Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus was written and published by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley in 1819. It portrays the story of Victor Frankenstein, a passionate young scientist who is fascinated by the human anatomy and obsessed with ambition. He realizes during his studies at Ingolstadt University that it is possible to infuse life into an inanimate object and begins work on what he hopes to be the ultimate being: a creature materialized from various body parts stolen from surrounding cemeteries. Chapter Five is crucial and a pivotal point in the book because we finally discover whether Victor’s two years work have been successful.
In this chapter, Shelley uses various techniques to create tension and excitement and in my essay, I will explore chapter five, discuss these techniques and evaluate their effects on the reader. According to the Greeks, Prometheus stole fire from the gods and as punishment he was chained to a rock where an eagle plucked from his liver each day as continuous torture. Frankenstein endures not only because of its infamous horrors but for the richness of the ideas it asks us to confront; human accountability, social alienation and the nature of life itself. Chapter five contains many conventions of the Gothic genre.
It has sensational and macabre events, such as the monster’s appearance and awakening, or when a member of Victor’s family dies. It also has a sensual appeal, when the monster’s manifestation is described as beautiful and alluring . When the monster is brought to life, Frankenstein realizes the foolishness of bringing a being back to life and also sees the monster’s ugliness when it is awake. The incredible contrast of the creature being described as beautiful and then “horrid” magnifies its repulsiveness, making this scene extremely powerful and intense.
Shelley uses the solitary landscape of the Alps for an important incident. This is when Victor speaks with the creature for the first time. It is a key scene as the monster explains how he came to acquire speech and the ability to read and write. In this scene, the reader feels pity for the being because he has been persecuted for the way that he is formed. Another important incident is when Victor passes away in the Arctic, and after the creature has paid his final respects to his creator, he tells the Captain of the ship that he is going to destroy himself.
He says “Soon, I shall die, and what I now feel be no longer felt. Soon, these burning miseries will be extinct. ” In saying this, he informs the reader that his wretchedness and forlorn will soon be over. An essential technique that Shelley uses in chapter five is how she describes the setting and atmosphere. The chapter begins with “It was a dreary night of November” which immediately establishes a dim and gloomy setting and acquires a comfortless, depressing and melancholy atmosphere, which is perfectly fitting with the Gothic status of the novel.
This dismal setting magnifies Victor’s loneliness and reflects all his emotions after being subdued for so long. Victor is extremely disheartened when his creation awakes. He says “How can I describe my emotions at this catastrophe? ” implying he is speechless at what has happened. The use of the word ‘catastrophe’, which relates to words like devastation and tragedy, informs the audience just how wrong everything went. The reader, for a moment, pities Frankenstein, as all his hard work over the past two years has ended up horribly wrong.
Throughout the novel, the creature is referred to by Victor as a wretch. A wretch is someone who is thought to be wicked, unfortunate or exiled. Other definitions include a deplorably unhappy person or a person of despicable character. The creation is exactly this as he is spurned by all, including his creator, making his life a lonely and depressing life to live. Frankenstein’s anxiety is almost painful, which the reader can empathize with. This builds up tension because the reader becomes as anxious as Victor about the awakening of the creation.
Victor is very apprehensive because his toils and hard labour are about to be decided worthwhile or unsuccessful. This creates tension well because it’s a fantastic build up, and the reader has a sense of Victor’s anguish over the development of this project. During this whole chapter, right through to the end, the level of tension rises and falls, making this a powerful chapter. When the creation is finally woken up, the tension is incredibly high, and suddenly Victor is in his room and presumed safe, bringing the level of tension down extraordinarily quickly.
In her novel, Mary Shelley is silent of just how Frankenstein gives life to his creation. Victor only says that success crowned “days and nights of incredible labour and fatigue”. Frankenstein gives no monster-making recipes however this is a brilliant way of increasing the novel’s tension. The reader will be curious to know how the creation was brought to life, inspiring them to read on, hoping they will eventually find the secret to the gift of life. But Shelley’s story did not arise from the void. Scientists and physicians of her time tantalized by the elusive boundary between life and death.
They investigated it through experiments with lower organisms, human anatomical studies, attempts to resuscitate drowning victims and experiments using electricity to restore life into the recently dead. In conclusion, Chapter five of Frankenstein is a fantastically powerful and incredibly moving chapter, because of its varied tension throughout the chapter and superbly described settings. 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.