies to 'Frankenstein' as well, is that it seems to have a very predictable storyline. The story is narrated in the past tense, and we are able to know that Frankenstein will survive his encounters with the monster to relate the events to Walton. This reduces the suspense throughout the novel somewhat. Frankenstein also mentions the 'curse which has befallen' him many times and refers to the daemon which he has created, throughout the novel. This lends an air of melancholy to the whole narrative, and does make for some rather melodramatic sections of the novel. There are also times when the events which occur become a bit too unbelievable and the novel relies on shock and horror to move the plot along, rather than a cohesive storyline. In conclusion, it must be said that the statement: Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" is widely regarded not only as a fine example of Gothic Literature but also as a seminal text in its fictional exploration of the possibilities of scientific endeavour and the consequences this has for our humanity,' is one that I can only agree with. The influence Frankenstein has exerted on our modern day culture is tremendous, and it has been a literary work from which all things Gothic have found a hold in modern times. ...read more.

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