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‘Frankenstein’ was written in 1817 by Mary Shelley. Shelley was from a family of intellectuals and one of the most influential writers of the time and a big part of the Romantic movement. The book is about a man who strives to create the ultimate being, but creates something worse than he could have imagined. Right from the start we see that our main character, Victor Frankenstein, has a keen interest for Natural Philosophy. This only adds to his curiosity when his University professor, Mr Waldman, shows him his plans to create life.
This curiosity; along with the fact that his mother died when he was young; drives him to carry out Professor Waldman’s plans to create the ultimate being. The plans greatly help Victor in his venture to create life. They help him find out what he needs to do it. At this time in the scientific world, it was a time of progress and discovery. Scientists were only just starting to understand the concept of how the human body worked, so to transplant vital organs from one to another was a huge leap forward.
Victor believes that if he creates life successfully his name will be put down in history and his memory will live on. By trying to create life, Victor was greatly challenging the accepted beliefs of the time. Organ transplants were unheard of, which is basically what Victor is doing. The scene I am writing about is at a crucial moment in the novel, as there are vast amounts of consequences to what Victor is doing. Because this scene is a vital part of the novel, Mary Shelley wants to crate a dramatic atmosphere.
She accomplishes this through good use of language, detailed setting descriptions and in-depth descriptions of the characters’ actions. To create a dramatic atmosphere, Mary Shelley gives us a vivid image of the setting as she describes it in such detail. For example, in the first paragraph it is described as ‘a dreary night in November’. The word dreary makes the reader think of fog, when referring to the weather. this could be perceived as symbolism, representing mysteriousness, as you cant see what’s ahead of you in fog.
The significance of it being in November is great. This is because November is one of the months where the sun goes down early, and this contributes to the feeling of uncertainty, because darkness is associated with bad happenings. The rain is also described in this very paragraph. ‘The rain pattered dismally against the panes’. The words used to describe the rain falling are ‘pattered dismally’. This suggests that the rain is not coming down heavily, and has been coming down for some time with no intention of stopping.
‘Dismally’ also suggests that Victor is tired of it raining as dismally is generally used when someone is bored of something that has been happening for a long period of time. It is also described as being ‘one in the morning’. The middle of the night. This is associated with bad happenings, and most people are asleep so there is no-one to come to Victor’s aid if anything bad should happen. This creates a tension filled atmosphere as he is completely alone. Victor Frankenstein, as well as being the main character, is the narrator. This helps the audience find out his feelings towards his creation.
The way he describes it is as if it is something so ugly, yet beautiful as he has succeeded in creating life. For example, Victor describes his creation as having ‘a shrivelled complexion’. From this description we can tell that Victor feels his creation is ugly and that he is disgusted at what he has created. I say this because you don’t describe someone beautiful as having a shrivelled complexion. Victor is disappointed, as he designed his creature to be beautiful, but now he describes it as a ‘demoniacal corpse’. Victor’s actions upon seeing his creature also show the reader his feelings towards it.
For example, Victor runs away in horror, suggesting that he wants nothing to do with the creature and is basically disowning it. This is ironic, as later on in the novel, the creature goes after Victor’s friends and family because Victor disowned him. Victor also sits on the stairs, contemplating the ethics of what he has just done. These two actions show the reader that Victor, having created life, now regrets his decision and wants to put it right. He can’t sleep because he is filled with regret and is afraid of what might happen as he has just abandoned what is technically his son.
The creature’s actions have a certain effect on the reader. Initially the creature cannot talk, so the reader has no idea what he is thinking, so when he approaches Victor it creates suspense as the reader doesn’t know what will happen next. The creature reaches out and tries to speak, which is when Victor runs. As the creature is so big and scarred and can’t communicate, it is immediately seen as evil. This impression turns out to be wrong as the creature is gentle and scared- he only turns evil when he is rejected by Victor and the family he has been watching.
This rejection makes the reader have some sympathy towards the creature when he learns he is not wanted. To emphasise the horror or the creature, there is a reference to Dante in the last paragraph: ‘even Dante could not have conceived’. The audience would have been familiar with Dante and his work. Mainly his ‘seven circles of hell’ in The Inferno. This familiarity the audience at the time had with Dante shocked them. Dante was seen as a bit eccentric and if he could not have thought of something so horrific, it must be extremely bad.
The choices Mary Shelley made in language, description and setting help to create atmosphere as all the adjectives used are sinister, and help to create an evil atmosphere e. g. lifeless. As there is this evil atmosphere, the audience feel the tension as it seems like something bad is going to happen. It is this tension that makes this scene so crucial to the novel and so different from all the others. Show preview only The above preview is unformatted text This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Mary Shelley section.