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With Particular Reference to Chapters 4, 5, 9 and 24, consider the ways in which Shelley Portrays Victors Decline in Frankenstein.

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Introduction

With Particular Reference to Chapters 4, 5, 9 and 24, consider the ways in which Shelley Portrays Victor's Decline in Frankenstein. In the gothic novel "Frankenstein", Mary Shelley portrays the noticeable decline of the creator of the "monster", Victor Frankenstein. His decline is both physical and mentally described by the author using language of a typical gothic novel. The main factors describing Victor's descent are his health, troubled mind, changing relationships with family and friends and finally the main cause for all his troubles, the ambitions which he strives for. All these side effects from Frankenstein's strive for knowledge and power could be related to the attitudes to science at the time. The end of the 18th Century and the start of the 19th Century brought about a period of rapid scientific and technological advancements in Britain. The Industrial Revolution changed the face of manufacturing, a series of scientific breakthroughs promised to give man previously unimaginable powers over the natural world. Men and women's attitude towards these improvements were uneasy; this was reflected in many ways such as art for example the painting by Joseph Wright, "Experiment On A Bird In An Air Pump". The start of the novel sees Victor in a utopia, living by his "mother's tender caresses" and "father's smile of benevolent pleasures" This portrays the perfection and heaven Frankenstein lived through in his early years, which also highlighted the peak in his health. ...read more.

Middle

Overall Mary Shelley tells of Victor's health problems with great detail discussing his mental and physical illnesses, the reader can interpret this as a fight between good and evil in Frankenstein's mind and also the fight between the devil and god in the bible. And the gruel contrast developed from start to finish makes it stand out to the reader, discovering the many changes that have occurred to Frankenstein from this episode of his life. Another factor which Shelley is keen to highlight is Victor's decline in his relationships between his friends and family. One of the main factors noticed is how isolated he becomes with less and less contact with other human beings. At first he has very close relationships with all the Frankenstein family members especially Elizabeth and has a brother like connection to Clerval who has been his friend for many years. These relationships start to fall apart in Chapter 4 since Victor goes to the University of Ingolstadt where he becomes so involved in his experiment he forgets about family and friends, receiving letters but not responding. Shelley focuses on his isolation from others, talking of how the summer months passes with great harvests and how Victor "eyes were insensible to the charms of nature. The same feeling which made him neglect the scenes around him caused him also to forget those friends who were so many miles absent." ...read more.

Conclusion

His many meetings with the professors of the University of Ingolstadt also encourage him to strive towards knowledge. After chapter four Shelley strives to portray how sorrowful he is for the deaths of people close to him, this drives him insane and crazy for revenge. By chapter twenty four he has become so desperate in achieving his goal to rid the Earth of the monster and avenge the so many deaths he has caused. Shelley describes his travels to have passed over many months and Victor has "traversed a vast part of the world" when he realises he is a mile behind the monster his "heart bounds" this shows his desperation and fervour to accomplish his promise. Shelley pays particular focus in this part of the story to convey her views on technological advancements. From these quotes the reader gets the feeling she believes that the whole idea of creating a monster is morally wrong and technology and knowledge will lead to man's fall. In conclusion Mary Shelley's gothic novel Frankenstein is written at first as an idyllic fantasy where everything seems to be perfect, but this theme dissipates after a few chapter and the gothic style of writing comes into play, dull and mysterious a real attention seeker. Shelley seems to outline the fact that Victor has a descent into hell, losing all his thrills in life, the major themes of his decline are his health, mind, changing relationships and the ambitions he takes upon that led him to change. ...read more.

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