The novel became the most famous work of Mary Shelley and since it was published, its popularity in the scholarly and lay audiences has been increasing among readers. This can be attributed to Mary Shelley’s ability to keep the story interesting through the narration of the story by Victor Frankenstein and the use of science fiction and horror in the story. This paper will explore how these elements/themes have been used in the novel to keep the story interesting and intriguing. Discussion
The fact that the author uses Victor Frankenstein who is the victim of the monster’s horrific actions makes the story very interesting and easy for the reader to follow the events that unfold in the story. Shelley allows Victor Frankenstein to narrate his personal life experience in the novel and how his interest and obsession in science turned tragic when he became the target of horrific actions of the monster he created. In the beginning of the story, the novel explains how Frankenstein ended up in a ship that was being used by an English explorer Robert Walton.
Walton’s ship became a refuge for Frankenstein who was ill. Though Frankenstein was in a poor health condition when he was taken into Walton’s ship, he was able to recover and narrate his personal life story and experience with the monster he had created. This element allows the readers to understand how and why the events that are described in the story occurred. The narration brings out the emotions and feelings of the characters that were triggered by the events that unfold in the story .
For example, the anger, sadness, pain, disappointment and fear felt by the characters are well expressed. Furthermore, the narration enables the readers to have a clear understanding of the feelings and the emotions felt by Frankenstein throughout the story. Victor Frankenstein tells Robert Walton about his place of birth, family, education and his interest in natural philosophy and sciences which resulted to his obsession and discovery of how he could bestow life in a lifeless matter.
In addition, Frankenstein’s narration of how his life changed after the creation of the monster allows the reader to understand his desperation, hopelessness and anger . For example, he narrates how the monster kills his family members and the execution of a family friend who was accused of killing Frankenstein’s brother. Hopelessness in this case emanated from the fact that he could not save the life of his friend . His heart was tortured his heart hence he left to wander in the Alpine valleys. The suffering that the monster caused to Frankenstein’s family members and friends is well explained in the story.
Frankestein’s narration about the suffering that his family was going through as a result of the monstrous acts of the creature that he created is a clear indication of how the close relation between Frankenstein and victims of the acts affected the tragic events and horrific events that befell them. For instance, his father’s health was greatly affected by what was happening to the family members and friends. He was greatly affected by the deaths of Justine and William. Elizabeth who later married Frankenstein on the other hand became very sad.
She failed to take delight in her ordinary occupation and was in tears. Her happiness vanished and the sorrow created by the horrific deeds of the monster removed her dearest smiles from the face. According to Frankestein,Elizabeth could no longer see the world as it was because of the miserable death of Justine Moritz whom she was convinced was innocent. Frankestein points out that he listened to Elizabeth’s opinion about what was happening with great agony. He considered Elizabeth to be a gift of fortune and was worried that the monster could take her away from him.
When the monster eventually killed Elizabeth, Frankinstien was devastated. And through the story explains how he chose to deal with despair and sought relief through change of place as well as bodily exercise. For example, he explains how he sought to forget himself and the sorrow he felt by visiting the Alpine and the valley of Chamounix. His feelings due to the interaction with nature brings out his desire to go back to old world where there was no sorrow and despair. Another element that maintains the interest of the reader in the story is the incorporation of science fiction.
The novel Frankenstein marked the pioneer work of science fiction (Stableford, pg. 48). At a time when Shelley wrote the story, industrial revolution was being witnessed in Europe. This novel introduced science fiction in literature, an element that was not common in many literature sources. The story introduces science fiction when a monster is created from lifeless matter. The novel provides an account of how “monstrousness” can arise and Victor Frankenstein in the novel is portrayed as an archetypal man who is destroyed by his own creation (Stableford, pg.
46). Shelley as a writer wrote according to gothic fiction hence her employment of the concept of science and the theme of science versus nature was not popular. For some readers, they consider the novel to be a lesson to the modern world how a scientist can be punished for trying to interfere with the divine prerogative of creation. Furthermore, the merging of the art of fiction and the academic study of science gave Shelley’s story of Frankenstein interesting to many readers.
