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Many critics have commented on the importance of the Birth Motifs throughout Chapter 5. What do you think is important about them?

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Introduction

Alexandra Salters C1KNG Q. Many critics have commented on the importance of the Birth Motifs throughout Chapter 5. What do you think is important about them? A. In Chapter 5 of the novel 'Frankenstein', Victor creates a being through his applications of modern sciences (of the 19th century) and the ancient sciences (such as alchemy and discovering the elixir of life). In this Chapter, Shelley raises ethical questions about the applications of the rapid progress which science had taken, as well as using grotesque graphic details to repulse the reader. The way in which Shelley directs our sympathies towards Victor and not the creature is also interesting, as it introduces the deliberation of whether Victor is to blame for the creation or that the reader should direct their sympathies towards him. The response of Frankenstein to his creation is one of repulsion and horror. We see this in the way Frankenstein describes the monster and the fact that he runs away from it because of its physical abnormalities. ...read more.

Middle

"hair was a lustrous black hair and straight black lips" This creates a hideous Image of the monster. It also reminds the reader that although Victor has been able to pick out desirable features for the creature from a range of corpses, he has not been able to stop them from decaying- hence the unnatural yellow and black colours found in his features. However, as disgusting as the modern reader may find the idea of searching through corpses disgusting, it should be noted that in Shelley's time, grave-robbing was a common practice, as dead bodies were sold to hospitals to operate upon and use for research. Shelley's concentration on natural/unnatural features develops when she talks of the creature's "watery" eyes. He has the eyes of a human being but there is something missing- "same colour as the dun white sockets". The implications of the eyes being empty could lead the reader to the judgement that the creature has no soul- as the eyes are often seen as a window into the soul- and the creature's eyes are empty. ...read more.

Conclusion

There are the advances of science, which have negative effects on humans, mentally and physically. The end of Chapter 5 sees nature as having restorative effects. Victor is not only physically restored, but also mentally. This supports the popular Romantic idea that dependence on modern technology confesses the soul. This is shown by the implications that the creature is soul-less, and that Victor only regains his soul via nature. Shelley's novel has strong elements of the Romantic and Gothic movements of the 18th/19th Centuries, yet also has distinct ideas about the advancements of science and technology. The ideas can be seen as a contradiction to each other, but Shelley juxtaposes them in a way that shows that they are both good, but that humans need limitations, especially when dealing with the unknown. The language is of a distinctly Gothic influence Chapter 5, owing to the fact that it was the beginning of what Shelley began writing while in Switzerland whilst partaking in a ghost writing competition. The moral and ethical questions raised about the limitations of science and the controversy of nature is shown through this chapter. Victor has made a huge mistake. ...read more.

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