How Does Mary Shelley Build up a Sense of Horror in chapter five Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein was published in 1818 and falls under the category of gothic novel which means in contains paranormal events that incite horror in the reader. At the time the book was written and published scientific advancement was very much in the news and scientist fantasised about bringing the dead back to life. An 18th century anatomist and physician name Luigi Galvani experimented of reviving dead frogs limbs using electricity with experiments at the University of Bologna.
The origins of the purpose of writing the novel stems from when Lord Byron asked a group of friends to write a short ghost story. Shelley had writers block for a few days, yet after the group discussed a subject in de Stael’s De l’Allemagne: “whether the principle of life could be discovered and whether scientists could galvanize a corpse of manufactured humanoid” the plot of Frankenstein came to her in a night terror. The following morning she awoke and started to write the opening lines of chapter four “It was on a dreary night in November”.
I hope to explore how she builds up a sense of horror in chapter five by analysing key writing features such as language, contrast and fluctuating emotions. Shelly was born Mary Godwin Wollstonecraft in 1797 to Mary Wollstonecraft a famous feminist and William Godwin a philosophise who once said “there would be no need for laws in society if everybody acted sensibly”. Sadly her mother died shortly after giving birth to her leaving Mary’s father to raise her alone. She had a very modest and prominent upbringing, where famous and inspirational poets, literalists, philosophers and politicians, surrounded her.
When Mary was 18 she fell pregnant, yet lost her baby during its birth. A year later she married poet Percy Byshee Shelley and they emigrated to Switzerland where they rented a castle and experimented with drugs which today are very much illegal, where Mary Shelley wrote her novel. Unfortunately, Percy met his death after a boat he was travelling on sank and has could not swim he subsequently drowned. As I said earlier, the early 19th century was full of new scientific achievements and discoveries yet also of radical ideas of society and how we live.
Great men like Volta invited modern convinces we rely on today such as his invention of the battery. Yet, also Physicians and Biologists of the time where developing there knowledge on how the human body and living organisms actually work. During the years of 1810 to 1819 the first unsuccessful blood transfusion was carried out at Guys hospital in London. Anatomist such as Galvani believed he had discovered electricity in dead organisms limbs, which provoked the idea that the human nervous system worked by sending electrical impulses round the body.
Scientists thought if they could manipulate this they could bring back the dead. The religious communities were very much horrified that man should challenge Gods authority and were deeply against it. New radical theories were also being put over with men like French revolutionist Jean-Jacques Rousseau who believed “Men were made corrupt by society”. All of that and Stael’s bestseller De l’Allemagne founded they key points the story of Dr Frankenstein’s Monster is based on.
Frankenstein is a very involving story which grips you instantly as you begin to read it. It starts with Captain Walton rescuing Dr Victor Frankenstein at the North Pole who has been chasing the monster. The captain was on an expedition when his ship got caught in ice and Victor tells him of his childhood growing up in Switzerland. He studied science at a first-class German university and attempted to recreate life. Eventually he created a monster made from the parts of deceased people, he is disgusted on what he has created and spurns it away.
The monster runs away and settles near the Lacey family, where he listens to them and educates itself. The monster then meets victors younger brother William who spurns him also, in his anger the monster kills William and frames the murder on a maid named Justine who is hanged. Victor knows that the monster killed William yet does not save Justine from her untimely death. The monster and Victor meet where he explains to him his side of the coin, reluctantly Victor gives in and feels sorry for him. In his compassion he agrees to make him a female companion.
Dr Frankenstein and his life long friend Clerval tour England where they begin work on the monster female companion. But in a unexpected fit of anger Frankenstein abandons the project, the Monster kills Clerval in revenge and Victor is imprisoned in Ireland for it. He is shortly realised after he is found innocent when he marries Elizabeth who is killed on their wedding night by the monster. Victor is distraught and vows to kill the very thing he gave life to, he chases his creation all over Europe and Russia.