The emotional reaction of the readers to the creation of the monster gives the novel some permanence while the emotional investment in the characters by the writer makes this science fiction book a novel rather than a speculative essay on what can happen in future. This makes it interesting for the readers. Over the years, the novel has inspired other writers publish science fiction work. For instance, the novel explains how Victor Frankenstein was able to give life to lifeless body parts he collected from slaughterhouses, graveyards and dissecting rooms.
The coming into life of the creature which is referred to as “monster” in the novel turns Frankenstein’s life into a nightmare. The monster manages to kill his family members and Elizabeth whom Frankenstein had married. There is no doubt that the incorporation of science fiction in the Frankenstein arouses the interest of the writer in science, a concept that has become popular in contemporary literature and film industry. To Frankenstein, creating the monster had been his desire and dream that turned tragic.
Science fiction provides literature and film makers to become creative and arouses the interest of the readers in science-related issues. The story makes clear the consequences of science-related innovations and in this case, the consequences of bringing into life a new creature by Frankenstien. In Frankenstien,the process of creating a monster by the scientist began when his interest and obsession with human nature had him embark on a mission with the sole purpose of giving life to an lifeless body. This deprived him good health conditions and adequate time for good rest.
However,Frankestein failed to celebrate the success of his creation because not long after he gave life to the creature, the beauty of his dream vanished and only disgust and breathless horror filled his heart(Shelley,pg. 69). Frankenstein asserts that he had created a miserable monster. This had him experience great bitterness, disappointment and horror. Despite his obsession and interests to provide life to a lifeless creature, Frankestein came to admit and realize that the creation of a monster was a misfortune. As a result of his discontent with the creation of a new monster, Frankestein suffered from a nervous fever.
The fever had him confined for several months. Henry became his only nurse and throughout the period of his illness, the form of the creature that Frankenstein had given life was always before his eyes and mind. Frankenstein lacked happiness and his life was filled with sadness after he created the monster . The impact of Frankenstein’s actions and desires had grave consequences in his life and the lives of the loved ones. For example, after Justine was convicted for a murder that was committed by the monster, Frankenstein was filled with remorse and despair.
Although he had began his life with benevolent intentions and looked forward to the moment when he would successfully put his intentions into practice and become useful to the other human beings, he was convinced that he had committed deeds of mischief and an error after he managed to create the monster. Unfortunately, rather than bring him self satisfaction, the creation of a monster brought him hopelessness, fear and remorse for all the horrific deeds it got involved in. The creation of a monster in the novel and the need to learn more about the creature makes the story interesting for the readers.
For example, the desire to know the consequences of the actions of the monster on Victor Frankenstein and his family increases one’s interest in the book. Whenever Frankenstein thought about the monster and its revenge against him, he gnashed his teeth and his eyes would become inflamed. He wished that he could extinguish that life he had bestowed on the creature. Because of the malice and crimes, Frankenstein developed anger and hatred towards the monster and the desire to revenge the monster’s crimes.
He wished he could see the monster in order to avenge the deaths of Justine and William and because he became remorseful of unalterable evils of the creature, he feared that the monster he had created could perpetrate new wickedness in the society. It is a lesson to the readers on how scientific innovation and development can have detrimental effects of the lives of many people. Horror in the novel story Frankenstein is created by the presence of a monster that is on a revenge mission. The horror is connected to the theme of science fiction because horrific acts are perpetrated by the monster that was created by Frankenstein.
Frankenstein’s interest in electricity, natural philosophy, mathematics and chemistry resulted to an obsession and fascination with the principle of life and human frame. Fanatical studying assisted him to bestow life on lifeless matter to create a monster. Rejection by its creator, Victor Frankenstein together with the society angered the monster who went on a revenge mission by killing family members and close friends of Frankenstein. The monster killed a family member, had a close wrongfully executed and murdered Elizabeth who was the woman that Frankenstein loved .
