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To What Effect Does Mary Shelley's Frankenstein Employ Typical Features Of The Gothic Tradition?

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Introduction

Following Walpole's example authors of [Gothic] novels set their stories in the medieval period, often in a gloomy castle furnished with dungeons, subterranean passages, and sliding panels, focused on the sufferings imposed on an innocent heroine by a cruel and lustful villain, and other sensational and supernatural occurrences (which in a number of novels turned out to have natural explanations0. The principle aim of such novels was to evoke chilling terror by exploiting mystery and a variety of horrors. Extract from A Glossary of Literary Terms. To What Effect Does Mary Shelley's Frankenstein Employ Typical Features Of The Gothic Tradition? One question, which occurs to most whom have read the novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelly is, which path does the novel follow? Is it that of the Classic Gothic, or of the Modern Gothic genre? Some consider Frankenstein, the first true Modern Gothic novel. Others may disagree; many people consider it a pure combination of Modern and Classic Gothic elements. You may also point out that Frankenstein does not depend entirely on the Gothic genre. Mary Shelly's upbringing was a struggle. Her mother (Mary Wollstonecraft) died only eight days after her birth. Her father ignored her after traveling Europe with Percy Shelly. In 1815 Mary gave birth prematurely to a daughter who died soon after. In 1816 she gave birth to a young boy, William. This was the same year, which the book Frankenstein was born, and in it's early stages. Later that year one of Mary' half sister committed suicide. Two month's later Percy Shelly's wife (Harriet) ...read more.

Middle

Jekyll & Hyde also involves the doppelg´┐Żnger. Dr. Jekyll's evil other half, Mr. Hyde, is the result of Dr. Jekyll's 'thirst for knowledge'. He keeps drinking this potion, which turns him into Mr. Hyde. Eventually the potion becomes a part of him. He can't control when he turns into this 'monster'. This is viewed as Dr. Jekyll's darker side, which he has no control over. It is the anger that Dr. Jekyll owns, released through this part of him, with a mind of it's own: The pleasures which I made haste to seek in my disguise were, as I have said, undignified; I would scarce use a harder term. But in the hands of Edward Hyde they soon began to turn towards the monstrous. Social Critique is an all-important element to the novel Mary Shelly began to construct during the summer of 1816. Social critique is the third element to the book which helps combine the Modern Gothic with the Classic, two different styles which would never really of been considered to merge together to form such a novel which influenced the later horror genre. The following extract demonstrates the combination of Classic and Modern Gothic: I trembled excessively; I could not endure to think of, and far less to allude to, the occurrences of the preceding night. I walked with a quick pace, and we soon arrived at my college. I then reflected, and the thought made me shiver, that the creature whom I had left in my apartment might still be there, alive, and walking about. ...read more.

Conclusion

The dream also includes a larger Oedipal aspect, he sees his mother through Elizabeth. Perhaps that's what attracted him to Elizabeth in the first place. He has hidden desires for his mother. The grave worms could possibly be a representation of Frankenstein's id. The worms represent the more sexual view in which he sees his mother. The worms going into his mother. This is imagery to compare the worms to the fallacy. This is expressing Frankenstein's darker urges. This small part of the book also includes the religious theme, which has been silently flowing throughout the novel. The religious element found in the book, is a factor of social critique. Mary Shelly was putting her views across, using the novel. Around the time Mary Shelly was composing the novel, there was a lot of discussion about Religion and science at the time. People where trying to prove religion was false. I believe that Mary Shelly believed in the bibles teachings and thought that science was just a way of destroying hope, and human belief. This is reflected in the book, because Dr. Frankenstein uses science in a god like way, which resulted in tragedy. Mary believed that human should not try god like tasks. In Frankenstein, Victor tries to create life, which is something that only god should even attempt. Throughout the novel Frankenstein seems to think of himself as god. He places himself higher than everyone else. In the creation he says "with the instruments of life around me." He makes it sound so simple. He seems to imply that if God can do it, he can do it, and that God is no greater than himself. Matt Armstrong Page 1 5/7/2007 ...read more.

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