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The Gothic Horror Novel Essay

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‘Frankenstein’, is a gothic horror novel written in published in the year of 1818 by the then teenaged Mary Shelley. The basic plot is that, a university student, obsessed with the idea of ‘life after death’ creates a monster which in revenge starts to kill its creator’s (Victor Frankenstein) family. The book has very strong social context, it is set in 19th century and during the scientific and technologic advances in modern day life, the novel may convey a secret message to show that technology, while sometimes good, may be something to be wary of if taken to a certain extent.

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Some could say, that ‘Frankenstein’ is an allegory of the creation story in the book of Genesis, in which God creates the first two beings Adam and Eve this brings up the theme of playing God, where Victor is God and the monster is Adam or Eve. Chapter five is a crucial and big moment, not in the sense of its length, but the impact it has on the novel. It is where the creature is brought to life and when Victor comes to despise his work. Victor is disappointed at how much time he had spent in his work “worked for nearly two years” “the pain I had endeavoured to form”.

Victor had spent a vast amount of time in attempting to create life after death and when he finally does it, he is horrified with the result. Irony strikes Victor, his first idea of the monster and the final result ended up incomparable. “I selected his features as beautiful”. Shelley uses a juxtaposition, in which Victor envisaged his creation to be beautiful but the end result however, was horrific and filled Victor’s heart with disgust; “anxiety that almost amounted to agony”. The birth of the monster impacts on the rest of the novel on a huge scale.

If Victor had not been so obsessed with ‘playing God’, he would not have been subjected to the pain of having his friends and family killed in cold-blood. The events of chapter 5 show us a much deeper and darker understanding of the character of Victor Frankenstein. He is somehow metaphorically tied to his family and loved ones. He dreams of his mother and Elizabeth. “I saw Elizabeth in the bloom of health” “I held the corpse of my dead mother”. Victor had devoted himself to his work, deprived and isolated himself from his family and friends that the only way he could be with them was in his mind.

He has nightmares of Elizabeth and his dead mother. This shows that there was a very close bond between him and his family before he left, to pursue his studies. Victor abandons his creation, telling us more about his character. “I took refuge in the courtyard”. Upon rejecting the monster, we learn how irresponsible and egotistical Victor is. It is almost as if him neglecting another member of his family, as the monster sees Victor as its father. Victor’s actions throughout chapter 5 show us how much he longed for his friends and family.

This is shown, when he meets his friend Clerval “Nothing could equal my delight on seeing Clerval”. Victor had cut of almost all connection with his friends and family. But meeting with his dear friend, reassured him that he need not rely on a monster. Mary Shelley, uses different techniques to create atmosphere throughout chapter 5. Shelley overturned the clichi?? conventions of a gothic horror novel including a violent thunderstorm to create an eerie and tense atmosphere. Instead she uses pathetic fallacy in the atmospheric way such as “rain pattered dismally”.

She also uses the contrast of light and dark in the phrase “glimmer of half extinguished light” to create a mysterious and foreboding atmosphere. Shelley creates an eerie and ghostly atmosphere, not only by using pathetic fallacy but by using the monster itself. Shelley constantly refers to the monsters look such as “the dull yellow eye” not only does she use its appearance, but its movements when “it breathed hard” and how “convulsive movement affiliated its limbs” the grotesque appearance and slow movements of the monster create a menacing and ominous atmosphere.

Fear and revulsion is provoked in the reader by the way in which Shelley describes the monster by referring to “his shrivelled complexion” and “straight black lips”. Shelley ensures the reader is horrified and uses imagery to emphasise how horrendous the creature was. The key themes of the novel include: Playing God, prejudice, life after death and ambition. Chapter 5 links almost all of these together. Victor had instantly judged his creation upon its appearance and not its personality. He refers to it as an “accident of life” “disgust filled my heart”.

He is “possessed with joy” when he finds out the monster has left his apartment in which Victor resided. This links the novel to the theme of prejudice in which Victor had judged before he knew. Victor had the ambition of creating life from the dead and had “worked hard for nearly two years” he had also “deprived me of rest and health”. He had dedicated so much for the sole purpose of playing God, and creating life from dead body parts. This links the novel to the theme of ambition. Reading Frankenstein gives the reader a better understanding of 19th century writing.

The complex sentence structure, show what was expected of a reader during those times. By also looking at the various themes, it suggests that the 19th century was filled with the God vs. Man debate. Another thing it has done is shown me what to expect in other gothic horror novels.  Denzel 10Y 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.

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