The revenge mission of the monster becomes a horrifying experience for the Frankenstein and his family. The interest of many readers emanates from the fact that Frankenstein creates introduces a monsters who is created by the man’s attempts to integrate nature into his untamed desire to create as well as to application of knowledge. Some readers and scholars assert that this story can be considered to be a modern myth that applies science to create the ‘monster”. The prolific fictional and scientific research of Victor Frankenstein resulted to the creation of a monster which made life difficult for him.
The story explains the horrifying deeds of this monster which contributed to the ill health of Frankenstein. From the beginning, Frankenstein’s view of his creation brings out the horror aspect. He regrets instantly of his work when he brings the creature into life. His disappointment is expressed in “I had worked hard for nearly two years, for the sole purpose of infusing life into an inanimate body, but now that I had finished, the beauty of the dream vanished (Shelley, pg. 56). The creature is described as horrifying and full of rage because of being abandoned by its creator.
Mary Shelley’s story brings out intrigue, creativity and imagination which make clear the horror that the story creates. Tension and horror in this story maintains the interest of the reader when the monster that is created using gothic motive is subjected to the earthly life styles. The horrific actions of the monster resulted to numerous misfortunes for Frankenstein’s family and friends. After creating the monster, Frankenstein experiences great fear, regret and develops hatred for his deeds and actions.
For example, the suffering that the creation of the monster caused Justine who was convicted and executed for a murder she did not commit is expressed in chapter eight of the novel. Frankestein states that he was in despair when Justine was suffering for the consequences of a creature that he had created. He says that he was torn by remorse, horror and despair as he witnessed the people whom he loved mourn for the deaths of Justine and William. It was the thirst of a man for knowledge that resulted to the monstrous creation that defied both natural order and nature.
The description of the night when Frankenstein created the monster symbolizes horror. For example, the night Frankenstein gave life to the monster is described as “the dreary night of November” (Shelley, pg. 42). The events that are described in the whole story bring out the element of horror. To begin with, Victor Frankenstein confirms that he was horrified after looking at the monster he had created and this made him flee from his laboratory to abandon the creature. This creature had a horrifying appearance that made the society reject its efforts to become part of the society.
Frankenstein describes and expresses how horrified he became after creating the monster “unable to endure the aspect of the being I had created, I rushed out of the room and continued for a long time traversing my bed chamber, unable to compose my mend to sleep. Furthermore,he expresses his conviction that the creature he had created had the power to effect purposes of horror as indicated in the statement “I considered the being who I have cast among mankind and endowed with the will and power to effect purposes of horror(Shelley,pg. 92). The monster managed to learn language and become a civilized person.
The fact that the monster had been considered by the society members to have murderous intentions increased its anger towards Victor Frankenstein who had not only created him but also abandoned him. This triggered monstrous actions of the creature which sought revenge against its creator and marked the beginning of a cycle of destruction whereby both the monster and Frankenstein pursued each other and hatred between the two continued to grow (Mellor, pg. 73). Conclusion The Frankestein, written by Mary Shelley is one of the most famous novels written by the author.
As a result, the book has succeeded in attracting many readers to read the book. There are various key elements/themes in the book that have made the book very popular for both scholarly and lay audiences . These elements include the narration of the story by Victor Frankenstein who became the victim of the monsters’ revenge actions, the horrifying experiences expressed in the book and the use of science fiction. Some readers have asserted that contemporary issues in the novel themes include the moral implications of scientific discovery and one’s personal zeal for success can have detrimental impact on others.
Works Cited Knoepflmacher, U. C. and Levine, George. The Endurance of “Frankenstein”: Essays on Mary Shelley’s Novel. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1979 Mellor, Anne. Mary Shelley; Her Life, Her Fiction, Her Monsters. Routledge, 1989 Shelley, Mary. Frankestein. Collector’s Library, 2004 Stableford, Brian. “Frankenstein and the Origins of Science Fiction”. Anticipations: Essays on Early Science Fiction and Its Precursors. Ed. David Seed. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1995