Frankenstein does not fit easily into one particular genre. It cannot fit into the gothic or horror genres due to the following: It contains no supernatural figures such as ghosts, witches, devils, demons or sorcerers. Other typical Gothic elements, e.g. ruined castles, graveyards and charnel houses, appear only briefly or in the distance.
Gothic and romantic traditions are evident. Science fiction and scientific discovery genres can also be found. Victor can be mainly linked to the gothic tradition as his blind ambition and need to know the forbidden can be linked back to gothic writers. Gothic writers tend to explore subjects like the dark side of the human mind.
'It was the secrets of heaven and earth that I desired to learn'
Victor Frankenstein was the real monster in this novel. This is evident in his ignorance to the consequences of his actions. He held himself guiltless to the very end. He was selfish and he abandoned his parental responsibilities by rejecting his creation from the beginning.
In Frankenstein, Mary Shelly establishes many differences between Victor Frankenstein and his creation, but at the same time creates parallels between the two. I think Victor’s childhood experiences lead him to develop a feeling of his own invincibility. Victor becomes a selfish adult who does not understand the consequences that there could be for the rest of humanity or for himself. When Victor says
'What had been the study and desire of the wisest men since the creation of the world was now within my grasp.'
It seems he is only thinking of his own personal glory as a scientist. He fails to recognise the possible problems that controlling nature past a certain extent can bring. Victors influence for pursuing these desires all lead back to his mothers death. His original reasons for creating life are noble and his driving force is the desire to help mankind conquer death and diseases. Victor can be seen as the modern Prometheus. He defies the gods by creating life himself. Instead of being the created, Victor takes God's place and becomes the creator. Just as Prometheus, Victor gets punished for his deeds. He is, however, punished by his creation whereas Prometheus was punished by the god who he stole from.
The fact that two years pass without Victor visiting his family speaks poorly for his character. Though he knows his father and Elizabeth long to see him, he remains completely absorbed in his work. Frankenstein becomes progressively less human, more monstrous as he attempts to create a human being. He tortures living creatures, neglects his family, and haunts cemeteries and charnel houses.
In volume one chapter five Shelley ventures deeper into the Gothic theme. Opening with an overriding sense of desolation, pathetic fallacy is a key literary technique used to set both the mood and the atmosphere. The first line "It was on a dreary night of November" gives a bleak, hopeless tone.
Shelley links the depressing weather to Frankenstein's own despondent frame of mind. The opening of this paragraph is powerful, because it has three words which have an impact on the reader. Mary Shelley used commas to separate the words. Also in this paragraph; we are presented with a lot of imagery i.e. "The rain pattered dismally against the panes…" and
"I did not dare return to the apartment which I had inhabited, but felt impelled to hurry on, although drenched by the rain which poured from a black sky."
These techniques and uses of language are important because they create suspense. Mary Shelly again uses weather to set the mood and uses the word 'black'.
In death, Frankenstein appears to have learned nothing at all from his sufferings. He commands Walton's men to continue their expedition, thereby endangering their own lives and the lives of their fellow men; it is clear that the pursuit of fame and glory is still foremost in his mind.
The central part of the novel is the monster's narrative. Here the Monster appears to be an almost perfect creation apart from his horrible appearance. He often appears more human than the humans themselves. He is kind (he helps the De Lacey family by collecting firewood) and intelligent (he learns to read and talk in a very short time). The only reason why he fails is his repulsive appearance. After having been rejected and attacked again and again by everyone he encounters only because of his horrible image. The Monster, alone and left on his own, develops a deadly hatred against his creator and all of mankind. Therefore only society is to blame for the dangerous threat to mankind that the Monster has become. If people had adopted the Monster into their society, instead of being biased against him, he would have become a valuable member of the human society, due to his outstanding physical and intellectual skills.
The language of volume two chapter five is extremely elaborate, and gives the landscape a romantic, unreal quality: skies are described as "cloudless";
"A thousand scents of delight and a thousand sights of beauty";
This sort of description and vocabulary enhances ordinary events to appear amazing. It reveals the extent to which the creature idealizes the cottagers and all that is associated with them. He worships them, and longs for their love and acceptance. The creature's essential humanity now becomes clear to the reader. He feels sympathy, affection, and desire; he has mastered language; and he is capable of self-analysis and reflection.
The most important feature of this chapter is the way in which the creature convinces Frankenstein to comply with his request. Throughout the better part of their exchange, the creature's tone is reasonable in the extreme: in fact, his desire for a companion seems almost noble. In this way, he will divest himself of his longing for violence and revenge, and lead a blameless life.
In the last chapter we discover that the creature did not relish his crimes, instead, they were abhorrent to him. He is wracked with guilt and self-hatred. The monster which has been said to carry hell within him chooses to die by fire; in this way can he completely destroy the body that was hated by so many.
Frankenstein attempts to disregard the monster and his responsibilities to him as his creator. The monster punishes Frankenstein in the forms of murder, and disruption. The consequences of man's attempt to master life and death are obvious. The monster represents the unpredictable element to controlling human life. Frankenstein’s actions throughout the novel are unjustified and unforgivable. Consequently I have come to the conclusion that Frankenstein was consumed by his blind ambition and need for glory. He was selfish, irresponsible and ignorant. Therefore Victor is the real monster in Mary Shelly’s novel Frankenstein.
Here's what a teacher thought of this essay
A good analysis that evaluates language, structure and form and considers how they are used to shape meaning. Make sure that quotes are analysed at word level so consideration of the author's language choices and what they represent are considered in depth. 4 Stars