The gothic horror Essay
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With particular reference to chapter 5, explore how Mary Shelley has used the gothic horror genre to create a shocking and terrifying story, which is as relevant today as it was in 1818 Even though it is over a century old, ‘Frankenstein’, by Mary Shelley, has continued to sustain public interest for more or less two hundred years. The novel was published in 1818, and is one of the much-admired stories in the history of literature.
It has remained a favourite with many audiences, past and present, and has been modified and re-told many times through a variety of types of media, such as; radio programmes, theatre, art, children’s comic books and cartoons, television and film versions.
I assume it remains to be so well-liked for the reason that the readers can relate to the characters and situations that occur. The novel contains many shocking and fascinating events – some of which may startle or terrify the reader. Mary Shelley is an author who wrote the novel of ‘Frankenstein’.
She experienced many deaths of close friends and family. When she was first born her mother died. Furthermore – Mary had a baby who died 12 days after it was born, and her husband Percy Shelly drowned. Maybe it was these experiences which led Mary Shelley to write such a novel of great horror published in 1818. Frankenstein is called ‘the modern Prometheus’. Prometheus in Greek mythology stole fire from Zeus and gives it to humankind, but was then everlastingly punished by Zeus. In the Latin version, Prometheus formed man from clay and water.
Victor Frankenstein is seen as a modern Prometheus, as he rebels against nature by making an unnatural man – as he would be for the good of mankind and he is then punished by his creation. ‘Frankenstein’ is about a young student called Victor Frankenstein. He is determined to find the secret of life, and when he does, he creates a living creature. The monster is calm and caring, but is abandoned by Frankenstein because of his hideous looks; this means he has to hide away from society, as everyone who meet him are afraid of him. As the monster is lonely and isolated, it causes him to take revenge on his creator.
He doesn’t do this by killing him; instead, he kills all the ones he loves and cares about. After having nothing worth living for, Frankenstein pursues his monster to the North Pole with the intention of destroying him. This leads Frankenstein to exhaustion and death. The monster sees Frankenstein die, and with that, he then kills himself – as it is the only place he can seek rest. The novel shows the horrible penalties for playing God, and this is what makes the book so captivating – as it questions all the main beliefs of religion and the soul.
The book is unlike others, as it has three narrators; Frankenstein, Robert Walton and the monster. They all tell the story, and give the reader different insights – which is what makes the book very unique. I think this is very effective because it can make the reader feel different emotions for each character. An example of this is when Victor Frankenstein tells us his own story. It makes the reader feel more sympathetic towards him because the reader experiences the tragedies and heartache that Frankenstein feels.
We can also see this in the monster, seeing that when he is narrating, the reader understands the emotions that the monster is feeling, when he is talking about how lonely he is. This technique is very effective in Mary Shelley’s narrative and helps the reader to get more into the novel. Chapter 5 is a crucial chapter in Frankenstein, as it is when the monster comes alive and it’s a turning point in the novel. Chapter 5 is the chapter that gives ‘Frankenstein’ its character, and it’s the most important piece of writing that has helped the book keep audiences entertained for nearly 190 years.
Mary Shelley sets the atmosphere especially well at the beginning of the novel. ‘It was a dreary night of November that I beheld the accomplishment of my toils’. This sets the scene and compares the weather to the mood of Frankenstein, because Frankenstein had been making the monster for about two years – so he had become dreary and looking very unwell. This is just like the weather at the start of the chapter, and makes the reader feel the same as Frankenstein, because of the weather being ‘dreary’.
This sentence also sets the scene very well as it shows it was dark and gloomy, which is perfect in getting the reader in the mood for the chapter. Also, Mary Shelley sets the scene by giving the reader a very clear image. This is shown where it says ‘the rain pattered dismally against the panes, and my candle was nearly burnt out’. This gives the reader a very creepy image and is a very good way to set the scene for bringing a monster to life. During chapter five we see the use of many powerful adjectives and descriptions that make the chapter very detailed.
These are used all throughout the book, but even more so in chapter five. These are what have made the narrative effective. as they keep the reader interested in the book. These are also what have horrified readers because it is so detailed; it makes the novel seem more life like – especially when describing what the characters look like. The description of the monster is what makes chapter five one of the most important in the novel and why it has horrified many readers. The monster is described in a lot of detail and it gives the reader a clear example of what the monster looks like.
We can see this by the phrases used such as ‘his yellow skin scarcely covered the work of the muscles and arteries’, ‘his hair was of a lustrous black’ and ‘his teeth of pearly whiteness’. These descriptions give the reader a clear image of what the monster looks like. This makes the narrative very effective because it makes the reader more scared of the monster, because with the more detail we get, the more terrifying the monster seems. Also, because the monster is described in a lot of detail, it entertains the reader more – as it makes the book seem more real. I believe this will make them want to continue reading the book.