Frankenstein is a gothic horror novel written in 1816 by Mary Shelley. The book originally originated as a ghost story when Mary Shelley and her husband Percy Bysshe Shelley visited Lord Byron in Geneva. She later expanded on this and wrote the book Frankenstein, also known as “the modern Prometheus”, in just 9 months. The modern Prometheus links to Frankenstein as they are both cautionary tales; they both tell the story of how man is punished for stealing the powers of God.
Frankenstein is guilty of using scientific developments to create life. This reflects Shelley’s thoughts about the advances being made in science at the time the novel was written. One of the main themes of the book is the consequences of meddling in the affairs of God and the natural world. Another main theme in the book is childbirth. Shelley thinks that childbirth should be left only to women as the book clearly warns the reader about the effects of medial science.
Shelley has also lost two children in her life and her mother due to childbirth. Death is a theme that crops up very often in the play; it has often appeared in Mary Shelley’s life such as the death of her husband, children and mother. The story of Frankenstein is written in 3 volumes; Shelley cleverly uses these volumes to link the beginning and the ending together as the book starts and ends in letterform through Captain Walton.
Captain Walton’s letters are told in first person which shows the reader how he thinks and feels; these expressions and emotions show Captain Walton’s character to the reader and cautions them of his madness of obsession. Shelley purposefully chose to tell the story in first person narrative as the reader can then gather information about the character, the story is told from many points of view by three narrators; Captain Walton, Victor Frankenstein and the Monster.
We can then see things from a different point of view throughout the story. Shelley’s use of flashbacks tells the events retrospectively to let the monster explain and try to justify his actions so the audience can sympathise with him. This also humanises his character and makes the monster’s actions seem validated as the audience can understand and sympathise with him as we know what he is thinking and can draw on his emotions from experience.