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Discuss the Significance of Chapter Five to the Novel as a Whole

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Oliver Latham Discuss the Significance of Chapter 5 to the Novel as whole. How is this chapter typical of the gothic genre? Frankenstein is considered by many to be the greatest Gothic Novel. The idea for the novel arose in the Summer of 1816 when Mary was staying in Geneva, Switzerland. Not only did Shelley incorporate experiences of that Summer into her novel but also utilized sources she had been reading and studying; for instance 'Metamorphoses' which contained the element that supplied the major theme of Frankenstein: the Prometheus Legend. This is acknowledged in the subtitle: the 'Modern Prometheus' and there are definite links with the image of Prometheus 'metamorphosing earth into man' and Frankenstein creating his monster. The Second important literary influence is 'Paradise Lost' which can be seen directly from the epigraph of Frankenstein: 'Did I request thee, maker from my clay to mould me man? Did I solicit thee from darkness to promote me?' This theme permeates Frankenstein throughout the novel for example when the monster says: 'The fallen angel becomes a malignant devil. Yet even that enemy of God and man had friends and associates in his desolation; I am alone.' ...read more.


These are contrasted with the negative details, for instance 'horrid', 'dun white sockets' and 'straight black lips'. The contrast highlights the monsters imperfections, making them even more vivid and gruesome. Part of the gothic genre is the apparent bridge between the natural world and the supernatural. In Chapter Five Frankenstein expresses his regret during the scene in a prophetic dream. '...but as I imprinted the first kiss on her lips, they became livid with the hue of death...' Frankenstein's dream symbolizes the contrast between the ultimate outcome of his experiment and his feeling towards it. Although he has created life by his creation it has come from death and will ultimately end in it as well as the monster wreaks havoc on those close to his creator. One of the major themes in Frankenstein is the great emphasis placed on appearance and acceptance in society. In modern society and Shelley's social prejudices exist whether it be from the colour of skin, the clothing worn or accent, people make instant judgments. In an appearance based society every human wants acceptance regardless of his or her physical appearance and if they are not they he or she becomes an outcast. ...read more.


Lines from Frankenstein that reflect the above passage are: 'I collected the instruments of life around me, that I might infuse a spark of being into the lifeless thing that lay at my feet....' and 'that I may extinguish the spark which I so negligently bestowed.' Both of these figures posses great intelligence shown by the things they are able to achieve but in many ways this power is abused and used for personal gain rather than for others. Both Frankenstein and Prometheus do not consider the dire consequences of their experiments nor look at it from the view of their creation that has been made in an act of pure selfishness. To conclude the early chapter set the scene for Frankenstein relentless pursuit of power over those he loves. In Chapter Five, Frankenstein's dream are accomplished but at the same time destroyed as the creation becomes a big disappointment to its creator. It is the end of the future of Frankenstein and the start of the struggle between creator and creation. Mary Shelley seems to be saying that ambition can often lead to unethical decision making such as the creation of life. Frankenstein still has a number of points which are of moral significance today such as whether or not there should be cloning etc in Science. ...read more.

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