Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein Essay
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In Chapter 5, Frankenstein brings the monster to life. Shelly uses a typical gothic method of mimicking Frankenstein’s disgust for the creature with weather, “the dreary night of November. ” Frankenstein is appalled at his creation despite that the monster’s “limbs were in proportion” and he “had selected his features as beautiful”. Frankenstein then describes the creature in such a way that the reader learns that although Frankenstein attempted to create beauty but is faced with the disgusting looks of the creature.
his hair was of lustrous black, and flowing; his teeth of pearly whiteness; but these luxuriances only formed a more horrid contrast with his… shrivelled complexion and straight black lips. ” Shelly uses an ironic contrast of life and death in describing the monster, using elements like “yellow skin” which is relevant to a new – born baby with jaundice and “straight black lips”, which is relevant to a dead body. She also uses descriptions like “shrivelled complexion” which is relevant to both a baby and a corpse. The creature also reacts to life as a new – born baby does.
“It breathed hard, and a convulsive motion agitated its limbs. This contrast is effective in showing the reader the irony in the fact that new life is given to parts of the dead. Shelly effectively describes the creature with enough detail to allow the reader to interpret the creature’s appearance individually and also empathise with Frankenstein. Frankenstein has been disillusioned whilst creating the monster, but when it becomes alive, he is faced with its ugliness and abandons him. This is not an example of unconditional love and links in with Elizabeth’s arrival into the Frankenstein family.
“Oh! No mortal could support the horror of that countenance. A mummy again endued with animation could not be more hideous as that wretch. ” The memory of the shock of the monster’s looks is very powerful to Frankenstein and Shelly portrays this by using words like “Oh! ” when Frankenstein is telling Walton his story. Frankenstein has a dream after creating his monster in which, as he kisses Elizabeth, she turns into the corpse of his dead mother. “I embraced her, but as I imprinted the first kiss on her lips, they became livid with the hue of death. I thought I held the corpse of my dead mother”.
This dream shows that Frankenstein has subconscious fears of harm coming to his family, which does actually happen later on in the novel. The dream is an effective example of foreshadowing, another typical gothic technique effectively used by Shelly. The reader could also interpret that the dream foreshadows Frankenstein’s fears of creating the monster a “wife”. It presents the idea that although Frankenstein first thinks that building a companion for the monster will keep his family safe, the consequences could be much worse if he does as it is possible that the creatures will breed.
The monster is not reunited with its creator until several months later, where he tells Frankenstein of the hardships of life he has endured as an abandoned and disfigured child. “Father” and “son” meet in the mountains; this location could be interpreted as an effort by Shelley to use the mountains symbolically, showing Frankenstein’s guilt for abandoning his “child” or as the towering glaciers threatening Frankenstein; telling him that nature is not to be toyed with by man. The creature learns that humans should have families by reading a book that he finds whilst living near the French family he grows to love.
He meets a blind man from the family who treats him with kindness, but when the rest of the family see him, they drive him from their cottage with stones. This teaches the monster that people hate him for his ugliness and therefore develops a hatred for his creator for making him so ugly. Upon meeting Frankenstein, the creature makes a direct relationship between the bad parenting and upbringing he endures with his own desire to harm others when he claims “misery made me a fiend. ” Shelley uses this line as a blatant point that bad parenting will result in evil.