There are many forms of tension and horror in this novel. There is a monster, there’s grave robbing, the whole story is against religion and it is warning the reader that trying to play God can only have bad consequences. The novel is controversial in its content and it focuses on people’s prejudice and discrimination together with how people judge others too readily. Another thing that could have been scary for the readers at the time is the idea of electricity bringing life. Since electricity was a reasonably new thing, the concept of this new, weird technology described in the book could have been seen as horrific.
Also, the atmosphere was a big part of the horror and tension, pathetic fallacy was used when Dr Frankenstein was creating his monster “It was already one in the morning; the rain pattered dismally against the panes, and my candle was nearly burnt out,” It was strange, at the time of the novel being published, for a woman to write a book quite as horrific as Frankenstein. There were many things which could have influenced Mary Shelley in writing a book of this sort, myths, religion, other novels.
She could have been influenced by the legends of the poles when creating Robert Walton’s character. She was most likely to have been influenced by scientific research and advances at the time such as discovering electricity. She could have been trying to get people to understand that this type or research and messing around with life and death were wrong. Lastly I think she also had literary influences and I believe that Mary Shelley wanted the novel to be romantic in a way. Mary Shelley creates a lot of tension in the novel, this all starts in letter four from Robert Walton to his sister.
She does this very effectively the whole way through the letter, the first line shows this, “So strange an accident has happened to us that I cannot forbear recording it… ” it then takes Walton quite a while to get to the point of explaining the “accident”, this creates a lot of tension. The whole story about Victor Frankenstein and the events in the letter four are told slowly and gradually adding to the sense of tension, mystery and intrigue for the reader. This effect is carried on throughout the whole novel which is, I think, one of the main reasons for the novel being so well known and enjoyed.
There are quite a few causes of tension in letter four, another example is when Walton’s ship was surrounded by ice, which closed it in’ “scarcely leaving her the sea-room in which she floated. ” This creates tension by giving the impression of them being trapped in a dangerous environment. After this, the spotting of the creature creates tension, “we perceived a low carriage… a being which had the shape of a man, but apparently of gigantic stature, sat in the sledge. ” The fact that this is a creature unlike a normal person adds to the tension.
Also as the crew and Walton thought that they were alone, being away from civilization, trapped on a boat with a strange creature nearby creates fear as there would be no help at hand if needed. The next thing that created tension was having Dr Frankenstein on board; he was quite a strange person and did not appear normal. When he was found he asked Walton where he was going before he boarded. This, under the circumstances, is a weird question to ask. Walton wrote, “You may conceive my astonishment on hearing such a question… from a man on the brink of destruction. “