• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How does Mary Shelley create tension and horror in Frankenstein?

Extracts from this document...


How does Mary Shelley create tension and horror in FRANKENSTEIN ? There are many forms of tension and horror in this novel. There is a monster, there's grave robbing, the whole story is against religion and it is warning the reader that trying to play God can only have bad consequences. The novel is controversial in its content and it focuses on people's prejudice and discrimination together with how people judge others too readily. Another thing that could have been scary for the readers at the time is the idea of electricity bringing life. Since electricity was a reasonably new thing, the concept of this new, weird technology described in the book could have been seen as horrific. Also, the atmosphere was a big part of the horror and tension, pathetic fallacy was used when Dr Frankenstein was creating his monster "It was already one in the morning; the rain pattered dismally against the panes, and my candle was nearly burnt out," It was strange, at the time of the novel being published, for a woman to write a book quite as horrific as Frankenstein. There were many things which could have influenced Mary Shelley in writing a book of this sort, myths, religion, other novels. She could have been influenced by the legends of the poles when creating Robert Walton's character. She was most likely to have been influenced by scientific research and advances at the time such as discovering electricity. ...read more.


In chapters one and two Victor tells Walton about his childhood, in chapter three he speaks of the death of his mother and going to university. This all creates the background on which the character is built. In chapter four Frankenstein speaks of his experiments, this marks a change from tension to horror as there is a lot of description. Victor starts talking about his slightly crazy side; he often refers to dead bodies and his actions towards them as if it did not matter. He says "a churchyard was to me merely the receptacle of bodies." This blas´┐Ż and indifferent attitude towards what he was doing causes horror. Also Victor has an unnatural drive or obsession for what he is doing "I seemed to have lost all soul or sensation but for this one pursuit." His ambition overcomes his fear, guilt and morality. The horror is sustained by the fact that he is almost isolated or separated from reality. Also, he forgets his method once he has finished so he can not undo what he has done. Finally there is the physical horror of both the degeneration of Victor and the image of the creature itself, Victor states "I resolved... to make the being of a gigantic stature, that is to say, about eight feet in height, and proportionally large." The idea of recreating life is horrific and the idea that that life is a new large species increases the sense of horror. ...read more.


that she was able to create a good horror novel. But, on the inside, I think she had two other reasons for writing it. The first was to be the first, or one of the first, female writers to get a book published and become famous. Secondly and, I think most importantly, she needed a way to communicate her feelings to others. She had had a difficult marriage and had a complicated relationship with her husband, she also experienced a lot of death, her mother died giving birth to her and many of her own children died. She had given birth to five children before she reached 30 all of whom had died before reaching their teens. I think Shelley had a reason for writing the book as she did; I think she had a moral to the novel. The novel gives the message not to meddle with death and that trying to play God only has bad results. In conclusion, Mary Shelley creates tension and horror in Frankenstein by basing the novel around new science, reversing death, trying to play God and people's prejudice and discrimination. She maintains the horror and tension with detailed descriptions of a strange obsessive man and a terrifying monster set in an atmosphere of dark graveyards, dead bodies and sinister science laboratories. As the story unfolds however, I think that essentially Frankenstein is a romantic book because all the creature ever wanted was to be accepted. Catherine Baty 10JM. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Mary Shelley section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Mary Shelley essays

  1. Examine Mary Shelley's presentation of the relationship between Frankenstein and the creature!

    However, what the creature has failed to realise is the change in Frankenstein's countenance, from that of a scared and helpless man, to that of a strong defiant character. It is this change in character which drives Frankenstein to 'tremble with passion', as he 'tore to pieces the thing on which I was engaged'.

  2. Discuss Chapter four of 'Frankenstein' by Mary Shelley and relate it to the wider ...

    We see this when he says: "the beauty of my dream vanished and breathless horror and disgust filled my heart." Frankenstein only sees beauty as the way you look, and bases his opinions on this. He then compares himself to Dante, who wrote 'The Inferno'.

  1. Explore the Effect of Shelley's Authorial Craft on the Reader in Chapter Five and ...

    The genre 'Gothic' refers to a style of writing that contains supernatural, unexplained and peculiar events, with the purpose of creating terror or horror in the reader- and how Chapter Five fits to this! What could be more supernatural and peculiar than giving breath to a limp, lifeless creature using electricity?

  2. Comparing The Foghorn and The Sea Raiders

    When asked what he thinks about it says: "The mysteries of the sea." And he goes on to describe the: "biggest damned snowflake ever" this shows us that McDunn is farely well educated about the 'mysteries' of the sea. I think McDunn's experiences of being alone in the lighthouse help

  1. Consider the significance of chapter five of Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" in relation to the ...

    This is another typical Romantic extract. It reflects Victor's thoughts and feelings on seeing Henry Clerval again. Just like in the poem, Victor is feeling replenished, and even sees the gloomiest things in like as, "An appetite, a feeling, and a love".

  2. Compare three stories of suspense in three different styles of writing

    It gives Frankenstein a cause to tell his story for the reason that he has met someone who is very engrossed and fascinated in it. The letters at the beginning are set at sea, which also correspond with the use of part of "The Ancient Mariner".


    nearly gone out, Frankenstein saw through the dull glimmer of half-extinguished light, "I saw the full yellow eye of the creature open; it breathed hard, and a violent convulsion shook its limbs." The yellow eyes and the violent shaking just shows Frankenstein how these dead body parts should not have

  2. How does Shelley prepare us for the horror of Frankenstein's creature?

    Buildings were made geometrically and precise and education became more important. Scientists and doctors were all about reason and rationality and they believed that things only existed if man could prove it did. There was no chaos and no imagination.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work