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Many people these days think of 'Frankenstein' as a horror story. How would you yourself define the novel in terms of genre?

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Introduction

Many people these days think of 'Frankenstein' as a horror story. How would you yourself define the novel in terms of genre? People living in the twentieth century tend to regard horror as a frightening fictional tale. It is a story intended to scare people usually by incorporating gruesome and supernatural events. The films made about Frankenstein are all suited to the horror genre; however I feel that the book actually transcends this genre as it incorporates the religious and moral issues of the time. Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein in the early eighteen hundreds, an era which has since been referred to as the Age of Enlightenment or Reason. It has been so called as scientists were discovering the laws of physics for the first time, for example Isaac Newton had discovered the force of gravity. These discoveries eventually began to demote the need for God, as progressively the implications of the Bible were dismissed by scientific discoveries. Human beings had always believed that the Earth was in the centre of the universe because they were created by God; however the laws of physics proved this to be incorrect. In the novel Frankenstein has discovered one of Gods precious secrets - he has developed the ability to create human life. ...read more.

Middle

your miserable head...vile insect". It is evident throughout the story that Mary Shelley does not take a favourable view on ambition and regards it as an evil. Through the medium of the book Shelley is trying to deter people from letting ambition take over their lives: "guided by an ardent imagination and childish reasoning". She also allows Walton to turn back from his mission to the North Pole, indicating that Walton had understood the message Frankenstein had conveyed to him. Sometimes it is better to turn away from ambition in order to succeed in life's journey. The warning trait of ambition is not inclined to be a dominant mannerism in horror novels implying the book may have philosophical reasoning. Another trait which is uncommon to horror books is that of a tragic hero - it is more likely to be found in a tragedy. Frankenstein is the perfect example of a tragic hero as like the stereotype he has an extremely happy and fulfilling childhood: "No human being ... a happier childhood than myself." However the fatal flaw which leads to the downfall of the hero is also apparent in Frankenstein. ...read more.

Conclusion

Similar to this model when a disaster occurs, it happens in a cold place like the Arctic: "I endured misery...eternal sentiment of just retribution ...immense rugged mountains of ice". This furthers the link between Frankenstein and Satan who resides in the coldness of hell. The religious meanings portrayed in the book are acting as a caution to the troubles which befall people who defy and try to imitate God. God is omnipotent so He would easily be able to banish people to hell like Satan, an event which was more feared in the early nineteenth century than it would be today. The immense diversity of Frankenstein makes it difficult for it to be placed in a genre. Although it does possess the typical fear-provoking element: "frightful must it be...supremely frightful" the book stretches past the limits of horror. It is a warning to people to think about their actions and contemplate on how far they can take an ambition before it ruins their life. The relationship between Elizabeth and Frankenstein could practically allow the book to be classed as a romance. Principally I believe the book covers far too many moral issues for it to be classed as a horror story resulting in it being too philosophical to be placed in any genre. ...read more.

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