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'It is difficult to locate Frankenstein firmly within the Gothic Genre.' Would you agree?

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Introduction

'It is difficult to locate Frankenstein firmly within the Gothic Genre.' Would you agree? The idea for Frankenstein first came to Mary Shelley when she was invited to 'villa Diodati', near Geneva, as the guest of Lord Byron. Perhaps as an after dinner game, Lord Byron challenged his numerous guests to think up ghost stories, to entertain and terrify each other, this set Mary's mind in motion. A couple of nights after the task of thinking up a ghost story was set, Mary listened to a conversation between her husband, Percy Shelley, and Byron. The conversation concerned 'the nature of the principal of life, and whether there was any probability of its ever being discovered and communicated'1. She claims that the conversation raised three contemporary scientific ideas, one by Erasmus Darwin, probably to show that single cell parasites generate spontaneously, one by reanimating a corpse electrically, using a galvanic battery, and the third, the most notional, the reconstruction of a body which would then be reanimated. These conversations gave Mary sleepless nights and evoked nightmares when she did sleep, it was these nightmares which formed the basis for her novel 'Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus' about an experiment which toyed with creation and the supreme power of nature. ...read more.

Middle

human frame, and render man invulnerable to any but violent death!'8 These to quotations illustrate the previous point, that Victor only wanted to make advances in medical science. However these intentions quickly turned to a demented state of mind, 'his eyes have generally an expression of wildness, and even madness'9 here Walton is commenting on the crazed look in Victor's eyes, when he took him on board. This could be attributed to the fact that Victor had been out in the cold, vast, frozen wasteland for several days alone, however the fact that Victor is battling with his own conscience over the atrocities his own creation has committed, has rendered him insane. This is an idiosyncratic of the Gothic character, the idea of Victor being a ''mad scientist', concocting deranged experiments that mess with the natural order of the world. Transgression is the other prominent constituent of the Gothic genre. Transgression is the idea of delving into the taboo, the unclean. Elements such as incest, dabbling with the supreme power of nature, and things which are more than taboo, more unmentionable, such as the scandalous act of necromancy. ...read more.

Conclusion

However it is very descriptive yet just the right amount of descriptions are used to allow our minds to put in the details. This takes 'Frankenstein' away from the Gothic genre, as it tends to be very blunt and brutish. Gothic novels would tend to be read, shock, set down and not think books. 'Frankenstein' raises questions, which are still around in today's society, it presents Shelley's views on many political issues. For this reason it could be said that 'Frankenstein' could not be located firmly within the Gothic genre. 'Distinctions between good and evil, darkness and light, reason and superstition, morality and corruption, real and fantastic, sacred and profane, supernatural and natural, past and present, civilised and barbaric, rational and fanciful were no longer for certain. In Gothic writing the individual at the edges of society is the main object.'14 'Frankenstein' can definitely be identified with the above statement. Nothing is certain in 'Frankenstein'; everything is a mixture of styles of writing and genres of literature. For this reason, 'Frankenstein' can certainly not be located firmly within the Gothic genre. Perhaps Shelley borrows heavily from the genre, however the novel also relies heavily on Romanticism, so 'Frankenstein' is not uniquely and firmly Gothic. ...read more.

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